Canadian PM Clashes With Conservative Leader Over Election Timing, Healthcare
The other party leaders accused PM Justin Trudeau of calling the elections in the hopes of winning a majority.
Canadian Prime Minister and Liberal Party leader Justin Trudeau clashed with Conservative leader Erin O’Toole in the first national TV debate, held in French, of the general election campaign in Quebec, Canada, on Wednesday, 8 September.
Last month, Trudeau had called a snap election, which will be held on 20 September, two years ahead of schedule.
Bloc Quebecois leader Yves-François Blanchet, New Democratic Party leader Jagmeet Singh, and Green Party leader Annamie Paul also participated in the debate.
Trudeau has been facing criticism for calling the snap election in the middle of a fourth pandemic wave in the country.
On Wednesday, the other party leaders accused him of calling the elections in the hopes of winning a majority in the House of Commons, the BBC reported.
“Now is not the time for an election. Why in the middle of a pandemic did you call an election?” O’Toole was quoted as saying by AFP.
In response, Trudeau said, “Canadians need to have a say how we get out of this,” AP reported.
More than 77 percent of Canadians 12 years and older have gotten coronavirus shots, making Canada one of the most fully vaccinated countries globally.
“We invested enough money to put us at the top of the list in the world,” Trudeau said.
Replying to Trudeau, Jagmeet Singh said, “The only reason you called an election was a selfish reason, to obtain more power.”
The Conservatives, who are the main Opposition party, have a shot at winning the election.
Meanwhile, Trudeau, who has been in office for six years, questioned O’Toole and his centre-right Conservatives on healthcare, climate change, and childcare.
“We are going to create 250,000 daycare places across the country, and Mr O’Toole wants to scrap all of that,” Trudeau said.
Trudeau’s opponents also said he had not done enough to reduce greenhouse gases. However, Trudeau termed their views as “wishful thinking” and called his climate plan the most “ambitious”.
Trudeau said the Liberals are the “only ones with a real plan to tackle climate change”, reported AFP. However, O’Toole said the Trudeau government has not met its emission targets, with Jagmeet Singh saying, “In six years, you have the worst record of the G7.”
Parties have been focusing on issues like the cost of living, the pandemic, and economic recovery. However, polls have revealed climate change and the environment is a big issue for the voters.
The leaders also sparred over runaway COVID deaths at elderly care homes, mandatory vaccines, public finances, and indigenous reconciliation, AFP reported.
The widely watched national English-language debate will be held on Thursday, 9 September, evening.
(With inputs from the BBC, AFP, AP)
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