Trudeau, Scheer trade populism warnings and corruption charges

Liberal leader links rival to U.S., U.K. while Tory leader hammers away at SNC-Lavalin affair

Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau greets supporters at a campaign event in Surrey, B.C., on Tuesday, Sept. 24, 2019. RYAN REMIORZ / THE CANADIAN PRESS

Justin Trudeau and Andrew Scheer evoked the populism-fuelled political turmoil in the United States and Britain and the SNC-Lavalin scandal to vilify each other Thursday on the campaign trail.

The Liberal leader drew a link between his Conservative opponent and the instability caused by the impeachment drama unfolding in the U.S. and the Brexit agony that has racked the U.K. Trudeau revived his accusation that Scheer is relying on the “politics of fear” to scare voters.

Scheer returned to the SNC-Lavalin affair that has dogged Trudeau in recent months by promising a new law to investigate “sleazy” politicians.

Trudeau fired the first shot on Thursday, saying the uncertainty in the U.S. and U.K. serves as a warning to Canadians to resist the pull of divisive populism that he accuses his Conservative opponents of fostering.

Spotlight on B.C.: How will the province affect the federal election?

While he did not mention President Donald Trump or Prime Minister Boris Johnson by name, Trudeau continued to link Scheer to other conservative politicians, such as Ontario Premier Doug Ford and former prime minister Stephen Harper.

Trudeau said Scheer is running on the same failed Harper policies as the Tories did in the 2015 campaign that brought the Liberals to power.

“Some of the consequences of the populist tendencies that we’ve seen over the past few years in places like the U.K. and the United States are clearly on display for Canadians right now,” Trudeau said in Sudbury, Ont., after announcing a series of new conservation measures.

It was the latest in a series of environment-related announcements this week, including a pledge to protect a quarter of Canada’s lands and oceans by 2025 and measures to help low-income families go camping in national and provincial parks.

Scheer responded with a scathing attack on Trudeau in his own backyard — the Montreal riding of Papineau — where he promised a Conservative government would launch a judicial inquiry into the SNC-Lavalin affair.

“It’s a cover-up on an historic scale,” said Scheer.

Scheer said he would introduce legislation that would allow the RCMP to ask the Supreme Court of Canada for access to information covered by cabinet confidence, saying it would prevent politicians from hiding behind the current system that’s meant to permit frank and open discussions among ministers.

RELATED: Trudeau repeats non-apology for ‘standing up for jobs’ in SNC-Lavalin case

NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh said Thursday he supports an inquiry and has been calling for one since the scandal erupted.

But he criticized Scheer for not saying whether he approves of deferred prosecution agreements in principle. Singh has said the NDP would do away with them.

“The root cause of this was a deferred prosecution agreement and he (Scheer) hasn’t talked about that,” Singh said in Campbell River, B.C., where he announced an NDP government would offer an annual rent subsidy of up to $5,000 to help families struggling to afford housing.

Singh was spending his third consecutive day in B.C. trying to protect some of his party’s ridings from a surging Green Party. Vancouver Island is where the Greens see their best chances of picking up seats, after a byelection win over the New Democrats in Nanaimo-Ladysmith in May.

Green Leader Elizabeth May was focused on breaking new ground in Quebec. She was in Montreal on Thursday, alongside several Quebec candidates, before her own participation in the Friday climate march.

“The province of Quebec has been playing a leadership role for a long time. We have in this country everything we need to make a change that ensures our children have a livable world,” she said.

“Regardless of where you’re from, or what party you used to vote for, if you’re listening to our children what you’re hearing is, ‘All hands on deck right now.’ “

Mike Blanchfield, 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

Young Canadians, hospitality workers bear the brunt of mental strain in 2020: report

A study by Morneau Shepell points to economic uncertainty in the pandemic as the cause for angst

134 new cases of COVID-19 on Friday

First day over 100 cases since July 31

Much to explore at the Big Valley Historical Society Museum

Plenty of history packed into a diverse and extensive collection

1 in 7 Albertans have been tested for COVID-19

56 additional cases Thursday, 1,107 active cases remain in the province

Explore Alberta during ‘Open Farm Days’

Since 2013, Open Farm Days has seen almost 125,000 person visits

Protestors for Indigenous Lives Matter gather in Wetaskiwin

Protestors gathered along 56 St Wetaskiwin, Alta. August 4, 2020 for Indigenous Lives Matter.

Collapse of Nunavut ice shelf ‘like losing a good friend:’ glaciologist

The ice shelf on the northwestern edge of Ellesmere Island has shrunk 43 per cent

13-year-old charged in death of boy, 10 in Maskwacis

The RCMP Major Crimes Unit have laid a manslaughter charge against a 13-year-old boy from Maskwacis.

‘Caught up in the frenzy:’ Oilers 50/50 draw breaking ticket sale records

Previous record was held by Toronto Raptors fans when a 50/50 raffle reached $2 million

Alberta jury trials to resume next month at offsite locations due to COVID-19

About 12 locations across Alberta may host the trials in halls, hotels and community centres

Alberta school curriculum to focus on basics, keep out political bias: minister

NDP education critic says the kindergarten to Grade 4 changes should have been implemented a year ago

Statistics Canada says country gained 419,000 jobs in July

National unemployment rate was 10.9 per cent in July, down from the 12.3 per cent recorded in June

Canada plans $3.6 billion in retaliatory tariffs on U.S. in aluminium dispute

The new Canada-United States-Mexico Agreement that replaced NAFTA went into force on July 1

Walmart to make face masks mandatory for customers across Canada

Requirement goes into effect on Wednesday, Aug. 12 across Canada

Most Read