The federal election officially launched Wednesday with NDP leader Jagmeet Singh receiving wide praise while other campaigns struggled to get their campaign messages to voters.
The NDP leader launched his campaign in London, Ontario where he took no personal swipes at other leaders, but contrasted his policy plan with the Liberal government’s record.
Singh appeared confident in handling media questions, staying firm on his position the Liberals’ arms deal with the Saudi Kingdom should be cancelled and calling Quebec’s Bill 21 “state-sanctioned discrimination.”
In his opening presentation, Singh offered to help Canadians’ affordability with new social programs, including pharamcare and extending medicare to mental health and addictions care. His plans would be funded by new taxes on wealthy Canadians, corporations and high-income earners.
Parliamentary Budget Office report helps Singh’s wealth tax proposal
Singh’s case was helped by a report from the Parliamentary Budget Office, released Tuesday, confirming that Singh’s proposed one per cent tax on fortunes over $20 million would raise almost $10 billion a year that could be invested in health care, housing or other priorities.
The NDP has said their wealth tax would affect about 300,000 Canadians who hold fortunes over $20 million.
Trudeau and Scheer focus on SNC-Lavalin scandal
In contrast to Singh’s clean launch, the Liberal party launch was sideswiped a Globe and Mail story, released Tuesday night, that reported police have been blocked from interviewing senior Liberals about the SNC scandal because of cabinet confidence oaths.
Trudeau may have made matters worse by blaming Cabinet Office for the communications ban, a pivot greeted with gaffaws by those pointing to the prime minister’s power to lift the gag.
Then, later Wednesday night, the Liberal campaign bus swiped the wing of their campaign plane.
Conservative Andrew Scheer’s launch was mostly focused on attacks on Liberal Justin Trudeau, the SNC scandal in particular, offering little focus on policy.
Candidates’ abortion and separatism views sidetrack Green launch
The launch message from Green Party leader Elizabeth May was also crowded out continuing candidate controversies as May’s star Quebec recruit, Pierre Nantel told a radio interview that Quebec should “separate as fast as possible.”
By her Wednesday launch, May had not yet spoken to Nantel, but May told media Nantel “is not a separatist, he’s a strong Quebecer within the context of Canada.”
May has also struggled to explain her party’s position on reproductive choice. May, who is personally anti-abortion but pro-choice, told CBC’s Vassy Kapelos should would not stop a Green MP from voting for laws restricting abortion access.
Shortly after May’s comments were released, a Green Party tweet stated that all Green Party candidates must be pro-choice to run for the party. But that was quickly undermined by a news report that several Green candidates had told Campaign Life Coalition they were anti-choice.