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

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

Although B.C. has not made masks mandatory in public indoor spaces, some business owners are requiring all customers to wear them before entering their store. (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
EDITORIAL: Heightened tension over face masks

Incidents of anger and conflicts over mandated masks happening too frequently

A health worker holds a vial of AstraZeneca vaccine to be administered to members of the police at a COVID-19 vaccination center in Mainz, Germany, Thursday, Feb. 25, 2021. (Andreas Arnold/dpa via AP)
43 new COVID-19 cases in Interior Health

368 cases in the region remain active

A real estate sign is pictured in Vancouver, Tuesday, June, 12, 2018. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward)
Okanagan-Shuswap real estate market continues hot start to 2021

Sales in February were up more than 100 per cent over last year, reports the Association of Interior Realtors

The restart of the program means seniors can receive affordable meals delivered five days a week. Photo by Scott Suchman for The Washington Post.
Princeton Meals on Wheels one year trial will cost $92k

Program restarts, and volunteer drivers are needed

The images are of Bald Eagles feeding.
Birds of prey

Princeton photographer captures compelling photos of a Bald Eagle breakfast

Health Minister Adrian Dix looks on as Dr. Bonnie Henry pauses for a moment as she gives her daily media briefing regarding COVID-19 for British Columbia in Victoria, B.C. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
7 additional deaths and 542 new COVID-19 cases in B.C.

Provincial health officials reported 18 new COVID-19 cases linked to variants of concern

John Hordyk said it isn’t fair to just look at COVID-19 deaths as many survivors are experiencing long-term impacts, himself included. (Photo by Rachel Muise)
Not getting better: Revelstoke man diagnosed with post-COVID-19 syndrome

‘I hope the damage isn’t long term, but it could be permanent’

The City of Vancouver estimates there are 3,500 Canada geese in the city right now, and that number is growing. (Bruce Hogarth)
Help tame Vancouver’s Canada goose population by reporting nests: park officials

The city is asking residents to be on the lookout so staff can remove nests or addle eggs

Chief Justice Christopher Hinkson (Office of the Chief Justice)
Judge questions whether B.C.’s top doctor appreciated right to religious freedom

Lawyer for province says Dr. Henry has outlined the reasons for her orders publicly

Penticton mayor John Vassilaki responded to BC Housing minster David Eby’s remarks that the city has put themselves at risk of creating a tent city Wednesday, March 3, 2020. (Western News file photo)
Penticton mayor calls out BC Housing minister for ‘irresponsible fear-mongering’

Council recently rejected BC Housing’s request to keep a winter shelter open longer than first planned

A sample of guns seized at the Pacific Highway border crossing from the U.S. into B.C. in 2014. Guns smuggled from the U.S. are used in criminal activity, often associated with drug gangs. (Canada Border Service Agency)
B.C. moves to seize vehicles transporting illegal firearms

Bill bans sale of imitation or BB guns to young people

BC Housing minister David Eby is concerned that Penticton council’s decision to close a local homeless shelter will result in a “tent city” similar to this one in Everett, Wa. (Olivia Vanni / Black Press file)
‘Disappointed and baffled’ housing minister warns of tent city in Penticton

Penticton council’s decision to close a local homeless shelter could create tent city, says David Eby

A recently published study out of UBC has found a link between life satisfaction levels and overall health. (Pixabay)
Satisfied with life? It’s likely you’re healthier for it: UBC study

UBC psychologists have found those more satisfied with their life have a 26% reduced risk of dying

A vial of some of the first 500,000 of the two million AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine doses that Canada has secured through a deal with the Serum Institute of India in partnership with Verity Pharma at a facility in Milton, Ont., on Wednesday, March 3, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Carlos Osorio - POOL
Federal panel recommends 4-month gap between COVID vaccine doses due to limited supply

The recommendation applies to all COVID-19 vaccines currently approved in Canada

Most Read