As the federal election campaign enters its fifth and final week, the SNC-Lavalin scandal, the Tories’ ousting of a candidate over a controversial tweet, the NDP’s $200 billion in new spending, and the People’s Party’s promise to counter anti-oil “propaganda” were among the top headlines.
At a campaign stop in Vancouver on Sept. 13, Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau announced that if elected, he would make it a criminal offence for an individual to block access to any building providing health services, including hospitals, clinics, pharmacies, abortion clinics, and testing centres.
Trudeau made the announcement the same day protests were scheduled at hospitals in several major cities across Canada to raise concerns about some COVID-19 public health measures, including vaccine passports.
Trudeau said he would also make it a criminal offence for anyone to threaten or intimidate any healthcare practitioner exercising their duties providing medical services. A Liberal government would also protect businesses who require proof-of-vaccination from legal challenges, he said.
Meanwhile, Jody Wilson-Raybould, former justice minister and attorney general of Canada, made allegations about Trudeau and the SNC-Lavalin scandal in a new book to be released this week.
On Sept. 11, the Globe and Mail published an excerpt from “Indian in the Cabinet: Speaking Truth to Power,” in which Wilson-Raybould shares two critical meetings with Trudeau in February 2019, days after the Globe reported that she was facing inappropriate pressure from top Liberals regarding the court case against SNC-Lavalin.
The Quebec engineering giant was facing bribery charges related to contracts in Libya, and the excerpt says Wilson-Raybould believed Trudeau had wanted her to lie to subvert the case. Trudeau denied the accusation during a campaign event in Mississauga on Sept. 11.
“I did not want her to lie,” he said. “I would never do that. I would never ask her that. That is simply not true.”
Conservative Party Leader Erin O’Toole announced Sept.13 that if elected, his party will allow new parents on maternity and parental leave to earn up to $1,000 per month without impacting their benefits, to allow parents to stay connected to the workforce and ease the transition back to work.
On Sept. 12, O’Toole promised to extend EI parental leave for at least eight weeks following the death of a child, which the current benefit system does not provide. His party also pledged to provide eight weeks of paid leave from employment in the event of a stillbirth, and three days of paid bereavement leave in the event of a miscarriage.
On Sept. 10, O’Toole ousted candidate Lisa Robinson in the Toronto riding of Beaches-East York after Liberal candidate Nathaniel Erskine-Smith posted a tweet with screenshots of feeds with her profile photo, one of which contains content of an Islamophobic nature.
Robinson denies the accusation. She said in a Facebook post on Sept. 10 that the feeds posted by Erskine-Smith were “generated by a fake social media account which I reported to police in 2018.”
“Mr. Erskine-Smith shared information today that is false and defamatory. I’ve instructed him to remove his social media post immediately or face legal consequences,” she wrote.
The NDP would commit to $214 billion in new spending over the next five years, according to a costing breakdown of its platform commitments released on Sept. 11.
The plan would include far-ranging social programs like pharmacare and dental care. Party leader Jagmeet Singh has vowed to tax the super-rich and ultra-profitable companies in order to generate $166 billion in revenues to offset the new spending.
In light of hospital protests scheduled on Sept. 13, the NDP reiterated a previous announcement made on Sept. 5 that they would make it a Criminal Code offence to harass or block someone from accessing health care and to make assault on health-care workers an aggravating circumstance in sentencing.
Green Party Leader Annamie Paul held a press conference with local candidates in Prince Edward Island on Sept. 13.
She spoke about her support of universal basic income and legislation such as the Poverty Elimination Strategy Act that seeks to eliminate poverty and homelessness in the province.
Paul also touted the Climate Leadership Act, passed by the province in 2018 in order to adopt an approach to pricing carbon pollution, as the “strongest legislation in Canada to get us to net-zero.”
While campaigning in Mundare, Alberta, on Sept. 12, People’s Party Leader Maxime Bernier announced that, if elected, his government will “counter anti-oil and anti-pipeline propaganda from radical environmentalists and foreign foundations.”
He said under the influence of these actors, capital investments have “collapsed,” and Canada has grown over-dependent on American markets for export, which costs the country billions of foregone revenues yearly. Alberta’s economy has also been negatively impacted with “tens of thousands of jobs disappearing,” he said.
“If oil doesn’t come from Alberta and Saskatchewan, it will come from elsewhere, mostly countries with poor environmental or human rights standards,” Bernier said in a statement. “And if it is not transported by pipelines, it will be transported by rail, a much more dangerous method for both the environment and humans.”
With files from The Canadian Press