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Trudeau criticizes Conservatives

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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.

Federal Election 2019: Trudeau says Liberal candidate who made homophobic, sexist comments ‘took responsibility’

Federal Election 2019: Trudeau says Liberal candidate who made homophobic, sexist comments ‘took responsibility’

Monday’s debate is also be the last time any of them will debate each other in English.

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.

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
Strategic advice to party leaders ahead of the final two debates

Strategic advice to party leaders ahead of the final two debates

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.

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.”

Tory spokesman Simon Jefferies said Sunday that the party platform will be fully costed when it’s released and that some of the Liberals’ signature promises don’t have dollar figures attached.

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.

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.

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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.


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Federal Election 2019: Bill 21, abortion and environment among topics debated in first French-language debate

Federal Election 2019: Bill 21, abortion and environment among topics debated in first French-language debate

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.”

At one point during his tour, Singh was approached and thanked by one shopper for his response to photos and a video of Trudeau having worn blackface and brownface makeup before the Liberal leader entered politics.

“As a person of colour, I was inspired and grateful for how his response was to Justin Trudeau,” said Laverne Barretto. “It spoke to my heart and to my soul and his poise and elegance was profound. … That really meant a lot to me as a woman of colour in Canada and I really wanted to say thank you.”

Yet Barretto said she would be voting for the Greens because she wants to push for more action on the environment and climate change, and that it was unfortunate the NDP’s platform did not go farther.

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.





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Federal Election 2019: How official leaders debate will prevent ‘free-for-all’

Federal Election 2019: How official leaders debate will prevent ‘free-for-all’

“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.

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Numbers show 25% increase in advance voting over 2015

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New numbers provided by Elections Canada say voter turnout during the first two days of advanced polling is up 25 per cent over numbers recorded during the same period in 2015.

According to Elections Canada, preliminary figures show approximately two million people cast their ballots across Canada on Friday and Saturday.

During the 2015 election 1.6 million Canadians cast their ballots during the first two days.

Over the four-day early voting period during the previous election, a total of 3.65 million Canadians voted, representing 20.8 per cent of all votes cast.

In a statement emailed to Global News, Elections Canada spokeswoman Diane Benson said this year’s increase shows that “more Canadians are taking advantage of early voting opportunities to cast their ballots.”

While the increase is large, Elections Canada says the figure does not include those who voted in local offices, on campus, in additional service points or by special ballot.

It also does not include the number of voters who cast their ballot on Sunday. The agency says that number, as well as national totals and riding-by-riding-totals will be available later this week.

Federal Election 2019: Advance polling hours to be extended

Advance voting began on Friday, and those still interested in casting their ballot early have until Monday at 9 p.m. to do so.

Voters can find out the location of advance polling stations by looking at their voter identification cards, the Elections Canada website or by calling 1-800-463-6868.

In order to vote, individuals must prove their identity and address.

For more information on when, where and how to vote, Global News has created this handy voters guide.

Canada’s federal election will take place on Oct. 21.

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Singh downplays prospect of a coalition

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TORONTO — NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh appeared to be walking back his comments on Monday, a day after he said he would “absolutely” work with the other parties to form a coalition government in the event of the Conservatives winning a minority next week.

Speaking to reporters on Sunday in Surrey, B.C., Singh said he would do “whatever it takes” to avoid a Conservative government, including working with Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau if the Conservatives win.

“We’re not going to support a Conservative government,” Singh said on Sunday. “We’re going to fight a Conservative government, we’re going to fight it all the way.”

On Monday, Singh backed off those comments and urged Canadians to vote NDP in order to receive the best services.

“It’s not a question of coalition, it’s a question of our priorities,” Singh told reporters in French. “What I say for all Canadians is if you want to have someone who is working for you for climate change, it’s the New Democrats, if you vote for us, we’re going to fight for you.”

A spokesperson for the NDP clarified Singh’s stance later Monday, noting that he is running to be prime minister and a coalition government is just one of the options he would accept to ensure the Conservatives are not in power.

“Jagmeet will work with people who are willing to take the same priorities as his. As PM, as opposition, in coalition, in a minority agreement, in vote to vote,” said spokesperson Melanie Richer in an email.

While Trudeau has been pushing the idea that a vote for the Liberals is the only way to avoid Conservatives, Singh made it clear he hopes Canadians know there are more options.

“I reject that analysis,” he said. “Vote for a New Democrat, wherever you are, vote for a New Democrat. They’re going to make sure that your priorities are put front and centre. We can win and we can make sure that your life is better.”

Singh would not respond to whether he’d require any NDP MPs to sit in cabinet under a coalition, but has previously said he would require climate change action, national pharmacare, interest-free student loans, cuts to cell phone plans, affordable housing investments and additional taxes of the wealthiest Canadians to support any party’s minority government.

When asked about the prospect of forming a coalition with the NDP, Trudeau dodged the question and suggested the NDP would rip up the new NAFTA deal under this proposal.

Singh called that claim a “lie” and added his party would only require some of the trade protections in the agreement to be enforceable as a way of protecting Canadian workers.

Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer told reporters on Monday that a coalition with the Liberals and NDP would “lead to higher taxes, less jobs, more deficits and bigger household bills.”

“It’s the coalition Canadians can’t afford,” he said. “Only a Conservative majority government can prevent a government with Justin Trudeau as a spokesman, but the NDP calling the shots.”

Singh said the Conservatives will not fight for every day Canadians and are instead focused on offering tax breaks for the richest people in the country.

“With Conservatives what you get are folks that are going to offer you a couple dollars in your pocket, but what they’re really going to do is cost you more in the long run,” Singh said.

“That’s not what Canadians need right now. They need investments in housing, they need someone who’s going to take on the big cell phone companies and make sure that cell phone and internet prices are more affordable. That’s what you get when you vote New Democrat.”

According to the latest polling from Nanos research, the Liberals and Conservatives are deadlocked with around 32 per cent support with just a week to go before the election. The NDP sit comfortably in third with 19.2 per cent support.

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Conservatives defend ads that accuse Liberals of planning to legalize hard drugs

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Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer was not campaigning on Sunday, but defended the online ads when asked about them on Saturday.

CARLOS OSORIO/Reuters

The Conservatives are standing by their use of ads that falsely say the Liberals plan to legalize hard drugs, as another example of the Tory-endorsed claim has surfaced.

The Globe obtained a copy of a flier sent out in the Scarborough area of Toronto that says “Justin Trudeau has a plan to legalize hard drugs.” The flier has English and Chinese languages on both sides with the same message.

A picture of someone shooting up is accompanied by the question: “Do you want Justin Trudeau to legalize hard drugs in your community?”

At a campaign event in Toronto on Sunday, Mr. Trudeau called the ads “reprehensible” and a “lie.”

The flier goes on to say: “Only Andrew Scheer’s Conservatives will stop Trudeau’s hard drug legalization plan and keep our kids safe.”

Mr. Trudeau said during the French language TVA debate on Oct. 2 that a re-elected Liberal government would not legalize or decriminalize hard drugs “right now,” but clarified with reporters immediately afterwards that he has no plans to do so if he wins a second mandate.

“We will not be further decriminalizing any drugs other than cannabis,” Mr. Trudeau told reporters after the debate.

The Conservatives are defending their ads, accusing the Liberal Leader of being unclear.

“If Justin Trudeau tells us precisely when he is going to legalize dangerous drugs, we will amend our [ads] to reflect this new information,” Conservative spokesperson Simon Jefferies said on Sunday when asked about the fliers.

On Friday, The Globe reported that the party was also pushing similar ads on its Chinese-language Facebook page.

Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer was not campaigning on Sunday, but defended the online ads when asked about them on Saturday.

“We’ve called attention to the Liberals’ inability to come clear on this,” he said. “This is something that Canadians have a right to know about: whether or not they’re going to give Justin Trudeau a second mandate where he will continue to go down this road of making drugs more accessible.”

Mr. Trudeau said the ads are a distraction from the Conservative platform, which outlines $53-billion in cuts over five years to balance the budget while also introducing an across-the-board income tax cut.

“The Conservative Party is continuing to mislead and even lie to Canadians,” Mr. Trudeau said.

“I think it is reprehensible. We have been very clear, we will not be legalizing hard drugs. We will continue with the approach that we have that has been working on fighting this terrible opioid epidemic.”

Parts of the country have been dealing in recent years with a surge in deaths from overdoses linked to illicit opioids.

Mr. Trudeau has said his approach to combating the opioid crisis will be “grounded in science, in harm reduction, in safe consumption, in giving more tools to our medical professionals.”

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