Trudeau, Singh make campaign stops as other federal leaders cram for debate

Trudeau, Singh make campaign stops as other federal leaders cram for debate

But those exchanges divided between six leaders, with the time evenly distributed, left 40 seconds each. But the Leaders' Debates Commission found Bernier - once a foreign minister under the Conservatives - had a "legitimate chance" of electing more than one candidate in the election.

It was not a format created to give viewers a chance to take stock of the leaders' vision for Canada. In his opening response, Scheer described Trudeau as "a phoney and a fraud", highlighting his history of blackface costumes, his firing of Jody Wilson-Raybould and Jane Philpott, the SNC Lavalin scandal and his tax policies.

The New Democrats gained some distance between themselves and the Green Party, led by Elizabeth May, in the race for third place in the latest public opinion polls. The rest of the leaders were encouraged to scuffle with Bernier about controversial comments he has made about immigration in Canada and about teen climate activist Greta Thunberg. Green leader, Elizabeth May called Bernier's position "completely appalling and so horrific".

"Mr. Scheer, the responsibility of any prime minister is to stand up for jobs, and what you're saying is you wouldn't have done it", Trudeau said Monday. His best line probably was telling Canadians concerned about climate change; they "do not need to choose behind Mr. Delay and Mr. Deny". Her Green party is hoping to boost its seat count from the two ridings, both in B.C., it held when Parliament dissolved for this election.

When it came time for Scheer to ask a question of any leader on the stage, he dramatically turned to Trudeau, drawing laughs from the crowd assembled at the Canadian Museum of History in Gatineau, Que.

Then, during what was the affordability-focused portion of the debate, May pivoted to Scheer's pledge to cut foreign aid spending by 25 per cent, calling it "short-term, misguided, greedy and selfish".

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Trudeau said the federal government has increased federal child benefits, reduced child poverty and invested in communities, "but we need to have partners at the provincial level willing to invest in kids as well and what these kids don't need is to have a partner at the federal level that is cutting for them as well". He repeated again, and again the accomplishments of the Liberal government and the talked of the work that still must be done.

The most frequent battles of the night were between the current prime minister and the current leader of the opposition-and it started off the top. It accused Doug Ford's conservative government in Ontario of wasting two construction seasons "by putting slogans before substance and by looking for political wins where they should have been working to get shovels in the ground".

A French-language debate among the federal leaders is slated for Thursday.

Given the province's importance, it's hardly surprising that Quebec-related issues like Bill 21 and the SNC-Lavalin controversy dominated large parts of the debate. Rising in the polls, the Bloc is looking to position itself as a major player in the next Parliament and the NDP is hoping to maintain its foothold in Quebec as it looks to overcome awful pre-writ poll numbers in the province. The popularity of the Bloc is going up.

Trudeau was expected to spend much of the night on the defensive, facing attacks on his record from all sides.

While campaigning in Montreal this past week, NDP leader Jagmeet Singh was told by a man to cut off his turban in order to look more like a Canadian. He flew to Toronto right after the debate.

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