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Photo-ops, political fights: Party leaders deal with tough questions on first full day of campaigning

Last Updated Sep 12, 2019 at 9:37 am PST

(From top left) Conservative Party leader Andrew Scheer , Liberal Party leader Justin Trudeau, NDP leader Jagmeet Singh, Green Party leader Elizabeth May. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld, Andrew Vaughan, Cole Burston, Patrick Doyle)

Most of the main federal party leaders are spending the first full day of campaigning putting out some fires

Candidate problems, abortion, and the first debate of the federal election campaign were all topics leaders faced

It’s the first full day of the federal election campaign and most of the federal party leaders are hunkering down in the Greater Toronto Area.

The election campaign still has that new-car-smell, and yet, some leaders are already putting out fires.

Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer hoped to focus on his affordability plan including maternity benefits at a stop in Toronto, but was peppered with questions about his candidate in the riding after the Liberals posted a video of her at an anti-abortion rally.

“A Conservative government will not reopen this issue, and as prime minister I will oppose, I will vote against any measure, that does attempt to do that,” he said.

Meanwhile, NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh in Brampton wanted to stay on the topic of healthcare and funding for a local hospital, but instead had to address the recent dumping of two candidates, including one facing domestic violence allegations.

“If any information arises which makes us doubt the quality of a candidate, we’re then going to move to say that those folks can no longer be candidates,” Singh added.

Ahead of his preparation for Thursday night’s Citytv-Maclean’s debate, Singh said he was excited for the showdown, but disappointed Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau won’t be there.

“Mr. Trudeau hasn’t shown up for four years, and he’s not showing up to this debate,” he added.

Scheer said he wasn’t surprised Trudeau isn’t going to show up, given the re-emergence of SNC-Lavalin in the headlines. He also said he thought the Liberal leader declined to attend the debate because one of the main themes is foreign policy, and he claims Trudeau has embarrassed Canadians on the world stage.

Trudeau chose to spend day two of the election campaign in B.C. and Alberta, the latter hostile territory for him when it comes to the topic of oilsand development.

Green Party Leader Elizabeth May is taking the day off from campaigning to prepare for the debate.

-With files from the Canadian Press