OTTAWA – As we inch closer to election day, federal party leaders are hitting the campaign trail today with promises to deal with tax cuts, irregular border crossers, and support for workers.
Some are also taking aim at their opponents.
In Markham, Ont., Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau stood in a grocery store to talk about his tax breaks for middle-class Canadians, but slammed the plan being put forward by fellow frontrunner Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer.
“Twice the tax breaks for big polluters and the wealth, and twice the cuts for you and your family,” Trudeau said.
He also said on Wednesday that Canadians aren’t worried about national unity, and that those he has spoken with while on the campaign trail have talked to him about things like the environment instead.
He reiterated his party’s promise to take action on climate change.
“To push back against Doug Ford and Jason Kenney, and the big oil companies who wrote Andrew Scheer’s environment plan,” the Liberal leader said.
Trudeau was asked today if he would be willing to work with the Bloc Québécois, as polling suggests support for the sovereigntist party is increasing.
He sidestepped the question, saying the Bloc can’t fight Conservative premiers who are against the carbon tax. Bloc Leader Yves-François Blanchet has been trying to portray himself as the only one who truly understands the needs and values of Quebecers.
All major party leaders will be focusing on Quebec voters Thursday, in the campaign’s only official French-language debate.
Meanwhile, in a long speech at a union convention in Montreal, the NDP’s Jagmeet Singh listed a series of promises for workers and their families, and targeted the Liberals as he highlighted his plan to boost taxes on corporations and the wealthy.
“If they chose to let the richest off the hook, we can choose to make sure they pay their fair share,” Singh proclaimed.
Singh also took aim at Trudeau over climate change.
“He gave beautiful words, pretty words, but they amounted to what? Empty promises,” the New Democrat added.
Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer has taken his campaign to the Roxham Road crossing in Hemmingford, Que., where the federal government says nearly 50,000 irregular migrants have crossed into Canada in the past two years. Scheer has argued the Liberals should stop the crossings.
“We’ll close the loophole in the Safe Third Country Agreement,” Scheer said of his party’s immigration plan on Wednesday. “We’ll also hire 250 additional officers at the Canada… Border Services Agency.”
The loophole in the agreement prevents asylum seekers from claiming refugee protection in Canada if they arrive at an official border checkpoint from a country that is considered safe, such as the U.S.
But if they can cross on foot through unofficial entry points, they can claim refugee status once they arrive in Canada.
Scheer also plans to boost the number of skilled immigrants coming into our country.
Green Leader Elizabeth May reiterated her party’s commitment that a Green government would “level the playing field” by implementing taxes on companies like Facebook and Netflix.
Speaking in Montreal, in an announcement about defending Quebec culture, May said large American tech companies have an unfair advantage when they operate in Canada.
The Green plan includes making sure companies charge GST as well as taxes on revenue, and the plan would also close loopholes around advertising taxes May says encourage digital advertising to the detriment of local media.
May said keeping web giants in check is part of a fight to protect Canadian and particularly Quebecois culture.
May would also give a veto power to Quebec over agreements that affect its culture. She added the CBC should be funded to the same per-capita level as the BBC in the United Kingdom, and that Radio-Canada must have enough funding to create quality broadcasting in Quebec and also reach francophones across Canada.