Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer and Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau. (The Canadian Press)

Trudeau attacks Conservatives for not releasing platform as leaders prepare for debate

Monday’s debate is the last time any of them will debate each other in English

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 Quebecois Leader Yves-Francois 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 be the last time any of them will debate each other in English, meaning each will be looking to make a mark and gain momentum heading into the last two weeks of the campaign.

Trudeau made a quick bus trip to a conservative-friendly area just outside Belleville, Ont., where he planted trees to highlight his environmental plan, including a promise to plan two billion trees if re-elected to power.

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 the promises.

Upon taking office, the Ford government — a constant target for Trudeau — moved to cut funding for public-health services, new childcare spaces and autism support. It also announced increases to class sizes, among other things.

Many of those measures were met with strong criticism and anger.

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.”

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 spokesman 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-by-year fiscal estimates.

READ MORE: Singh visits poisoned Grassy Narrows First Nation, May talks reconciliation in B.C.

Even as Trudeau was attacking the Conservatives 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 marketgoers who were eager for selfies with the two men.

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.”

Singh, who at times seem to be more readily recognized by shoppers than Broadbent, described the former leader as “a great mentor,” and that when it comes to the debate: “I’m going to try my best.”

The NDP leader wasn’t the only one getting some advice ahead of Monday’s debate. Alberta Premier Jason Kenney, who was in Ottawa last week campaigning on behalf of Scheer, said the Conservative leader needs to avoid becoming defensive.

Scheer emerged as the main target for the other leaders during last week’s TVA French-language debate.

“He’ll be under attack because I think he’s leading in this campaign,” Kenney said Friday. “So my advice to him would be: Don’t become too defensive. Get out there, communicate your message. That’s what I did and it worked for us.”

In a fundraising letter to supporters, Bernier described Monday’s debate and the French-language debate that will be held on Thursday as a potential “turning point” in the campaign. Bernier has been betting that a chance to speak to a national audience will give him a critical boost.

“Millions of Canadians will be hearing about the People’s Party for the first time,” said Bernier, who was excluded from the first English-language debate held last month by Maclean’s and Citytv as well as the TVA debate.

READ MORE: Leaders descend on national capital in anticipation of Monday’s televised debate

Lee Berthiaume, The Canadian Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

RDKB issues evacuation alert for 1,100 Boundary properties

Warm weather and heavy rain could cause sections of Kettle River system to swell beyond 2018 levels

RDKB launches survey to address housing needs in the district

Communities in the district include Trail, Grand Forks, Rossland and Fruitvale

Possible Kermode Bear spotted near Castlegar

A local resident spotted the white-coloured bear while on an evening trail run on May 27

Stolen truck found in Christina Lake

Family happy the vehicle was found

Two more Johnson Flats properties given evacuation alerts

Forecast graphs for Boundary rivers show another spike for week of June 1

11 new COVID-19 cases in B.C. as top doc urges caution amid ‘encouraging’ low rates

Dr. Bonnie Henry also announced that two care home outbreaks would be declared over

Surrey mayor’s party under fire for ‘sickening’ tweet accusing northern B.C. RCMP of murder

Mayor Doug McCallum says tweet, Facebook post ‘sent out by unauthorized person’

Father’s Day Walk Run for prostate cancer will be virtual event this year throughout B.C.

The annual fundraiser for Prostate Cancer Foundation BC has brought in $2.5 million since 1999

Dr. Bonnie Henry announces official ban on overnight kids’ camps this summer

New ban comes after talking with other provincial health officials across the country, Henry says

Senior man in hospital after unprovoked wolf attack near Prince Rupert

Conservation officers are on site looking for the wolf

VIDEO: NASA astronauts blast off into space on SpaceX rocket

Marks NASA’s first human spaceflight launched from U.S. soil in nearly a decade

‘I knew what he wanted’: Man recalls black bear chasing him up tree in Slocan Valley

Francis Levasseur is no stranger to the outdoors, but a recent run-in with a bear caused quite a scare

PHOTOS: U.S. cities brace for increasing unrest over police killing of George Floyd

Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz has fully mobilized the state’s National Guard

Update: Deceased suspect in West Kootenay gas station stabbing only in town two weeks

Police say the 30-year-old suspect stabbed a Montrose gas station employee

Most Read