OTTAWA – On the last Canada Day before the next election, the main federal party leaders are making campaign-style stops, and where they are visiting may offer early indications of where the various parties look to make gains, or hold on to seats.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau started his day at a community Canada Day event in Ottawa’s Riverside South, which is part of Conservative MP Pierre Poilievre’s Carleton, Ont. riding. Trudeau was joined by the Liberal candidate in that riding, Chris Rodgers, who came second in 2015, losing by just under 2,000 votes.
At the event Trudeau was shaking hands, taking photos and holding babies. “I think it’s really nice that he took the time to come out here,” said attendee and Liberal supporter Kate Moussouni.
After making the rounds the prime minister made his way to Parliament Hill for the major festivities where he spoke to the crowd of some 16,000 people about his government’s achievements over the last four years.
“We can and we must continue to make out country even better,” Trudeau said. “We owe it to Canadians who every day make this country stronger with acts of kindness, courage, and compassion both big and small. I have no doubt that together we can continue to build a country we can all be proud to call home.”
Meanwhile, Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer is spending his day embarking on a cross-Canada mini tour of Liberal-held ridings that prior to the last election were Conservative seats. He started off in Medutic, in New Brunswick, which is part of outgoing Liberal MP TJ Harvey’s Tobique-Mactaquac riding. Harvey is not running again so the Liberals won’t have the advantage of an incumbent campaigning, and according to the party’s website, the Liberals have yet to nominate a candidate.
Scheer had his candidate Richard Bragdon -- who lost to Harvey in 2015 by just under 3,800 votes -- with him at a community breakfast.
Then Scheer attended Toronto Ribfest, in Etobicoke, Ont., an area which is currently divided into three Liberal-held constituencies. He’s ending his day in Kelowna, B.C., which is part of Liberal incumbent Stephen Fuhr’s Kelowna-Lake Country riding.
In an interview with CP24 the federal Conservative leader said that his intention is to celebrate 152 years since Confederation by seeing as much of Canada as he can, and that while his intention was to “leave politics for other days,” “when people bring up issues I’ll certainly be talking to them about our platform ideas to help them get ahead,” Scheer said.
“One of the things we need to celebrate and keep mindful on Canada Day is why people choose Canada, people come to Canada from all over the world because of our freedom… because we are the type of country that people can get ahead… my message is to people is we have to preserve that,” Scheer said.
This echoed the message he had in a video posted on social media and emailed to supporters. “I’m proud of our country, I’m proud of our history… And we should go into the future with our heads held high.”
Taking a more close-to-home approach, NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh is spending his Canada Day in his Burnaby South, B.C. riding -- a seat he fought to win less than six months ago. Singh has plans to visit a festival, parade, and other afternoon and evening celebrations.
“Today we’re celebrating Canada Day and it makes me kind of think about what it means to be Canadian… We’re proud of what we’ve built and I know there’s more things we need to do,” Singh told a Canada Day crowd in his riding, referencing several key NDP policy planks, like pharmacare and reconciliation with Indigenous peoples. “Let’s imagine the Canada we want to build today, and for tomorrow,” Singh said.