The English debate got off to a hot and bitter start between front-runners Trudeau and Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer after a question from the audience about how each leader would represent Canada’s values and interests on the international stage.
Scheer immediately attacked Trudeau as a “phoney and a fraud” as he challenged the Liberal leader’s handling of the SNC-Lavalin affair, energy projects, and his economic record. “Justin Trudeau pretends to stand up for Canada,” Scheer said. “He cannot even remember how many times he put blackface on.”
“He’s always wearing a mask,” Scheer continued, pointing to Trudeau’s claims to be an advocate of Indigenous reconciliation, feminism and the middle class.
“You’re a phoney and you’re a fraud and you do not deserve an opportunity to govern this country,” he charged.
The leaders of the progressive parties fought to stake out turf on environmental and everyday concerns of Canadians, while the conservative leaders fought over immigration, pipelines and deficits.
In a second direct challenge between the two main contenders, Scheer turned to attack Trudeau over his failure to present a platform that had been completely costed by the parliamentary budget officer, and over the SNC-Lavalin scandal. Trudeau countered that his platform was costed, and that the Conservatives haven’t presented their entire policy book. On SNC-Lavalin, he said Scheer did not realize the job of a prime minister is to fight for Canadians jobs.
New Democratic Party Leader Jagmeet Singh jumped in: “What we have here is Mr. Trudeau and Mr. Scheer arguing for who’s worse for Canada,” he said.