MARKHAM, Ont. — The gloves are coming off between the Liberals and the Conservatives over childcare as all party leaders continue their federal election campaign stops Tuesday.
Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau also took another opportunity to criticize Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole, saying the Conservatives would do away with the government’s $10-a-day childcare plan if elected.
Trudeau called out the tax credit proposed to replace the plan by the Conservatives Tuesday morning from Markham, Ontario, a liberal stronghold.
“It is an economic program, it is a program for growth for women entering the workforce for kids to get an opportunity to succeed with early morning childcare. It is exactly the example of how to turn the she-cession and turn it into a she-cover,” he said referencing that women accounted for 53.7 per cent of the employment losses during the pandemic.
“We are going to help all parents immediately, Mr. Trudeau may help some parents five to six years from now and that’s the difference,” O’Toole said on CityNews Ottawa before he headed to Toronto for a rally on Richmond Hill.
NDP leader Jagmeet Singh says that after six years in government, childcare is no cheaper today because of the Liberal government.
“Families cannot afford Justin Trudeau’s fake promises anymore,” he said.
The NDP leader is spending the day in B.C.’s Lower Mainland where he will be officially nominated as the party candidate for the Burnaby South riding, where he is the incumbent.
His party says that job creation is among the top priorities of focus Tuesday.
The Conservatives are making big promises to help small businesses hit hard by the recession as well as families who might not have the means to celebrate this holiday season.
“As prime minister I will implement a month long GST holiday this December. All purchases will be tax-free for a month. This will put $1.5 billion back into Canadian’s pockets,” O’Toole promised.
The GST holiday would make all purchases would be federal tax-free, with the exemption of certain products like cigarettes or alcohol.
The Conservative leader also made the first big spending promise for B.C.’s Lower Mainland. O’Toole is promising that the federal government will step in to fund the Massey Tunnel replacement project.
Meanwhile, mandatory vaccination continues to be a major issue in the federal election campaign.
“If anyone who doesn’t have a legitimate medical reason for not getting vaccinated chooses to not get vaccinated, there will be consequences,” Trudeau said about immunizations for federal employees.
But he didn’t specify what those consequences would be.
Singh is the only party leader to suggest someone could lose their job if they refuse to be vaccinated. He says it’s because he is a strong believer in mandatory vaccinations.
“At the end of the day if someone doesn’t get vaccinated in places where we know that it would put people at risk and it’s vital to get vaccinated, then they would not be able to continue working in those places,” Singh said. He adds that the main reason is that children 11 and under can not be protected against the virus as they cannot get the vaccine yet.
Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole has suggested the Liberals are “covering up” a plan to test and screen public servants and have said they would encourage vaccines in elected.
“We need to use vaccines, they are critical, but in some cases where we can use rapid testing…we need to bring people together,” O’Toole said.
PSAC will continue to play an active role in consultations as the federal government develops its vaccination requirements plan. We will do our utmost to ensure the safety our members while protecting their rights in the workplace – including their right to privacy.
— PSAC-AFPC (@psac_afpc) August 17, 2021
Public Service Alliance of Canada says it does not support action against employees who don’t get vaccinated.
“If there are workers who are unable or unwilling to be vaccinated, the government must temporarily reassign those employees to other duties where possible, or allow for alternate work arrangements such as remote work,” the PSAC said.
Trudeau was later confronted by anti-mask protesters in Aurora, Ont. Protesters yelled that the Liberal Leader should, “be ashamed of yourself” to which Trudeau responded, “please get vaccinated.”
Federal Green Party Leader Annamie Paul remained in Ontario for day three of the campaign.
Paul has spent the first days of the campaign staying close to the city of Toronto, in hopes of winning a seat in the House of Commons.
She spoke on the crisis in Afghanistan from Toronto late Tuesday and called for an emergency debate in Parliament to hold the government to account for its response to what is being done in Afghanistan.
“This is a question of global security, it’s a question of national security, it’s a foreign policy emergency and even with a dissolution of Parliament we do believe that it should be and is legally possible to reconvene it in these exceptional circumstances,” Paul said.
Trudeau has promised that more Canadian planes will be sent to help allies evacuate, and the country is working to get people out.
Singh says it’s horrifying seeing people risking their lives to flee what they know is death or severe persecution in Afghanistan.
“There are people that put their lives at risk in Afghanistan to support Canadian troops and in Canada we have a responsibility in supporting those allies in evacuating,” Singh said.
Bloc Québécois Leader Yves-François Blanchet is spending the day in Quebec, where he will be focusing his campaign on seniors.
With files from The Canadian Press