Justin Trudeau was in Kamloops on Day 2 of the election campaign, which also included stops in Victoria and Edmonton. (The PM was in Kamloops twice earlier this year.)
In the coming weeks the opposition parties will focus their attacks on Trudeau, arguing that he’s had his chance to help Canadians over the past four years and failed. NDP leader Jagmeet Singh has latched onto the SNC-Lavalin controversy to blast Trudeau for siding with his “rich friends and corporations over Canadians” and failing to be sufficiently progressive in his approach to affordable housing, protecting consumers and the environment. Green Party leader Elizabeth May has largely framed her criticism around what she says is the Liberals’ failure to transform Canada into a green economy.
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The Tournament Capital visit was quick. Trudeau was dropped off in front of Hello Toast, where he went inside to chat with customers (around 10 protesters gathered outside during the pep rally).
“Terry, thank you for your leadership, your devotion to community, your significant engagement over many, many years in public service. Thank you for stepping up and choosing forward along with the rest of us,” Trudeau said in his opening remarks.
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The prime minister took his five minutes with the mic to tout his party and take a few shots at the Conservatives.
“This election is a choice. It’s a choice about whether we go back to the Harper approach, that doesn’t believe in fighting climate change, doesn’t particularly care about working with Indigenous peoples, doesn’t particularly understand that by investing in the middle class and not helping the wealthy, that’s the way you build a stronger community forever and that’s how you build a stronger economy,” said Trudeau.
After the pep rally, Lake told KamloopsMatters having Trudeau in the riding is a “tremendous boost.”
And he’s out. But first, a selfie. #Kamloops #exln43 @JustinTrudeau @TerryLake19 pic.twitter.com/5SevscCVdV
“It shows the importance the Liberal Party places in the Interior of B.C. and Kamloops-Thompson-Cariboo in particular,” he said. “We have a very good chance of taking this riding. And that would mean a Liberal MP for the first time in 40 years.”
If he wins on Oct. 21, Lake says some of his top local priorities include infrastructure (Trans Canada Highway), the forestry sector and getting funding for a performing arts centre.
Lake is running against incumbent Conservative MP Cathy McLeod; Green candidate Iain Currie; rancher Ken Finlayson of the People's Party of Canada; Peter Kerek of the Communist Party; and Kira Cheeseborough of the Animal Protection Party of Canada.
Then there’s the perception that that the deck is stacked against ordinary Canadians. A recent poll by Ipsos Public Affairs Canada found 67 per cent of Canadians believe the economy is “rigged to advantage the rich and powerful.”
The local NDP riding association is currently searching for its candidate, after Dock Currie dropped out of the race for social media comments he made two years ago.
Trudeau's larger vision for the future of the Canadian economy rests on what some have described as a grand bargain: pricing carbon and reducing emissions in the long term, building a pipeline to maximize profits from the sale of oil in the short term. The proceeds from the latter would be used to fund the former. (And stringent environmental policies would make it easier to win the "social licence" necessary to proceed with the construction of a pipeline.)
The Liberal re-election caravan will be taking wing later today after the party's chartered plane was damaged Wednesday night in a minor collision with a bus on the airport tarmac in Victoria, B.C.
The plane had just landed in the British Columbia capital after transporting Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau, his team and several journalists travelling with the campaign across the country for day one of the federal election race.
A bus, used to transport journalists from the plane to the terminal, was parked close to the plane. As it departed, the bus drove under the wing of the plane, making a loud scraping sound as the top of the bus slowly dragged under the wing.
The Notley government's successful negotiation of an emissions cap for the Alberta oil industry went a long way toward putting Canada on a serious path to a low-carbon future, but (as Notley herself was moved to say at one point) a national climate plan for Canada isn't worth the paper it's written on if Alberta isn't involved.
Campaign officials now say a new Air Transat plane has been procured, although this one doesn't feature the partisan branding of its predecessor, which included Trudeau's name in big red block letters.
Trudeau headed Wednesday to what he calls his "second home" in British Columbia, headlining a boisterous evening rally in the riding of Vancouver Kingsway — right next door to the constituency held by his former attorney general, Jody Wilson-Raybould.
Trudeau's government faced a crisis last winter after allegations that Wilson-Raybould had faced inappropriate pressure from the prime minister, his office, other ministers and bureaucrats to end the criminal prosecution of Montreal engineering giant SNC-Lavalin.
Wilson-Raybould quit Trudeau's cabinet over the affair, followed by cabinet ally Jane Philpott. Trudeau eventually kicked both women out of the Liberal caucus and they are now seeking re-election as Independent candidates.
Shortly before Trudeau took to the stage, Wilson-Raybould was rocking the Liberals once again, telling the Globe and Mail that she was recently interviewed by the RCMP about the SNC-Lavalin affair. She called on Trudeau to waive cabinet confidentiality to allow the Mounties to thoroughly question witnesses and determine whether to launch a formal investigation.
Trudeau didn't mention Wilson-Raybould, but told hundreds of party faithful it "just felt right" to start the 2019 campaign in B.C., the same place he launched the 2015 campaign.
"My friends, it is so good to be home. You all know how proud I am to be a son and a grandson of British Columbia," he told the cheering throng, playing up his family connections to the province.
He recounted time spent with his maternal grandparents and working as a teacher in the province, saying: "Some of my best memories in the world are right here in B.C."
Liberal strategists say Trudeau intends to spend much of the first week of the campaign on the offence, hitting ridings currently held by other parties but that Liberals believe they have a chance of picking up. That includes a number of ridings in B.C., where a four-way fight among the Liberals, Conservatives, NDP and Greens is making outcomes particularly unpredictable.
On that score, Vancouver Kingsway fits the bill. It has been held by New Democrat Don Davies since 2008. He captured 45.7 per cent of the vote in 2015, almost 20 points ahead of the second-place Liberal contender.
Prior to that, the riding was held by David Emerson, who won originally as a Liberal in 2004 only to cross over to the Conservatives immediately after the 2006 election to serve in Stephen Harper's first cabinet.
This time, the Liberals are running a high-profile candidate, former CTV-B.C. evening news anchor Tamara Taggart.
In 2015, the Liberals won 17 of B.C.'s 42 seats. While they believe there are seats to be gained in the province, they will also have to fight to retain what they already have in a province where concern about climate change is paramount.
B.C. is home to the strongest opposition — including environmentalists, Indigenous communities, Vancouver's mayor and the province's NDP government — to the Trans Mountain pipeline, which Trudeau's government purchased to ensure a way to get Alberta oilsands crude to the B.C. coast.
A small group of young anti-pipeline protesters interrupted Trudeau's speech several times Wednesday, but were quickly drowned out by cheering partisans. Trudeau ignored them.
While NDP fortunes have been on the skids elsewhere, the party is still in contention in B.C. The Green party, meanwhile, is hoping for a big breakthrough in the province, which is currently home to Green Leader Elizabeth May and the only other elected Green MP, Paul Manly.
Intent on turning the election into a polarized choice between the Liberals and Conservatives, Trudeau went on the attack against the Tories but made no mention of any other rival party.
He accused Andrew Scheer's Conservatives of having no new ideas, saying they were regurgitating the same "failed" policies of Harper's government, which he described as tax breaks for the wealthy and cuts in services for everyone else.
Trudeau extolled his government's record of investing in people and communities, boasting that his policies have helped spur economic growth, create jobs and lift 900,000 Canadians out of poverty.
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