Main Canadian opposition leader slams PM Trudeau as a fraud in key election debate

OTTAWA (Reuters) – Canada’s principal opposition leader repeatedly attacked Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Monday throughout a pivotal televised debate, calling him a phony and a fraud who didn’t should be re-elected on Oct. 21.

Conservative leader Andrew Scheer and Liberal leader Justin Trudeau gesture to one another as they each reply in the course of the Federal leaders debate in Gatineau, Quebec, Canada October 7, 2019. Justin Tang/Pool by way of REUTERS

Opinion polls present Andrew Scheer’s Conservatives with a actual probability of defeating the ruling Liberals, whose marketing campaign stumbled final month after photographs from years in the past emerged displaying Trudeau in blackface. Trudeau has repeatedly apologized for the pictures.

The two-hour debate – the one one to be held in English, the language spoken by two-thirds of Canada’s 38 million inhabitants – has historically been regarded as an essential method of profitable the minds of voters.

In one of many few actually memorable moments, Scheer famous the Liberal leader had not at first disclosed what number of instances he had placed on darkish make-up.

“He can’t even remember how many times he put blackface on, because the fact of the matter is he’s always wearing a mask,” stated Scheer.

“Mr. Trudeau, you are a phony and you are a fraud and you do not deserve to govern this country.”

The debate format – which grouped six get together leaders on one stage – meant Trudeau couldn’t reply on to the remarks. During the night, members typically talked over each other and have been typically laborious to grasp.

Trudeau got here beneath frequent assault from his rivals and stumbled occasionally over his phrases.

The Liberal leader, turning to face Scheer, accused him of making an attempt to offer tax breaks to Canada’s richest folks.

“You did not answer the question on why you are lowering taxes by C$50,000 for multimillionaires,” Trudeau advised his rival, whom he accuses of harboring an excessive right-wing agenda.

Scheer additionally blasted Trudeau for a watchdog’s ruling that the prime minister and his workforce inappropriately tried to assist a building firm in the predominantly French-speaking province of Quebec keep away from a corruption trial.

“When did you decide that the rules don’t apply to you?” he requested Trudeau.

“The role of a prime minister is to stand up for Canadians’ jobs, to stand up for the public interest, and that is what I’ve done and that is what I will continue to do,” replied Trudeau.

Scheer is going through questions on why he didn’t disclose he has twin Canadian-U.S. citizenship.

One particular person outdoors the debate venue held a signal that learn: “Make Andrew Canadian Again” – a play on the “Make America Great Again” slogan championed by U.S. President Donald Trump.

A Nanos Research ballot for CTV and the Globe and Mail on Monday put the Liberals at 34.three% and the Conservatives at 33.four%, in distinction to surveys that confirmed Trudeau falling behind after the blackface scandal broke on Sept. 18.

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Trudeau has gained momentum since Scheer stumbled by means of a French-language debate on Wednesday. During that occasion, Trudeau went on the offensive in opposition to Scheer.

Quebec accounts for 78 of the 338 seats in the House of Commons. The leaders will even face off in a second French-language debate on Thursday.

Reporting by David Ljunggren and Kelsey Johnson; Additional reporting by Steve Scherer; Editing by Sandra Maler and Peter Cooney

Our Standards:The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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