Trudeau and Scheer attack Ford and Wynne in battle for Ontario

Liberal leader targets three big conservative rivals in second full week of campaign

Liberal leader Justin Trudeau greets supporters while campaigning Sunday, September 22, 2019 in Brampton, Ontario. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz

Ontario leaders — old and current — were pinned in the crossfire of Justin Trudeau and Andrew Scheer’s battle Monday for the vote-rich province that’s the gateway to federal victory.

Their fight focused in large part on whether a Liberal or a Conservative government would be best suited to work with the provinces to protect Canada’s public health-care system. Over in Atlantic Canada, NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh and Green Leader Elizabeth May also jockeyed over their party’s health-care policies.

Scheer and Trudeau, were trying to plunder a bountiful crop of votes in the densely populated communities around Toronto and the rest of the Golden Horseshoe around the west end of Lake Ontario.

Trudeau fired the first shot, telling Ontario voters not to “double down” on Conservatives after they elected Doug Ford premier in 2018. Trudeau used a new promise of a national pharmacare program to portray Scheer as a faithful Ford follower who won’t defend people’s interests in fighting for better access to doctors, drugs or mental-health counsellors.

Scheer, meanwhile, evoked the vanquished Ontario Liberal premier Kathleen Wynne, and her predecessor Dalton McGuinty, linking Wynne’s political demise to a federal leader he branded corrupt and incapable of telling the truth. Scheer promised to make it cheaper for Canadians to buy homes, pledging to resurrect 30-year mortgages and ease the so-called stress test on mortgages, while accusing Trudeau of digging Canadians deeper into debt.

“The question becomes for Canadians: Who do you want negotiating with Doug Ford when it comes to your health?” Trudeau said.

In the suburban Toronto community of Vaughan, Ont., Scheer deflected questions about his affiliation with Ford by lampooning Trudeau’s focus on other Conservative leaders.

“The real question is: What’s the difference between Kathleen Wynne and Justin Trudeau? The very same people who are the architects of the failed Kathleen Wynne-Dalton McGuinty government that raised taxes, ran massive deficits, mired in scandal and corruption, are now working for Justin Trudeau, and they’re following the same playbook,” said Scheer.

READ MORE: Liberals pitch middle-class savings as second full week of campaign beckons

“So voters in Ontario know that they can limit the damage from Justin Trudeau to one term.”

In Halifax, Singh criticized both his frontrunning opponents, saying only a New Democrat government could help deliver the health care Canadians need.

“Justin Trudeau attacked Harper so viciously but he actually implemented his cuts to health care. And Mr. Scheer is going to keep it going,” Singh said, sparking applause at a town-hall meeting.

The upbeat response allowed Singh to pivot from his uncomfortable debut in neighbouring New Brunswick earlier in the day where he was forced to address criticism that he has forgotten that province by never visiting, amid a summer controversy that saw some NDP candidates switch to the Greens.

“I’m really sorry,” Singh said in Bathurst, N.B. “I’m sorry I didn’t get here earlier. I’m happy to be here. I’m honoured to be here and it’s a beautiful place.”

In Fredericton, May outlined her party’s plan to break down barriers to mental health care, including reducing wait times and putting more money into services in rural and remote areas. “Universal health care is under attack,” she declared.

The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Three years for serial bank robber who hit Sidney branch

Lucas Bradwell was wanted for robberies in Sidney, Abbotsford and Vancouver

Cook Street Village grocery icon closing, new owners plan major renovation

Louie family has operated Oxford Foods and predecessor for five decades at Cook and Oxford streets

PHOTOS: Gallery explores ‘broken promises’ during Japanese Canadian internment in 1940s

‘Broken Promises’ to acknowledge the thousands of Japanese Canadians who faced dispossession

WorkSafeBC investigating death at Victoria Customs House construction site

Prevention officer will ensure all safety issues addressed before work starts again

POLL: Do you agree with the decision to call a provincial election for Oct. 24?

British Columbians will put their social distancing skills to the test when… Continue reading

Rare fish washes onto Whiffin Spit in Sooke

Deep water fish identified as ‘King-of-the-salmon’

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

BC Liberal Leader talks drug addiction in the Lower Mainland

Drug addiction and public safety a top priority says Andrew Wilkinson

Island Corridor Foundation launches survey on importance of Vancouver Island rail

“ICF remains 100 per cent committed to the restoration of full rail service on Vancouver Island”

Island RCMP remind drivers not to text after 19 tickets handed out in 90 minutes

The $368 fines were handed out Tuesday on Norwell Drive and Old Island Highway in Nanaimo

Vanderhoof’s Brian Frenkel takes on top job in tough times

We can get through this, new local government leader says

Local councils important, Horgan says as municipal conference ends

B.C. NDP leader says ‘speed dating’ vital, online or in person

Most Read