OTTAWA – The federal Liberal election platform is out, and it’s brimming with talking points not only for Justin Trudeau, but for his political rivals as well.
There’s billions in new spending – $57 billion worth, according to Conservative math – to be financed in part by new taxes on the wealthy, large international corporations, foreign housing speculators and tech giants.
“Liberals are proposing to continue to invest in Canadians because it is working to grow our economy, create opportunities for everyone,” Trudeau said Monday in Toronto as he repeated his explanation for continuing to increase planned program spending.
There’s billions in red ink, too: the platform projects a $27.4-billion deficit next year, falling to $21 billion by year 4 of what would be a second Liberal mandate, should Trudeau’s growth-and-investment approach win out over what he calls the cuts and austerity of Andrew Scheer’s Tories.
Scheer began his own announcement Monday by highlighting what Conservatives consider Liberal disregard for the federal balance sheet – an image Trudeau seemed to lean into Sunday as an important point of distinction between the two parties.
“We must elect a Conservative government that will leave within its means,” Scheer said in Whitby, Ont., before announcing a Conservative government would make it easier for thousands of Canadians to access the federal disability tax credit.
Trudeau spent Monday morning in Toronto talking to health-care professionals about what he has promised a re-elected Liberal government would do about guns – a hot topic in a city that has seen 340 shooting incidents this year alone, with 503 victims – 28 of them fatal – according to Toronto police data.
That includes outlawing the semi-automatic AR-15, which was used in many recent U.S. mass shootings, as well a buy-back program for legally purchased assault rifles.
“These are the things that people are calling for,” Trudeau said. “They are concrete actions, not just statements of urgency, because we recognize the public health emergency that gun violence is becoming, as highlighted by these professionals.”
Scheer will be facing questions, too. The Liberals are trying to make hay with the fact that the Conservative leader never finished the licensing process to become an insurance broker, a job description he says he had before politics. The party says he was accredited, but left the industry before getting his licence.
The Conservative campaign has more stops planned in Toronto and nearby Brampton – part of the tactically important suburban belt ringing Canada’s most populous city. NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh continues to focus his efforts on the Vancouver area, and his attacks on the Liberals.
Green Leader Elizabeth May is beginning her day in Vancouver, while People’s Party Leader Maxime Bernier travels to Windsor, Ont.
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