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Trudeau says he’ll focus on bringing Canadians together amid ‘divisive’ election year

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speaks at a Liberal Party breakfast event in Toronto on Friday, Feb. 1, 2019.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speaks at a Liberal Party breakfast event in Toronto on Friday, Feb. 1, 2019. Chris Young/CP

TORONTO — Justin Trudeau insists he’ll stay positive in the face of what he predicts will be a “negative, divisive” election year.

Speaking at a Liberal fundraising breakfast at Toronto’s Fairmont Royal York hotel, the prime minister said he plans to focus on bringing people together.

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He says that while scaring and dividing people might lead to “short-term electoral gains,” it hurts politicians’ ability to govern.

The campaign-style speech echoed the prime minister’s message to his caucus in January, when he told Liberal MPs to steer clear of personal attacks in their ridings.

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Trudeau says Canada will stand up for the rules against populism, other ‘forces’ in world
Trudeau says Canada will stand up for the rules against populism, other ‘forces’ in world

The upbeat messaging comes at a time when Trudeau’s government is facing court challenges from several provinces that oppose his mandated carbon tax, as well as controversies over multiple pipeline projects and criticism for his approach to China.

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Andrew Scheer’s Conservatives, meanwhile, have been accusing Trudeau of “more name-calling and fear-mongering than anyone.” Scheer, too, insists he’s campaigning on a “positive message.”

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Prime Minister Justin Trudeau meet with residents of the Maison des sourds
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau meet with residents of the Maison des sourds