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

Convoy of essential service vehicles visits Nelson hospital and care homes

The event was meant as a thank you to front-line workers

Vehicle incident causes Hwy 6 closure and power outages in Slocan Valley

A Thursday afternoon incident has closed the main highway in the Slocan Valley

Nelson and COVID-19: everything you need to know

Check this page for every local story related to the outbreak

Emergency dental clinic to open in Nelson during COVID-19 shutdowns

Only people with serious pain, infection, or trauma will be admitted

Selkirk College gives back during COVID-19 crisis

Staff have been delivering grocery items and medical supplies to those in need during pandemic

VIDEO: ‘Used gloves and masks go in the garbage,’ says irked B.C. mayor

Health officials have said single-use gloves won’t do much to curb the spread of COVID-19

COVID-19: postponed surgeries will be done, B.C. health minister says

Contract with private surgical clinic to help clear backlog

Black Press Media ad sparks discussion about value of community newspapers

White Rock resident hopes front-page note shines light on revenue loss during COVID-19 crisis

53 new COVID-19 cases in B.C., four new deaths

B.C. has 498 active confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus

Don’t stop going to the doctor, just do it virtually: B.C. association

Doctors encourage patients to access telephone, online visits

Businesses advised to prepare for federal, B.C. COVID-19 assistance

Canada Revenue Agency portal expected to open next week

Dogs are property, not kids, B.C. judge tells former couple

Court decision made on competing lawsuits over Zeus and Aurora — a pit bull and pit bull cross

B.C. senior gives blood for 200th time, has ‘saved’ 600 lives

There was no cutting of cake for Harvey Rempel but he’s challenging youth to start donating blood

Most Read