Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau said he was acting on the advice of the RCMP when he wore a protective vest and was accompanied by increased security at a rally in Mississauga, Ont. Saturday night, but did not elaborate on the reason for the security concern.
Mr. Trudeau remained under increased security Sunday, with tactical security officers and sniffer dogs accompanying the Liberal campaign, but he was not wearing a protective vest. He said the security concerns at the Saturday rally will not affect how he campaigns as he heads into the final week before the Oct. 21 election.
“My priority was the safety of my family and the 2,000 people in the room. I took advice from the RCMP, worked with them. But I will not make any further comments on this incident,” Mr. Trudeau told reporters in York, Ont. Sunday morning.
The Liberal campaign has been tight-lipped about the reasons for the increased presence.
Mr. Trudeau said election campaigns around the world are facing increase polarization, pointing to years’ worth of personal attacks and “flat out lies” about him from the Conservatives. He was asked if he was blaming the Tories for the security concerns on his campaign.
“No, I think it’s very clear that there is a general polarization right now that various parties have contributed to over the past months, and more specifically over the past days. But the decisions around last night and my concern for the safety of my family and for the people in the room were based on that particular event,” Mr. Trudeau said.
Mr. Trudeau arrived at his Saturday night rally 90 minutes late, wearing the vest under his shirt and suit jacket and was accompanied by tactical security officers wearing backpacks.
Cameron Ahmad, a spokesperson for the Liberals, said the campaign had no comment about the delay or increased security for Mr. Trudeau. Mr. Trudeau’s wife, Sophie Gregoire Trudeau, was also supposed to speak at the rally Saturday but didn’t end up attending. Mr. Ahmad declined to comment on the change of plans.
Mr. Trudeau made the comments at a food drive event in Liberal candidate Ahmed Hussen’s riding of York South-Weston Sunday afternoon. He was joined by a surprise guest — Toronto Raptors President Masai Ujiri — who endorsed the Liberal leader.
NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh campaigned in B.C. on Sunday and voted in advance polls in his Burnaby South riding. Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer is not campaigning today.
The Liberal campaign is targeting the NDP amid the party’s rise in the polls. Mr. Trudeau has started attacking the NDP more directly in his messaging since Saturday – something he doubled down on in his remarks on Sunday.
“The NDP wasn’t able to stop Doug Ford. The NDP wasn’t able to stop Stephen Harper. If you want to stop Conservative cuts, you have to elect a progressive government, not a progressive opposition,” he said.
Mr. Singh said part of the reason his campaign is in Burnaby today is because he wanted to vote in his riding, adding that B.C. is an important place for his party. When asked about Liberals insisting that a vote for the New Democrats is a vote for the Conservatives, Mr. Singh said that for a long time Liberals and Conservatives “have taken people’s votes for granted — they just assume that they’re going to vote either Liberal or vote Conservative.”
“I want to say to people — you own your vote, you can vote any way you want. Do not vote out of fear. Vote for what you believe.” Mr. Singh also said he doesn’t believe in strategic voting, saying, “It hasn’t made Canada a better place.”
The increased focus on the NDP comes as polling from Nanos Research shows growing support for the New Democrats.
Since the debates, the NDP have been on a “positive trajectory” while the two frontrunners are locked in a stalemate, pollster Nik Nanos said.
The NDP aren’t doing as well in Quebec and the Liberals were hoping to pick up their seats in that province in order to make up for expected losses elsewhere, but that plan is being put on the rocks by the rising Bloc Québécois, Mr. Nanos said.
“Right now, those two leaders and parties are poised to be key players in the next House of Commons, they might even be determining who could be prime minister,” he said.
According to Sunday’s daily tracking survey from Nanos Research, the Liberals and Conservatives are deadlocked at 32 per cent support each. The New Democrats are up five points since Friday and now sit at 20 per cent, with the Greens at 9 per cent, the Bloc Québécois at 6 per cent and the People’s Party at 1 per cent.
The poll was sponsored by The Globe and Mail and CTV, with a total of 1,200 Canadians surveyed from Oct. 11 to Oct. 13. 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.