Federal Conservative leader Andrew Scheer said Peterborough-Kawartha MP Maryam Monsef has “a problem telling the truth” during a visit to her riding on Wednesday afternoon.
Prior to his arrival for a campaign-style barbecue held at the Riverview Park and Zoo, Monsef issued a statement criticizing both the federal and Ontario Conservatives for cuts to health care and childcare services. Monsef said Scheer and his party voted against Canada child benefits, tax cuts for the middle class, pension programs and the National Housing Strategy and avoids supporting anti-choice and Pride parades.
“This is what Conservative politicians do: They say they’re for the people, but then they cut services for everybody else,” stated Monsef. “Canadians now know better, no matter what they promise today, we know that Conservative politicians will make painful cuts to services that we rely on. Their record shows that Andrew Scheer’s policies are designed to benefit Conservative insiders, the wealthiest, and the most powerful. The middle class can’t afford another Doug Ford.”
Scheer, flanked by Peterborough-Kawartha Conservative candidate Michael Skinner, rebuffed Monsef’s statement, claiming the Conservatives’ policies on childcare will help middle class families.
“That’s completely false – she’s just making stuff up – just like Justin Trudeau does,” Scheer said when asked by Global News Peterborough for reaction.
“They both say things that just aren’t true. They have a problem telling the truth.
“It’s a Conservative principle to provide childcare support directly to parents. To give parents the choice and flexibility. That was our legacy that they’re now trying to take credit for it.
“My policy will put up to $4,000 back in the pockets of moms and dads who are giving up 45 per cent of their income. … It’s real relief and targets people who need it the most. It’s another example of how our policies are going to leave more money in the pockets of Canadians, so they can get ahead.”
Monsef noted the National Housing Strategy will invest $55 billion to create more housing and “lift more Canadians out of poverty and cut homelessness in half.” But Scheer said it’s a plan that’s not working and that affordable housing remains a top issue in Peterborough and many cities.
“What the Liberals have done to make the dream of home ownership fall further away from the reach of so many Canadians has really been unfortunate,” he said.
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Scheer noted the Peterborough-Kawartha riding has a longstanding history as a bellwether riding to reflect the government in power (only four elections have constituents not voted in a member of the governing party). The Conservatives last held the seat from 2006-2015 under former MP Dean Del Mastro.
Monsef defeated Skinner in the 2015 election.
“This is on our list of seats we’re going to work very hard to win it back,” said Scheer. “We aren’t going to take anything for granted. We know many people here are dissatisfied when they see their local MP defending the scandal, the ethics that have gone on – being a spokesperson for Justin Trudeau than her riding.”
Skinner said Scheer is a “strong family man” who brings people together and can lead. He noted the area’s change to Conservative at the provincial level in last fall’s election and predicts the same on Oct. 21.
The prominent entrepreneur and businessman also criticized Monsef for not being more active to help avoid issues such as the tent city of homeless residents which formed this summer in Peterborough after an emergency shelter closed.
“When you’re elected, you’re member of Parliament for Peterborough-Kawartha first and that’s your number one priority,” he said. “If you’re given another portfolio, that’s great. But if you can’t do the job back at home, you should drop back and do the job at home.”
Scheer was in Northumberland-Peterborough South on Tuesday night campaigning with candidate Philip Lawrence in Cobourg and Port Hope.
On Thursday, Monsef took to Twitter to fire off a string of rebuttals against Scheer who said Wednesday “I don’t follow her on Twitter.”
“Which part of your record that I’ve raised, exactly, shows a ‘problem with the truth’?” she tweeted. “Because I’d really like to know where you’re not comfortable being held accountable for your and your party’s record.”
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