Justin Trudeau took a swipe Friday at the Conservatives for waiting until the eve of a long weekend to release their platform, before the Liberal leader boarded a plane and took the fight to his NDP rival’s riding in British Columbia.
With the federal election campaign heading into the homestretch, the Liberals held a rally in downtown Ottawa, where Trudeau was greeted by cheering staff and supporters. He encouraged them to keep working hard.
At one point during the rally, which was held in a packed restaurant close to Liberal headquarters, Trudeau brandished a copy of his party’s platform, which he said he had made a point to bring to the event.
“It’s a little rumpled right now but it’s been two weeks since we’ve had our fully costed platform out and we know that it’s a real and serious plan to fight climate change, to invest in Canadians and to move forward,” he said.
“Now the Conservatives are finally saying that they might release a fully costed platform later today. The reality is, I think we all know it, you don’t release your best work at 6 o’clock on the Friday of a long weekend.”
Trudeau also used the occasion to urge Quebecers to side with his party rather than a resurgent Bloc Quebecois, saying Quebecers “want to be in action, not opposition.”
While Quebec is seen as key for either the Liberals or Conservatives to form government, there have been signs that support for the Bloc has been on the rise, notably at the expense of the Tories under Leader Andrew Scheer.
Trudeau is now en route to B.C., where he is scheduled to hold an event in NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh’s riding of Burnaby-South before hitting the province’s lower mainland, as he begins what is expected to be a gruelling last stretch of campaigning.
Liberal insiders have described voter intentions in B.C. as volatile, with many environmentally conscious voters upset at the Liberals for having purchased the Trans Mountain pipeline and now looking at the NDP and Greens.
Singh also started his day in Ottawa, releasing the financial elements of his party’s platform before zipping east to Montreal for some mid-day mainstreeting and then back west to Brampton for the evening.
The NDP is proposing to run a deficit of $32.7 billion next year if they win the federal election, with no plan to return to balance.
New Democrats released their platform costing Friday, and it shows $35 billion in planned new spending next year and $30.5 billion in expected new revenues.
The balance sheet shows many new investments would be front-loaded in the first year of an NDP government, as the projected deficit falls to $18 billion in year two, then sits at around $16.5 billion for the remaining two years.
Singh defended keeping the books in the red.
“A lot of times when people hear balanced budgets, they hear austerity and they hear cutting their services – and I don’t believe in that,” Singh said.
“I do believe in being prudent and I believe people want us to live within our means. That’s why we are talking about increased revenues to be able to pay for our investments.”
The party said its plan would still see the country’s debt-to-GDP ratio fall over the four-year time period.
Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer is also in B.C. today, where he’s to reveal his party’s full platform after holding off longer than the other party leaders.
People’s Party Leader Maxime Bernier is on the other coast, staging a rally of his own in Halifax.
Green Leader Elizabeth May says Canada needs to rethink whether it should stay in NATO as part of a series of foreign policy promises on Friday, including aligning Canada with the global movements to ban nuclear and autonomous weapons.
“I think NATO should review Turkey’s membership in NATO. And I think Canada should review Canada’s membership in NATO to see if it meets our strategic needs in the 21st Century,” May said in Ottawa.
May also criticized President Donald Trump and suggested Canada should be pressing for answers.
Canada firmly condemned Turkey’s action as Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland said in a series of tweets earlier this week that the unilateral action by Turkey risks rolling back the progress against Islamic State militants.
The Green foreign policy platform platform acknowledges something that is now rote in Western military doctrine – that climate change is a major contributor to increased global instability.
May says climate change is also the cause of natural disasters, and a rise in global conflicts over resources. She re-iterated how the Liberal government of Justin Trudeau is setting too low a target for the reduction of harmful greenhouse gases. She likened Trudeau and Environment Minister Catherine McKenna to a pair of fictional female outlaws from an iconic Hollywood movie.
“Whenever Catherine McKenna says in the House of Commons, ‘The environment and the economy go hand in hand,’ the image that comes to mind is ‘Thelma and Louise’ at the cliff because that’s the way Trudeau and McKenna deliver the environment and the economy going hand in hand _ pedal to the metal, off the edge of a cliff.”
May says a Green government, if elected, would sign the Treaty to Abolish Nuclear Weapons and ban autonomous weapons – so-called killer robots. May called on Canada to lead an effort within NATO to get it to renounce its nuclear weapons doctrine, which is based on maintaining them as a military deterrent.
The Greens would also ban Canadian arms exports to Saudi Arabia and ban the importation of Saudi oil.
Meanwhile, voters can begin to cast their ballots as advanced polls open Friday.
Polls will be open over the entirety of the Thanksgiving long weekend.
While some people are questioning the decision to have the advanced polls open during a time of high travel, Elections Canada says they are hoping it is a period where people can get out to those advanced polls and vote.
For details on advanced polling stations in your area, click here.