OTTAWA — Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer has formally launched his election campaign today in Ottawa, reviving attacks on Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau’s handling of the SNC-Lavalin affair.
Scheer went on the offensive in Ottawa after a report in the Globe and Mail that said the RCMP has been examining potential obstruction of justice in the handling of the prosecution of SNC-Lavalin Group, but has been limited by the federal government’s refusal to lift cabinet confidentiality for all witnesses.
Scheer reiterated past criticism that Trudeau has lied to the public, and called on him to waive that confidentiality.
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While emphasizing the Tories’ main campaign slogan of being a party that will help Canadians get ahead, Scheer made clear that attacks on Trudeau’s credibility over his handling of the SNC-Lavalin affair will be central.
“We made the case that he has lost the moral authority to govern. So over the next five weeks or so we’re going to be outlining our vision for the country to put more money back into the pockets of Canadians and let them get ahead,” Scheer said.
Scheer was speaking in Ottawa before setting out for Quebec for a mid-day event ahead of an evening rally in Toronto.
(The Quebec event is scheduled for Trois-Rivieres, between Montreal and Quebec City, but bad weather could force a change of plans.)
Scheer was asked about Bill 21, Quebec’s new secularism legislation, which forbids some public-sector workers from wearing religious symbols on the job.
“I’ve made my views of Bill 21 known. It’s not something that our party would ever consider at the federal level. We will always stand up for the rights of Canadians, and the rights for expression and the rights of freedom of religion,” Scheer said.
Scheer begins the 40-day campaign with polls suggesting the Conservatives are essentially tied with the Liberals and the NDP and Greens are fighting for third.
The Canadian Press