Many Canadians tuned into the federal leaders debate only to see a crowded stage with everyone arguing over each other. However, the real showdown was between the two front-runners, Justin Trudeau of the Liberal party and Andrew Scheer of the Conservatives. But who came out on top? Below is a breakdown of how the two front-runners squared off against each other.
Given Justin Trudeau’s rocky year, it may seem surprising that he emerged from the debate relatively unscathed. His main target was Conservative leader, Andrew Scheer, who Trudeau continually attacked for his apparent lack of action on climate change. The PM doubled down on his commitment to fighting climate change and reiterated his pledge to plant two billion trees across Canada.
Trudeau also reminded Canadians about his carbon tax which “puts a price on pollution.” The PM spent time talking about his record of lowering taxes for the middle class and “pulling 900,000 Canadians” out of poverty. Trudeau was also taking pride in Canada’s job creation. He claimed, that in his four years as prime minister, Canada had created one million jobs. According to CTV News, Canada gain 1.12 million jobs in four years but this number is misleading.
Canada has been steadily increasing in jobs numbers since the financial crisis. This means that Trudeau is essentially taking credit for something that was happening well before he took office. Another misleading statement came when Mr. Trudeau claimed that Canada was on target to meet and surpass the Paris Agreement. In actuality, Canada is emitting just two per cent less than we were in 2005. In order to meet the Paris Agreement, Canada has to lower emissions levels by 30 per cent by the year 2030, and we are not on track to meet those goals. Trudeau himself has been called a climate hypocrite because of his decision to campaign with two planes, while all other party’s use one plane or none.
Although Trudeau faced fire from all sides, he managed to get his points across even amongst the shouting. So how did his main rival Andrew Scheer preform?
Right from the get go, Conservative leader Scheer was on the attack. In his opening statement he called out Justin Trudeau for his blackface scandal and for his lack of ethics in the SNC Lavalin affair. He called the PM a “phoney and a fraud” and then continued to say that Trudeau was “not fit to govern.” This led to a battle between both front runners, who were more or less just trying discredit one another. Scheer pushed his message of lower taxes and scraping the price on carbon, which he says allows large carbon emitters to get off the hook for up to 90 per cent of their pollution payments. Mr. Scheer also reaffirmed his commitment to reduce foreign-aid spending by 25 per cent and to cut corporate welfare.
Scheer says most of that money would be put towards helping Canadians, but this is a little misleading. The Toronto Star reports that Scheer’s campaign promises will still cost more than these cuts will produce. During the debate the Conservative leader falsely claimed that Justin Trudeau lowered taxes for millionaires. However, the facts tell a different story. A CTV article shows that the Liberals added a fifth tax bracket in 2016 and that millionaires paid less tax because they became more skilled at tax avoidance. Andrew Scheer has also often referred to Trudeau as a hypocrite. Most recently he called the PM a “climate hypocrite” for using two planes during his election campaign. However, just recently it came to light that Scheer holds a dual citizenship to the United States. Scheer also came under fire when he lied about being an insurance broker.
So what was the outcome? After the debate both Scheer and Trudeau are still in a dead heat and with the election less than 2 weeks away, it’s anyone’s guess.
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