With five days left until the federal election, Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau campaigned on his COVID-19 recovery plan and defended his decision to hold a large indoor rally, while Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole reaffirmed his party’s climate change policy and plans for economic recovery.
At a campaign stop in Halifax, Nova Scotia on Sept. 15, Trudeau reiterated his party’s plan to navigate the country out of the COVID-19 pandemic by investing $25 billion in healthcare over the next five years.
The plan would include hiring 7,500 doctors and nurses, clearing health system backlogs made worse during the pandemic, and expanding mental health services, among other measures.
“The reality is this pandemic highlighted that we need to do more on healthcare,” he said.
Trudeau was questioned by reporters on the Liberal Party’s decision to hold an indoor rally in Brampton, Ontario with several hundred supporters the previous day, despite the area being a COVID-19 hotspot.
Trudeau defended the decision, saying it was in line with “all public health guidelines.”
Trudeau also faced questions on sexual harassment in the military, particularly on why the Liberal government did not carry out its promise of an external review of the allegations of misconduct against former defence chief Jonathan Vance.
Trudeau said it is “not right” that women in the armed forces cannot trust the systems in place to protect them, and pointed out that Lt.-Gen. Jennie Carignan has been appointed to support victims who want to come forward, while retired Supreme Court Justice Louise Arbour has been appointed to undertake a review of sexual misconduct in the military.
“We commit, absolutely, to following full-heartedly on the recommendations that General Carignan, but especially Justice Arbour, have put forward to end discrimination within the military once and for all,” Trudeau said.
Meanwhile, Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole made a stop at Saguenay, Quebec on Sept. 15, where his party won 10 out of the province’s 78 seats in 2019. O’Toole told supporters that his party’s economic recovery plan would “rebuild and rejuvenate” the country.
The plan would include recovering 1 million lost during the pandemic, introduce new anti-corruption laws, implement a country-wide mental health action plan, and balance the budget within a decade, among other measures.
The Conservative Leader also reaffirmed his commitment to implement his “low-carbon personal savings account” policy, aimed at addressing climate change.
“Canada needs to meet our Paris commitments, we need to lower our emissions, have our economy working,” O’Toole said.
“That’s why I launched my plan in April. It’s a very detailed plan to meet our Paris target, and to promote collaboration on a range of issues from pricing carbon to electric vehicles to technology. We need to work together as a country—provinces and the federal government—to meet our targets and have a strong economic recovery.”