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Controversial Liberal tweet takes spotlight at start of week two of federal election campaign

Last Updated Aug 23, 2021 at 6:37 pm EDT

The main federal party leaders are in central and eastern Canada as the election campaign enters its second full week.

Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau was on the defensive Monday morning at a campaign stop in Halifax over a tweet from Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland.

Twitter flagged the tweet as manipulated media after Freeland posted spliced-together clips of Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole answering a question about private, for-profit options in universal health coverage.

The Liberals claim O’Toole is an advocate for private health care.

“In the middle of a pandemic, Erin O’Toole came out unequivocally in support of private health care,” said Trudeau.

The Conservatives are asking Elections Canada to investigate the tweet as a violation of the Canada Elections Act, arguing the Liberals “intentionally altered and edited content from the original video” in such a way that it “materially misrepresents” their position.

Meanwhile, Trudeau is promising Canadians that if his party is re-elected, a Liberal government would spend billions in the coming years to hire more doctors and nurses. The Liberal leader outlined how much money his government would provide to provinces to make that happen.

“We’re going to eliminate the backlog that has been building for years,” he said.

The Canadian Medical Association estimates about five million Canadians don’t have a primary care physician, or family health-care team, which has spillover effects into other parts of the health-care system.

Trudeau also pledged an extra $6 billion to wrestle down health wait lists.

Meanwhile, the Conservative Leader on Monday returned to the Ottawa hotel where he spent the first several days of the campaign. His announcement was mainly focused on businesses, saying if the Tories form government, they will ensure workers have a greater say over their companies’ operations.

O’Toole also took aim at the Liberals over the Freeland tweet, accusing the party of using American-style politics to divide Canadians.

On the topic of health care, O’Toole refused to specify where he sees more private options in health care, instead saying he respects provincial jurisdiction.

“I 100 per cent support our public and universal health care system,” he said.

Meanwhile, NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh took his campaign to Montreal where he promised his party would identify and eliminate subsidies given to oil and gas companies if the New Democrats formed government.

He pledged to re-direct the subsidies to the renewable energy sector, adding his party is committed to reducing Canada’s greenhouse gas emissions by more than half by 2030.

“We’ll end, once and for all, fossil fuel subsidies. We’ll invest in a renewable future,” Singh said.

Singh also promised to support Indigenous-led programs to advance reconciliation and protect the land, water and forests by providing $500 million in funding to these programs.

The NDP leader also touched on the subject of the controversial tweet, calling it troubling.

“The Liberal Party putting out misinformation, spreading it online, to the point Twitter had to flag it,” he said.