Prime Minister Justin Trudeau slammed Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole Saturday, criticizing his party on issues ranging from Canadian gun laws, abortion and the government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Speaking virtually at the Liberal policy convention Saturday, Trudeau said O’Toole’s Conservative party couldn’t grasp “the real challenges people face,” claiming O’Toole to be “disconnected” over wanting the Canada emergency relief benefit (CERB) to be cut, and being less generous with pandemic relief programs.
Trudeau made the claims during a 20-minute address to thousands of party members on the last day of the convention.
He also railed O’Toole’s Conservatives for thinking of young people as “lazy” while summer jobs disappeared during the pandemic, and for refusing to admit that climate change was real.
“The problem for Erin O’Toole is that he’s not interested in real solutions to real problems,” said Trudeau. “In fact, he’s already shown that he’s willing to say different things to different people at different times if he thinks it will help him get ahead.”
The prime minister also accused the Conservatives of undermining confidence in the government and public health system.
“How disconnected do you have to be to flirt with disinformation on public health and vaccines while a deadly virus takes loved ones, friends, and neighbours?” said Trudeau.
O’Toole previously criticized the federal government’s COVID-19 vaccine rollout, which was initially hampered by delays from vaccine manufacturers. Trudeau said that the “ramp up” in vaccine deployment was starting to bear fruit, however, with over 10 million doses distributed so far and millions more on the way.
“Erin O’Toole’s Conservatives gleefully told Canadians it might be years until they got their shot. The reality is very different,” said Trudeau, later accusing them of “offering falsehoods and division.”
Though later in his speech, he asked Liberals to speak to their neighbours, families and friends regardless of their political views.
“Phone up a friend who has a different perspective, and maybe didn’t vote for us in the past. Perhaps they’re feeling disenchanted. Perhaps they’re feeling left behind because they know climate change is real,” he said.
Conservative delegates previously voted down a resolution on whether “climate change is real,” though the party’s policies already have mention of the subject.
While O’Toole previously promised to allow free votes on conscience issues like abortion, Trudeau slammed the Opposition Leader’s choice to allow free votes on conscience issues — like abortion.
Though in his closing statements, the prime minister called for unity across the country amid pandemic, saying that the “partisanship that’s far too often the norm in Ottawa” is not who Canadians truly are.
“We are people who get that we’re in this together,” Trudeau said. “People who understand that even when we’re doing ok, if our neighbour is struggling, we’re all worse off.”