The three main federal parties launched attacks on each other on Saturday, undeterred by the absence of Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau on day six of the federal campaign.
While it is not unusual for party leaders to take a day off on Saturday, as it is traditionally the day that parties return to base to regroup, the current election has opened Trudeau to criticism for have launched a campaign as the fourth wave of COVID- 19 pandemics are unfolding.
So NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh did not need to be spurred on when reminded of Trudeau’s virgin route as he started his day in Toronto.
“I don’t know what his schedule is and why he isn’t campaigning… I can just say for myself, on housing in particular and a lot of other things, Trudeau has gone missing in action,” Singh said, while promising an extra of up to $ 5,000 for those struggling to pay their rent and a crackdown on so-called “renovations.” .
“He’s been lacking when it comes to helping people who have a hard time trying to find a place they can rent, (and) with people who have a hard time finding a place they can buy. “
Trudeau called the election last Sunday, sparking a campaign that will send voters to the polls on September 20.
During a campaign stop in Edmonton, Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole was asked about his own team’s decision to spend the first few days at a downtown Ottawa hotel campaigning on a newly built TV .
O’Toole said his “town hall meetings” had enabled him to reach more Canadians “than all the other leaders combined” in southwestern Ontario, New Brunswick and Quebec. O’Toole said he learned as a “leader of the COVID era” how to connect with Canadians and expose the flaws of his liberal opponent.
“I want to connect with as many Canadians as possible who are worried about more years of division under Mr. Trudeau, more cover-ups, more ethical lapses,” he said during from a campaign stop in Edmonton.
O’Toole also pledged to work better with the premiers “because our country fractured under Mr. Trudeau, in part because there is always a better approach in Ottawa.” That, he said, would include Nova Scotia’s new Progressive Conservative premier, Tim Houston, who ousted the ruling Liberals earlier this week.
“There was a change with the Liberal government trying to call an early election in the event of a pandemic,” O’Toole joked.
The war rooms of the Conservatives and the Liberals have also attacked each other on several occasions.
The Conservative campaign said it wrote to the Federal Ethics Commissioner about former Liberal cabinet minister Judy Sgro, a candidate for the riding of Humber River-Black Creek. A party statement raises concerns about a reported trip she made to Italy in 2017, which was allegedly funded by the Basilicata Cultural Society of Canada.
“According to proactive disclosures on the Ethics (Commissioner) website, Sgro never publicly disclosed the name of the third party who sponsored his trip to Italy,” the statement said.
Sponsored trips are allowed, but MPs must disclose who paid for them, the statement said.
The Liberals did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the matter, but issued their own letter to O’Toole regarding a separate issue.
The letter was written by Toronto-area MP Mary Ng, Minister of Commerce when Parliament was dissolved, criticizing the Conservative leader for failing to support mandatory COVID-19 vaccinations for government employees as well as for air and rail passengers.
The letter compared O’Toole to Republican politicians in Texas and Florida who blocked mandatory vaccination.
“If you don’t show leadership to protect the health and safety of Canadians, you can’t stand in the way of those who will,” the letter said.
“Will you commit to ensuring that your party, your candidates and your caucus are not allowed to introduce legislation banning mandatory vaccination policies or punishing businesses and organizations that require their customers and employees to be vaccinated?” “
The O’Toole campaign aimed to show the lack of daylight between the Liberal approach and that of the Conservatives, repeating that a Conservative government would require unvaccinated passengers to either show a recent negative test result or pass. a quick test by jumping on a bus, plane or boat. . Unvaccinated federal officials were also reportedly subjected to a daily test.
“(As part of) Justin Trudeau’s plan for federal employees, those who refuse vaccination will have to consider alternative measures, such as testing and screening,” party spokesman Cory Hann said in a statement. e-mail.
“The simple fact is, Justin Trudeau’s plan for federal employees is the same as Erin O’Toole’s.
The Liberals also highlighted a press release from pro-life group RightNow targeting O’Toole. The group is asking the Conservative leader to say he will not ask medical professionals to refer patients seeking services like abortion or physician-assisted dying to another provider if they object to it. ‘execution of these procedures themselves.
“Erin O’Toole promised pro-lifers during the Conservative Party of Canada’s leadership race in 2020 that he would protect the conscientious rights of healthcare professionals across Canada,” said Scott Hayward, co-founder and president of RightNow, in Saturday’s release.
Hayward and his group want O’Toole to honor that pledge, the statement said.
– With files from Christopher Reynolds in Vancouver
Sarah Smellie and Mike Blanchfield, The Canadian Press
Election Canada 2021