Leaders back on campaign trail to change channel from only English debate

The federal leaders were fresh off the debate circuit and back to business Tuesday with less than two weeks to go until Election Day and with two days to go until their next tête-à-tête.

Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer said Tuesday he wished the debate format would have allowed for a more direct one-on-one exchange with his main opponent, Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau, in the English-language debate on Monday evening.

“I believe that Canadians would have liked to see me explain my policies and him defend his,” Mr. Scheer said of the event held at the Canadian Museum of History in Gatineau, Que. “Unfortunately the format did not really allow for a lot of that.”

The debate was organized by The Leaders’ Debates Commission after the federal government announced in 2018 it would establish an independent panel to organize the events, suggesting this would make the process more predictable and reliable.

On Thursday, an additional debate will be held at the same location in French in front of a live audience.

Mr. Scheer began Tuesday by announcing that his party wants to invest in the Ontario and Yonge subway extension projects to reduce commute times during a campaign stop Tuesday in the Greater Toronto Area.

He also used the announcement to take aim at Mr. Trudeau, suggesting he has failed to deliver much-needed commuter infrastructure for Canadians despite a $187-billion spending commitment.

Mr. Scheer was also joined at the announced by Markham Mayor Frank Scarpitti and Richmond Hill Mayor David Barrow.

NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh was in Toronto on Tuesday morning, where he was repeatedly asked to clarify his position on Quebec’s Bill 21 after the law that restricts religious dress among some public servants was raised during Monday’s debate.

Mr. Trudeau, who has left the door open to federal intervention in the law, grilled Mr. Singh at the debate for not committing to intervene if the NDP formed government. The law is now being challenged in Quebec Superior Court on questions of jurisdiction and broader constitutional principles, not covered by the notwithstanding clause.

“I am a lawyer and I think it’s very important that I don’t interfere in any way with a court challenge that’s happening,” Mr. Singh said Tuesday.

“What I want to do instead is use my platform to win over people and show them that this is not a good idea – to divide people based on the way they look is not going to build a better world.”

Mr. Singh met with Toronto-area voters on Tuesday at a recording studio, where he discussed his party’s plan to save young people $1,200 a year by capping cellphone fees, removing interest on student loans and reducing prescription drug and dental care costs. He also announced a $5,000-per-year rental benefit for families spending more than 30 per cent of their income on rent.

Mr. Trudeau is campaigning in Iqaluit on Tuesday, where he will meet with Nunavut candidate Megan Pizzo-Lyall and highlight concerns over climate change in the Arctic.

Green Party Leader Elizabeth May will make an announcement in Longueuil, Que., Tuesday alongside candidate Pierre Nantel, a former NDP MP now running for the Greens.

According to the daily tracking survey from Nanos Research, the Liberals and Conservatives are tied at 35 per cent support while the NDP sits at at 14 per cent, the Greens at 10 per cent, the Bloc Québécois at 5 per cent, and the People’s Party at 1 per cent.

The Liberals and Conservatives remain in a prolonged deadlock as Mr. Trudeau and Mr. Scheer try to fight for the hearts and minds of Canadians, said chief data scientist Nik Nanos.

The poll was sponsored by The Globe and Mail and CTV, with a total of 1,200 Canadians surveyed from Oct. 5 to Oct. 7. It has a margin of error of 2.8 percentage points, 19 times out of 20. Respondents were asked: “If a federal election were held today, could you please rank your top two current local voting preferences?” A report on the results, questions and methodology for this and all surveys can be found at http://tgam.ca/election-polls.

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Benjamin Tucker

Benjamin Tucker

I am Benjamin Tucker and I’m passionate about business and finance news with over 4 years in the industry starting as a writer working my way up into senior positions. I am the driving force behind Block Chains Job with a vision to broaden the company’s readership throughout 2016. I am an editor and reporter of “Services” category.

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