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Battleground Ontario: Trudeau, Scheer hope Golden Horseshoe proves lucky

Last Updated Sep 23, 2019 at 5:21 am EDT

Federal party leaders Elizabeth May, Andrew Scheer, Jagmeet Singh and Justin Trudeau. CITYNEWS

Ontario: A place to take a stand, a place to grow your votes.

Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer and Liberal rival Justin Trudeau are each hoping to discover a bountiful crop of support as they focus today’s federal campaign efforts on the densely populated suburbs north of Toronto and the rest of the so-called Golden Horseshoe.

For Trudeau, it’s his second straight day courting suburban family voters; he spent Sunday in Brampton, Ont., promising the picket-fence crowd a big-ticket tax cut worth billions and a 25 per cent reduction in their cellphone bills.

Given the task ahead for Trudeau, who is in Hamilton today, it’s hardly surprising that he’s bringing out the expensive china: the questions about last week’s shocking blackface controversy may have abated, but they have not disappeared, and this week a clearer picture of the extent of the damage is sure to emerge.

Scheer, meanwhile, arrives in the suburban community of Vaughan, Ont., after a visit to Prince Edward Island, where he made a commitment of a  different kind: a pledge to veterans to personally oversee efforts to reset the Conservative party’s relationship with Canada’s ex-soldiers.

NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh and Green Leader Elizabeth May take their undercard battle to Atlantic Canada, where Singh is introducing a new “star candidate” in Bathurst, N.B., before moving on to Halifax; May makes an announcement in Fredericton.

Scheer not only promised to correct a host of the reasons why veterans in Canada are mad at both the Liberals and the Conservatives — clear the benefits backlog, overhaul their hated pension plan, improve transition supports — but he also promised to oversee the efforts himself and enshrine respect for veterans in legislation.

“As prime minister, I will take a personal interest in ensuring the commitments we made today are followed through on,” Scheer said.

On Sunday, Singh continued to make public concern about climate change and natural disasters a priority.

During a stop in Gatineau, Que., Singh pledged to add $2.5 billion to the federal government’s disaster mitigation fund. The idea, he said, is to help people — like those in west Quebec who recently faced severe flooding — avoid disasters and be able to stay in their current homes.

“We can’t just close our eyes” to the prospect of more weather-related disasters, he said.

— With files from Kelly Geraldine Malone and Morgan Lowrie