MONTREAL — Following a speech in which he criticized Prime Minister Stephen Harper and reached out to grassroots Conservatives, Justin Trudeau said he wasn’t looking to pull votes from the governing party.
“It’s not about where the votes are, it’s about getting beyond the kind of polarization we have in politics right now,” the Liberal leader said in an interview on The West Block with Tom Clark. “I don’t really think I’m going to convince a whole bunch of hardcore Conservatives that they suddenly need to support me.”
Rather, he said, he is trying to send the message that all Canadians want to build a better future.
“We are not enemies in this country,” he said. “We can agree to disagree and try to work together to make that happen.”
In his second, and more substantial, speech to delegates gathered in Montreal at the party’s convention this weekend, Trudeau directly addressed Conservative voters, calling them “good people” who lost their voice after helping elect a majority Conservative government.
One of the questions emerging from a weekend of policy discussion is how the Liberals plan to implement new programs and expand government without raising taxes, as promised.
When asked how he expects that plan to work, Trudeau pointed to the balanced budget the Conservatives have been working toward since falling into a deficit following the 2008 recession.
“If you believe the government’s numbers we’re going to get into a surplus position reasonably soon, and much of the debate in politics will be about where we think that surplus should be spent,” he said. “The government will certainly be making its point for what it believes, and I’ve laid out my case right now that it’s smart infrastructure spending, it’s investments in education and it’s ensuring Canada works for the middle class.”
The Conservatives, however were warning the Liberals will likely resort to hiking taxes in order to fulfil any policy promises.
“I’m listening to hear what their revenue toOls are going to be and how they’re going to figure this out,” said Transport Minister Lisa Raitt, who was attending the convention as a Conservative observer. “Because all I’m hearing is spend, spend spend. So I want to know if it’s going to be tax, tax, tax to go with it.”