Trudeau, Liberals streamline message, focus on turning support into votes
HALIFAX – The platform is out and the promises made, so Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau is turning his attention to getting voters to the ballot box on Monday.
During a raucous campaign rally Saturday in Halifax, Trudeau urged supporters and campaign workers to redouble their efforts to ensure, in his words, that “no vote – and no voter – gets left behind.”
“Go knock doors. Make those phone calls. Get out there and talk with your neighbours,” Trudeau urged. “Offer them a ride to the polling station. Babysit their kids.”
Trudeau’s speech was interrupted briefly when a pair of banner-wielding protesters tried to shout over him. One banner read, “Your climate policy is just not ready,” while the other said, “Liberals in bed with TransCanada Corp.”
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The latter one is a reference to the only real controversy to bedevil the Liberal campaign: an email that surfaced earlier this week from Dan Gagnier, a member of Trudeau’s inner circle, in which he offers advice to the Calgary-based pipeline company on how to lobby a new government.
Gagnier’s subsequent resignation appears to have slammed the brakes on what had been a growing head of Liberal steam in the final days of the campaign.
For his part, Trudeau shrugged off the protest, which he implied might have been staged by his political rivals.
“The attacks of my opponents will continue, because my opponents are focused on me,” he said. “I remain focused on Canadians.”
With polls suggesting the Liberals have been out in front, Trudeau found himself being asked about what he would do in the initial days of his mandate should he be elected prime minister. He offered little new information, except when it came to which foreign leaders he might reach out to first.
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“Over 10 years, Mr. Harper has soured our most important international relationship with the United States,” Trudeau said. “I look forward to speaking with President Obama if I earn Canadians’ trust on Monday to talk about the kinds of challenges we’re facing on our continent.”
Specifically, he mentioned the idea of efficient trade over a secure border and more generally, improving the relationship between two important friends and allies.
“We won’t always agree on everything, obviously … but we do need to be able to talk openly and responsibly together, which Mr. Harper has been unable to do for the last 10 years.”
Trudeau is on a barnstorming tour for the final weekend before Monday’s vote, hitting five different provinces today alone, with events scheduled in Saint John, N.B., Thunder Bay, Ont., and Winnipeg before an overnight stay in Edmonton.
© 2015 The Canadian Press