FEDERAL ELECTION 2019: Prime Minister slams Tories’ ‘Secret plan’
Liberal leader attacks rivals for not releasing platform as debate looms
OTTAWA — Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau took aim at the Conservatives on Sunday for not releasing their election platform as the majority of federal party leaders spent the day cramming for Monday’s critical English-language debate.
The debate is in Gatineau, Que., within sight of Parliament Hill. Trudeau and NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh were the only two leaders to spend the day on the hustings shaking hands and, in Trudeau’s case, attacking the Tories, though neither strayed far.
Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer and Green Leader Elizabeth May were either in or en route to the national capital to prepare for Monday night’s televised debate, arguably the most important event of the campaign so far.
Bloc Québécois Leader YvesFrançois Blanchet and People’s Party of Canada Leader Maxime Bernier are also taking part, the first time all six leaders will square off on the same stage.
Monday’s debate is also to be the last time any of them will debate each other in English.
Trudeau made a quick bus trip to an area just outside Belleville, Ont., where he planted trees to highlight his environmental plan, including a promise to plant two billion trees.
He then went on the offensive, attacking Scheer for promising to cancel the Liberals’ price on carbon before comparing the Tories’ refusal to release their platform to that of Ontario Premier Doug Ford.
“I can talk about what’s in our platform because we have released our full platform,” said Trudeau, whose party and the Greens have released cost estimates for most promises and how they intend to pay for them.
“Andrew Scheer is keeping his full platform and it’s costing a secret. You know who else did that? Doug Ford. He kept it secret from Canadians and then turned around and cut health care, cut education, cut services for people who need it.”
After promising a fully costed platform, Ford’s Progressive Conservatives instead released a list of promises about a week before Ontarians went to the polls in June 2018. The list did not include details on how the PCs would pay for their vows.
Upon taking office, the Ford government — a constant target for Trudeau — moved to cut funding for public-health services, new child-care spaces and autism support. It also announced increases to class sizes, among other things.
Scheer has refused to be pinned down on the timing of the Conservative platform release, saying only that it will be unveiled “with plenty of time for Canadians to make decisions, to go through it.”
Tory spokesperson Simon Jefferies said Sunday that the party platform will be fully costed when it’s released and that some of the Liberals’ signature promises don’t have dollar figures attached.
The NDP released their platform in June, several months before the election was even called. However, Singh has not yet released a costing of the platform or a fiscal plan. A party spokesperson has said that will come in the next few weeks.
The People’s Party of Canada has similarly announced some tax measures, but not year-byyear fiscal estimates.
Even as Trudeau was attacking the Tories on Sunday, Singh was enlisting one of his party’s most respected elder statesmen, Ed Broadbent, for a tour of an Ottawa farmers’ market.
The market is in Ottawa Centre, which Broadbent represented in his short second stint in politics from 2004 to 2006. Liberal Catherine McKenna won it from Broadbent’s NDP successor Paul Dewar in 2015 and the New Democrats would like to take it back.
Under grey skies, Singh and Broadbent, who led the federal New Democrats from 1975 to 1989 and remains a force within the party even at age 83, shook hands with market-goers.
Broadbent praised Singh for his performance during last week’s French-language debate. Asked what advice he would give Singh ahead of Monday’s English-language debate, Broadbent responded: “To be himself.”
Federal Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau plants a tree with his sons Hadrien, right, and Xavier at the Frank Conservation Area in Plainfield, Ont., on Sunday.