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

Creston’s second annual 7th Siding Film Festival to return next week

Organizers opened their doors to international filmmakers, resulting in 1,000 entries from around the world

Creston police report: Aug. 3 to 10

Local RCMP received 106 calls for assistance

Health care priorities debated following surprise funding announcement

Surprise provincial funding stirs debate on local health care priorities during regional meeting

Nelson’s American sister city faces COVID-19 culture war

In Sandpoint, Idaho, wearing a mask is about Black Lives Matter, gun rights, and COVID-19

Shortage of workers on Creston, Okanagan cherry and apple farms due to COVID-19

‘The tree fruit industry and the Ministry of Agriculture are asking local workers to consider helping with the harvest so that food waste is reduced’

STANDING TALL: For some, B.C.’s forest industry is the best office in the world

A look at the forest sector in B.C. – and those hoping for the best – amid mill curtailments

Bad behaviour at B.C. restaurants ignites campaign calling for respect

“If you can’t follow the rules, then stay home,” says BC Restaurant and Foodservices Association

Over half of Americans oppose Trump tariff on Canadian aluminum: survey

The survey was conducted Aug. 7 to 9 among 1,513 Canadians and 1,003 Americans

Oh baby, what a birthday gift: $2.8M raised to help B.C. boy with rare disease

‘We are very thankful to everybody,’ Aryan Deol’s father says

‘Huckleberry’ the bear killed after B.C. residents admit to leaving garbage out for videos

North Shore Black Bear Society said it was local residents who created a ‘death sentence’ for bear

Police investigating after insults, expletives yelled at federal minister’s staff

A 90-second video circulating on social media appears to have been shot by the person who was yelling

5 B.C. First Nations call out Canada for ‘discriminatory’ food fish practices

West Coast nations say government ignoring court-won right to chinook and coho

Lost dog reunited with family 3 months after going missing on remote B.C. trail

‘The poor thing was skin and bones,’ says one of its Vancouver Island rescuers

B.C. marine ecologist wants Canada to sink its teeth into shark protection

Gulf Islands scientist says top predator under shocking threat from human behaviour

Most Read