TABLE OF CONTENTS
THEME ONE: LEADERSHIP IN CANADA AND THE WORLD
THEME TWO: POLARIZATION, HUMAN RIGHTS, IMMIGRATION
THEME THREE: INDIGENOUS ISSUES
THEME FOUR: AFFORDABILITY AND INCOME SECURITY
THEME FIVE: ENVIRONMENT AND ENERGY
THEME ONE: LEADERSHIP IN CANADA AND THE WORLD
Lisa LaFlamme: Welcome to the 2019 leaders debate. I’m Lisa LaFlamme from CTV News, and I am one of the moderators tonight. Our audience is made up mostly of undecided voters gathered here in the round so they’re right at the heart of this important night. One note, however: we have asked them to hold back their applause throughout the debate so we can keep things moving. And just a couple of more things to know before we get started. We’re going to tackle five major themes tonight based on the questions Canadian voters want asked and debated. There were more than 8000. So the themes tonight reflect those questions. The leaders will answer them based on an order selected in a random draw. We all want a meaningful debate tonight. Viewers want answers, so the leaders have all agreed to respect the time they are allowed tonight. And believe me, we will all make sure they do.
Our first theme is leadership in Canada and the world, and our first question is from Reagan Lee (ph) right here in the audience. Regan.
Question: Good evening, leaders. Sorry. Many Canadians have felt the implications of a divided world, more so than 2015, from US protectionism to Brexit to our growing tensions with China. As Prime Minister, how would you effectively defend both the interests and values of Canadians on the world stage? Thank you.
Lisa LaFlamme: Reagan, thank you for that. And Mr. Trudeau, you are first to respond tonight. You have 45 seconds.
Rt. Hon. Justin Trudeau: Thank you, Reagan, for being here tonight, and thank you all for joining us in this important moment to talk about the future of our country and compare and contrast the various plans that we have.
We know we live in a very challenging time right now, from protectionism to fear-based politics to the transformative technological change people are facing. We need to make sure that Canadians are equipped and tooled to be able to succeed in an uncertain world, and that’s why, over the past four years, we’ve invested directly in Canadians, helped people be optimistic about their future, have the tools to succeed and the tools to see their kids succeed. We know the environment is a massive and pre—pressing challenge, and building a stronger economy for the future means protecting the environment for the future as well. These are the things we’re going to be talking about tonight.
Lisa LaFlamme: Mr. Trudeau, thank you for that. Mr. Bernier, your opportunity to respond.
Hon. Maxime Bernier: Thank you. We are the People’s Party, and we put Canada first. The other leaders on this stage are globalist. They spend your money to buy a seat at the UN Security Council, and also, they are giving your money to other countries to fight climate change in Asia and build roads in Africa. The UN is a dysfunctional organization, and we must be able to fight for our country. Actually, we are the only party that will have a foreign policies that is based on our security and prosperity for our country.
Lisa LaFlamme: Mr. Bernier, thank you. The next opportunity for Mr. Singh to respond.
Jagmeet Singh: Thank you very much, Lisa. Thank you very much, Reagan, for your question. It’s – I know it’s tough to ask questions in front of a big crowd, so thanks for doing that. And thanks to Canada for joining and taking part in this discussion.
To me, leadership is about who you’re fighting for, the choices you make, and whether you’re doing what’s right for people. And whether it comes to international affairs, standing up to Trump, making sure we fight to build better trade agreements that actually put Canadians first, for me, the question really comes down to do you have the courage to stand up to the powerful and wealthy interests, the corporations that are having too much influence of Canada. And I’ve seen so far in Ottawa, whether it’s Liberal or Conservative governments, they haven’t had the courage to stand up and fight for people. We’re different. We’re in it for you. I don’t work for the rich and powerful; I work for people.
Lisa LaFlamme: Mr. Singh, thank you. Mr. Scheer, your opportunity to respond.
Hon. Andrew Scheer: Well, thank you very much. And of course I will always stand up for Canada and Canadians’ interests and promote free trade and defend our interests all around the world. But Justin Trudeau only pretends to stand up for Canada. You know, he’s very good at pretending things. He can’t even remember how many times he put blackface on. Because the fact of the matter is he’s always wearing a mask. He puts on a reconciliation mask and then fires the Attorney General, the first one of Indigenous background. He puts on a feminist mask and then fires two strong female MPs for not going along with his corruption. He puts on a middle class mask and then raises taxes on middle class Canadians. Mr. Trudeau, you are a phoney and you are a fraud, and you do not deserve to govern this country.
Lisa LaFlamme: There will be an opportunity later, during the open debate, to defend each other. First of all, Ms. May, if you’d like to answer mi—Reagan’s question.
Elizabeth May: I would actually like to answer Reagan’s question, in contrast to what we just heard. But I want to start by acknowledging that we’re on the traditional territory of the Algonquin peoples, and, to them, megwitch.
Canada’s role in the world is an enviable one. We have a historic reputation for being an honest broker, for being a country that stands up for multilateralism. We have a commitment as a nation to meet the Sustainable Development Goals, which means our future as a world is built on ending poverty and encouraging the education of women and girls. That’s a cornerstone. On top of that, we really need to renegotiate the World Trade Organization and make it an organization that promotes climate action. We need a World Trade and Climate Organization. We need to support the rule of law and human rights around the world because we are world leaders.
Lisa LaFlamme: Ms. May, thank you. Again, the question: how would you, as Prime Minister, protect Canadian interests and values on this changing world stage. Mr. Blanchet.
Yves-François Blanchet: Prime Minister is a bit unlikely. However, first, good evening, everybody, and thank you for having me in – on behalf of the Bloc Québécois.
Having leadership, or showing leadership, sometimes mean not making mistakes. And arresting the Chief Financil—Financial Officer of Huawei might have been a big mistake, for which farmers growing soya or those doing pork or beef might have paid the price. When you’re facing a powerful foe like China, you don’t try to show biceps if you have only tiny biceps. and this is something that has to be learned. And we would support somebody with real leadership, not making mistakes.
Lisa LaFlamme: Mr. Blanchet, thank you for that. Continuing with our theme, leadership in Canada and the world, it’s now my opportunity to ask a question on behalf of Canadians, again to a leader chosen by a random draw. So this question is for People’s Party Leader Maxime Bernier. Every other leader will then have the opportunity to debate him. But Mr. Bernier, you like to tweet, so let me read some of your tweets back to you. You called diversity in Canada a cult and extreme multiculturalism. You’ve used the words ghetto and tribes to describe newcomers whom you say bring distrust and potential violence. On Greta Thunberg, the 16-year-old climate change activist, you called her, quote, clearly mentally unstable. Are these the words of someone with the character and integrity to lead all Canadians and represent us on the world stage?
Hon. Maxime Bernier: First of all, thanks for the question. You must tell the truth to Canadians if you want to be the leader of this country. And what I’m saying about extreme multiculturalism, it is not the way to build this country. Yes, this country is a diverse country, and we must be proud of that, but we don’t need the legislation like the Multiculturalism Act to tell us who we are. We are a diverse country, and we are proud of that.
What I’m saying, because it’s in line with the immigration, I’m saying that we must have fewer immigrants in this country to be sure for these people to participate in our society. So it is a great country, but it’s time to have a discussion about the immigration. We don’t want our country to be like other countries in Europe, where they have a huge difficulty to integrate their immigrants. And I’m a proud Canadians, and that’s why I love this country, and I’m on – the only leader on this stage who wants to have a discussion about the level of immigration.
Lisa LaFlamme: So we’re definitely going to have a lively debate tonight because now it is Mr. Singh’s opportunity to debate Mr. Bernier on that very question, the temperament required for a good leader.
Jagmeet Singh: I mean, Mr. Bernier, after hearing what was just said, you could have just said hey, man, I messed up. Because those are pretty horrible tweets that you made. And really, for me, I mean, it should come as no surprise to you I believe a leader is not someone who tries to divide people or to pit people against each other. A true leader is someone who tries to find bridges, bringing people together. That’s what a leader does. And a leader works for the people who need help, not helping those at the very top, which we’ve seen with governments in Ottawa for far too long. They’ve been working to make life easier for the multi-billionaires. They get massive corporate tax cuts. Billions of dollars go towards them. We see offshore tax havens continue. This is not the way to build a country.
Jagmeet Singh: The way to build a future is to help Canadians (crosstalk) need help. (Crosstalk).
Hon. Maxime Bernier: (Crosstalk) you want to help – if you want to help Canadians (crosstalk) you won’t be able to help Canadians with your socialist policy. It will –
Jagmeet Singh: It’s not going to help anybody.
Hon. Maxime Bernier: — it will hurt everybody.
Lisa LaFlamme: Mr. Singh.
Jagmeet Singh: It’s not going to help anybody.
Hon. Maxime Bernier: It will hurt everybody. It’s not the way to –
Jagmeet Singh: What you’re going to do is not going to help anybody.
Hon. Maxime Bernier: Weal—wealth and growth in this country. You must believe in people.
Jagmeet Singh: Mr. Bernier —
Hon. Maxime Bernier: You must give back their money in their own pockets.
Jagmeet Singh: Mr. Bernier, you’re not (crosstalk) people. What you’re saying is not helpful.
Lisa LaFlamme: I’m just – I’m just going to remind everyone this is a debate, and the viewers do have a difficult time even hearing anything if you’re talking over each other. So this is a portion where the leaders can debate Mr. Bernier, and it is now the opportunity of Mr. Scheer to debate Mr. Bernier on the question of leadership.
Andrew Scheer: Well, what Mr. Bernier fails to understand is that you can absolutely be proud of Canada’s history, you can be proud of our identity, you can be proud of the things we’ve done and accomplished in the world, while at the same time welcoming people from all around the world. And that is something that has made Canada strong. People come to Canada because of our freedom – our freedom to do what we want —
Hon. Maxime Bernier: Absolutely, Andrew, you’re right. You’re right.
Hon Andrew Scheer: — to be – to – to believe what we want, and freedom of speech.
Hon. Maxime Bernier: And that’s why I want people to come to share our values, our Canadian values.
Hon Andrew Scheer: But you know, this —
Hon. Maxime Bernier: Equality before the law —
Hon Andrew Scheer: — this —
Hon. Maxime Bernier: — equality between man and woman.
Hon Andrew Scheer: But you – this —
Hon. Maxime Bernier: The separation of (crosstalk) —
Hon Andrew Scheer: Mr. Bernier, you have —
Hon. Maxime Bernier: — and the (crosstalk) —
Hon Andrew Scheer: — you have changed – you have changed from someone who used to —
Hon. Maxime Bernier: — who have support it. We want people to come here to share our values —
Hon Andrew Scheer: — believe – who used to believe —
Hon. Maxime Bernier: — (crosstalk).
Lisa LaFlamme: Mr. Bernier, we’ll —
Hon Andrew Scheer: — in an immigration system —
Lisa LaFlamme: — we’ll let Mr. Scheer —
Hon. Maxime Bernier: Yeah.
Lisa LaFlamme: — ask you question.
Hon Andrew Scheer: You have gone from someone who used to believe in a immigration system that was fair, orderly, and compassionate, and now you are making your policy based on –
Hon. Maxime Bernier: No.
Hon Andrew Scheer: — trying to get likes and retweets —
Hon. Maxime Bernier: No.
Hon Andrew Scheer: — from the darkest parts of Twitter.
Hon. Maxime Bernier: Absolutely not.
Hon Andrew Scheer: We can be a country that —
Hon. Maxime Bernier: Absolutely not.
Hon Andrew Scheer: — celebrates the contribution from people from all around the world.
Hon. Maxime Bernier: That’s what I want to do. I want to celebrate what —
Hon Andrew Scheer: It’s important – it’s important —
Hon. Maxime Bernier: — unite us. I don’t want to celebrate (crosstalk) —
Hon Andrew Scheer: You can do that.
Hon. Maxime Bernier: — on diversity.
Hon Andrew Scheer: You can do that without —
Hon. Maxime Bernier: We need to celebrate (crosstalk) —
Hon Andrew Scheer: — insulting people —
Hon. Maxime Bernier: — to celebrate who we are —
Hon Andrew Scheer: — people who have come to this country.
Hon. Maxime Bernier: — and we’re not doing that (crosstalk).
Hon Andrew Scheer: That is the difference between Mr. Bernier and myself on this issue. We believe – we believe in making Canada stronger by welcoming people, adding it to our country, and celebrating the things that have made us great as a nation.
Lisa LaFlamme: Now we’re going to hear from Ms. May and Mr. Bernier, on the same question.
Elizabeth May: As I understand the question, Lisa. It was also about the characteristics of leadership. So let me just say up front I think leadership is service. I think the things that – that make a good Prime Minister is recognizing that we’re public servants. We haven’t won some kind of lotto. We don’t get to lord it over everybody. We’re here as your employee, and we want to work. And I have a little quibble with our introduction tonight saying who will get invited back. It’s not to be invited to go to Parliament; it’s to sign up to work and to be a public service. I believe in service leadership.
That said, I find the things that – that Maxime Bernier has said to be completely appalling, and – and he knows that I feel that way about the things he says in the House. We used to sit together. And generally, when he said anything —
Hon. Maxime Bernier: Elizabeth – Elizabeth –
Elizabeth May: — I’d have to put my head in my hands —
Hon. Maxime Bernier: Elizabeth —
Elizabeth May: — because it was so horrific. But —
Hon. Maxime Bernier: I – I appreciate you, but you know, I don’t share your policies.
Elizabeth May: I knew that.
Hon. Maxime Bernier: I don’t share your socialist policies because, you know, we – we won’t be able to create any wealth with your policies. You have the same kind of policies in socialist countries like Venezuela. That won’t create any wealth.
Elizabeth May: Well —
Hon. Maxime Bernier: You must admit that.
Elizabeth May: No (crosstalk) —
Hon. Maxime Bernier: You will spend —
Elizabeth May: — the climate crisis —
Hon. Maxime Bernier: — $60 billion.
Elizabeth May: — is the single biggest —
Hon. Maxime Bernier: That’s your promises —
Elizabeth May: — economic opportunity —
Hon. Maxime Bernier: — $60 billion (crosstalk) —
Elizabeth May: — in a generation or more.
Hon. Maxime Bernier: — that’s not responsible.
Elizabeth May: And supporting immigration is what we need for this economy.
Hon. Maxime Bernier: And I’m support immigration. I support —
Elizabeth May: I’m proud of the fact that the European Greens —
Hon. Maxime Bernier: You are not (crosstalk) —
Elizabeth May: — are the only party that would grow immigration, and so are we.
Lisa LaFlamme: Thank you, Ms. May. Now it is Mr. Blanchet’s opportunity to debate with Mr. Bernier.
Yves-François Blanchet: How many seconds will we – will you leave me before you jump in? Somebody invoking the truth should not be somebody denying climate change. And the use of socialism seems to come a little bit too easy.
Hon. Maxime Bernier: I don’t deny climate change.
Yves-François Blanchet: Oh, you make —
Hon. Maxime Bernier: I don’t —
Yves-François Blanchet: — ten seconds. (Laughter). Immigration —
Lisa LaFlamme: See? And we worried they wouldn’t pay attention.
Yves-François Blanchet: Immigration is not that much a matter of number; it’s a matter of resources. We invest in it in order to have those persons welcome as well in Canada as they are in Quebec, with our desire for them to share our language, to share some of our values. And if we do have enough resources invested in that, this is workable. And you do not do it by saying or sending the message that they are not welcome —
Hon. Maxime Bernier: No, everybody is —
Yves-François Blanchet: — here in Canada or in Quebec.
Hon. Maxime Bernier: — welcome in – everybody is welcome in this country. And you know, 49 percent of all population believe that we must have fewer immigrants. They’re not racist, they’re not radical. So what you are saying, because I’m in line with the majority of our population, that I’m supposed to be a radical?
Yves-François Blanchet: Did anybody tell you —
Hon. Maxime Bernier: No. We have the right – we have the right in this country —
Yves-François Blanchet: Did anybody tell you that your ancestors —
Hon. Maxime Bernier: — to debate ideas, and that’s what I’m doing.
Yves-François Blanchet: — were immigrants also?
Hon. Maxime Bernier: We have the right —
Yves-François Blanchet: We all are immigrants.
Hon. Maxime Bernier: Absolutely. And we are proud. We are proud Canadians.
Lisa LaFlamme: OK, and the final debate on this subject goes to Mr. Trudeau, to Mr. Bernier: again, the temperament required for a good leader.
Rt. Hon. Justin Trudeau: I think it’s important to recognize that we’re in a world right now where these discussions, this polarization, this fear of the other, has become easy currency for politicians who do want to strike up uncertainty in people’s hearts and lift those anxieties and try to get people to vote against things.
Hon. Maxime Bernier: No.
Rt. Hon. Justin Trudeau: Unfortunately, Mr. Bernier on this stage is playing that role of trying to – to make people more fearful about the migrations that are happening in the world and the opportunities around globalization and our ability to continue to redefine every single day what it is to be Canadian, what it means to be Canadian. And yes, it will evolve.
Hon. Maxime Bernier: Monsieur Trudeau —
Rt. Hon. Justin Trudeau: It will transform itself as we – as we —
Hon. Maxime Bernier: Mr. Trudeau —
Rt. Hon. Justin Trudeau: — take leadership, as we move forward. And the values (crosstalk) —
Hon. Maxime Bernier: You always (crosstalk) —
Rt. Hon. Justin Trudeau: — are universal values (crosstalk) —
Hon. Maxime Bernier: — diversity.
Rt. Hon. Justin Trudeau: — people around the world (crosstalk) —
Hon. Maxime Bernier: We must celebrate our history. We must celebrate who we are. And I’m proud Canadian like you. And you know, we built this country together, and we want this country to be like that in 25 years. We love this country, and it’s not because I want to have a discussion about immigration that I’m a radical.
Rt. Hon. Justin Trudeau: Mr. Bernier —
Hon. Maxime Bernier: Only six percent —
Rt. Hon. Justin Trudeau: — your role on this stage tonight seems to be —
Hon. Maxime Bernier: — only six perc–
Rt. Hon. Justin Trudeau: — to say publicly what Mr. Scheer thinks privately.
Hon. Maxime Bernier: No. Only six percent of our – six percent of Canadians wants more immigration, only six percent. So when you don’t want to have a debate about that, you’re not in line with the population. You just have unask—an unasked debate on that subject.
Lisa LaFlamme: OK. And on that, we want to hear from another Canadian tonight. There are obviously so many layers to the issue of leadership. So this question is coming from Susan Fernando (ph), who asks her question from Calgary. Again –
Question: Hi. I’m Susan Fernando in Calgary. More often than not, the provincial governments and federal government are on different wavelengths, no matter what the political party. Cooperation is key when it comes to issues of pensions, workers’ rights, to education and health care. As Prime Minister, how would you demonstrate strong leadership when working with the provinces and territories?
Lisa LaFlamme: OK, thank you, Susan Fernando from Calgary. Again, based on a random draw, this goes to Mr. Bernier first, and then every other leader will have the chance to answer. Mr. Bernier.
Hon. Maxime Bernier: First of all, I will respect the Constitution. I will respect provinces, and that’s very important. And I won’t interfere in provincial jurisdiction. I won’t interfere in health care because it is a provincial jurisdiction. And you know, we cannot in Ottawa solve the challenges that we’re having for health care. And what we can do, we can transfer the money to the provinces. And what I will do, I will let provinces being able to deal with health care and with education. That’s our Constitution. We’ll transfer the GST so provinces will have the money to deal with that and they will be able to answer to your challenges.
Lisa LaFlamme: Mr. Bernier, thank you. It’s now Mr. Singh’s opportunity to respond to Susan’s question.
Jagmeet Singh: Thank you. I want to thank Susan for the question. Really she’s touched on a lot of concerns that Canadians have. Things are getting harder than ever before, and she touched on a whole host of issues: pensions and – and health care. I want to talk – I want to single in on health care. To me, that’s one of the biggest concerns I hear about when I meet with people across this country. And I think of the people that I meet, you know, the young boy that I met that has a chronic illness and has to pay for – his family has to pay for medication and injections and blood work. And he told me he’s not worried about the illness but he is worried about being a burden to his mom and dad. So that young person, Mr. Trudeau is saying, you know, you’re not worth universal pharmacare, that the big pharmacare companies – the big pharmaceuticals are more important. I want to say to that young person, with a New Democratic government, we will bring in universal pharmacare for all. You would use your health card, not your credit card, for medication.
Lisa LaFlamme: Mr. Singh, thank you. Mr. Scheer, it’s your opportunity now.
Hon Andrew Scheer: Well, Conservatives have always recognized the importance of working with provinces. We respect provincial jurisdiction. But we also understand that it will take federal leadership to get certain things done, like interprovincial free trade, something that Mr. Trudeau has failed to accomplish.
But one thing I can promise voters across the country is that Premiers won’t have to take a Conservative government to court to fight things like the carbon tax. And Mr. Trudeau has imposed his carbon tax on provinces that don’t want to go along with his high-cost scheme. This carbon tax is increasing the cost of everyday essentials like gasoline, home heating, and groceries, and it will only go up after the next election. He is refusing to tell Canadians how high his carbon tax will go if he’s re-elected. The Conservative government under my leadership will scrap the carbon tax.
Lisa LaFlamme: Mr. Scheer, thank you. Ms. May.
Elizabeth May: Yeah, thank you, Susan, for the question. It’s very important. And as Greens, cooperation is in our DNA. None of the problems we solve are going – we face are going to be solved if we keep arguing and fighting with each other, whether it’s within Parliament in our different parties or between the federal government, the provinces and the territories.
The Greens are proposing a reinvigorated form of federalism. Modelled after what has been done in Australia, we want a council of Canadian governments. So the federal government, provincial, territorial, municipal, and the local orders of government need a seat at the table; so too do Indigenous leadership – First Nations, Métis, and Inuit – around the same table, finding common ground on urgent issues like health care, on the climate emergency, and working together in the public interest.
Lisa LaFlamme: OK, Ms. May. Thank you. Mr. Blanchet, your opportunity.
Yves-François Blanchet: Thank you. If I remember well, I’ve seen a study today about – from Mr. Eric Montigny saying that this campaign is not about federal issues but about provincial and Quebec issues. And this is not a surprise. If you want cooperation with provinces or Quebec, you need to respect the jurisdiction. And something that you have to stop doing – and this is one of the demands of the Government of Quebec in many – on many issues – is giving a hand to this – to s—our money being held hostage by the federal government and giving back to us with conditions. The money that has to be given to provinces in their own fields of jurisdiction should be given back without conditions.
Lisa LaFlamme: Mr. Blanchet, thank you. Mr. Trudeau, your opportunity now.
Rt. Hon. Justin Trudeau: In ten years of Stephen Harper’s government, he chose to stop meeting with Premiers in First Ministers’ meetings. And we restarted that when we took office in 2015. We were able to strengthen the CPP for a generation. We were able to sign historic health accords with massive investments in – in home care and in mental health. We were able to invest in infrastructure like housing and public transit across the country, and we continue to work with provinces on renegotiating a NAFTA that in—had everyone playing on one Team Canada.
But yes, with certain provinces right now, we are fighting on the defining issue of our time because Jason Kenney and Doug Ford and other Conservative Premiers don’t want to do anything on climate change. And we need a government in Ottawa that is going to fight them and fight for Canadians on climate change, and that’s exactly what we’re going to do.
Lisa LaFlamme: We will have the open debate coming up very shortly. We are going to switch gears now, though, and give a leader a chance to ask any other leader a question on any topic they choose. Again, the order of this was chosen by random draw. The first leader this time is NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh. Mr. Singh, you have 30 seconds.
Jagmeet Singh: Thank you. My question is to Mr. Trudeau. You know, you talk often about how Conservatives cut taxes for the wealthy and cut education and health care and other services. I’d agree with you, and I’ve heard you say this often. So my question is you criticize Mr. Harper on his climate targets but you failed to achieve them. You criticize Mr. Harper on the fact that he cut health care funding; you also cut them. You criticize Mr. Harper and Conservatives on giving billions to billionaires and corporations, but you gave $14 billion more. My question is this. Why do you keep letting down the people that voted for you?
Rt. Hon. Justin Trudeau: First thing we did was cut taxes for the middle class and raise them for the wealthiest one percent. And on climate change, after ten years of Stephen Harper doing nothing, in just four years we’ve reached three-quarters of the way to our 2030 targets, which we will meet and surpass. But we know that’s not enough. We’re going to continue to do more, like planting two billion trees, like moving forward on giving money up front so people can retrofit their homes, on making Canada net-zero by 2050. We know how important it is to move forward, and right now Mr. Scheer has promised that the first thing he would do is rip up the only real plan to fight climate change that Canada has ever had.
These are the things we’re going to be moving forward on because Canadians expect us to. We lifted 900,000 people out of poverty with our investments in families, with the Canada Child Benefit, and things that actually, Mr. Scheer and Mr. Singh, the NDP voted against. We will continue to invest in families because it’s creating jobs and helping people out of poverty because that’s what Canadians expect, and that’s what we will continue to do.
Lisa LaFlamme: Now the leaders have an opportunity to have the open debate on this question. It’s for four minutes. Mr. Singh, you may begin.
Jagmeet Singh: Thank you. I just wanted to say, I mean, we look at the track record of this government, and in reality Statistics Canada points out in 2017 the wealthiest actually paid less in tax and gained more in wealth. And when we look at one of the biggest problems that we’re faced with as a country is offshore tax havens. Now, not only did your Finance Minister use offshore – offshore tax havens, but also the President —
Rt. Hon. Justin Trudeau: That’s not (crosstalk).
Jagmeet Singh: — of the Treasury Board. She also used offshore tax havens. So how can you tell Canadians we don’t have the money to fund things like universal pharmacare when your top two cabinet ministers don’t pay their fair share?
Rt. Hon. Justin Trudeau: Mr. Scheer, you might remember that – Mr. Singh, you might remember that summer (crosstalk) —
Jagmeet Singh: I’m very (crosstalk) Mr. Scheer.
Rt. Hon. Justin Trudeau: Our – we – you – we had a huge fight with the wealthiest Canadians and the Conservatives when we closed tax loopholes that Mr. Scheer is going to reopen and give tax breaks worth —
Hon Andrew Scheer: So let’s – let’s —
Rt. Hon. Justin Trudeau: — $50,000 —
Hon Andrew Scheer: — let’s dive deep in that.
Rt. Hon. Justin Trudeau: — to the wealthiest Canadians.
Hon Andrew Scheer: You —
Rt. Hon. Justin Trudeau: We’re going to keep moving forward —
Hon Andrew Scheer: — you (crosstalk) —
Rt. Hon. Justin Trudeau: — in a way that invests in Canadians. And that (crosstalk) —
Lisa LaFlamme: Mr. Trudeau, we’ll give Mr. Scheer an opportunity to respond.
Hon Andrew Scheer: You called small business owners tax cheats. You called entrepreneurs who’ve created jobs and opportunities in our society tax cheats, all the while protecting your trust fund and those of your billionaire friends. What we are doing is lowering taxes for all Canadians. We’ve got a universal tax cut —
Rt. Hon. Justin Trudeau: And cutting services.
Hon Andrew Scheer: — that will lower the first bracket that will save (crosstalk) for the average income couple. We are going to bring in —
Lisa LaFlamme: Mr. Bernier —
Hon Andrew Scheer: — tax credits for kids’ sports —
Lisa LaFlamme: — would you like to interject?
Hon. Maxime Bernier: Yes, for sure. What they are doing, they are spending, spending, and spending.
Hon Andrew Scheer: Tax cuts are not spending.
Hon. Maxime Bernier: Everybody here on this stage —
Hon Andrew Scheer: Ta—tax cuts are (crosstalk) —
Lisa LaFlamme: Mr. Scheer.
Hon. Maxime Bernier: Everybody here on this stage –
Hon. Maxime Bernier: — are spending more money. And you know, you cannot create wealth when the government is spending money. You must have the right policies for the entrepreneur, actually. We want the private sector to be able to invest. The private sector works quite well.
Hon Andrew Scheer: That’s why we’re going to undo his tax hikes.
Hon. Maxime Bernier: No, you won’t – you won’t balance the budget. You – nobody will balance the budget —
Hon Andrew Scheer: We’re going to undo his tax hikes.
Hon. Maxime Bernier: I cannot understand —
Lisa LaFlamme: Ms. May, you’d like the opportunity.
Elizabeth May: Thank you. At the beginning of this segment, Mr. Singh pointed out that Mr. Trudeau has not changed the climate targets from those of Mr. Harper. It needs to be said very clearly, and I’m so disappointed because I believed the Liberals in 2015 that they would go with science-based, evidence-based policies. But the target —
Hon Andrew Scheer: Trudeau: not as advertised.
Elizabeth May: — that Mr. Trudeau is saying he will hit by 2030 is a target for losing the fight against climate change because it ignores the science, it ignores the IPCC advice. On this stage tonight, the Green Party’s the only party with a plan, mission possible, that will –
Elizabeth May: — actually protect us –
Jagmeet Singh: You know that’s not true.
Elizabeth May: It is true.
Jagmeet Singh: You know that’s not true.
Elizabeth May: Yours is 38 percent –
Jagmeet Singh: (Crosstalk plan) —
Elizabeth May: — below 2005.
Jagmeet Singh: Our plan is to stay in line – in line with science. Our plan is this.
Elizabeth May: Which science did you find that (crosstalk) target?
Jagmeet Singh: (Crosstalk). Our plan is in line with the IPCC report —
Elizabeth May: Yes.
Jagmeet Singh: It’s going to require the courage to fight big polluters. It’s going to take the courage to stand up to the (crosstalk) lobbyists that Mr. Trudeau has caved in to and the reason why we continue to pay subsidies to the fossil fuel sector.
Rt. Hon. Justin Trudeau: Mr. – Mr. Singh.
Jagmeet Singh: We would immediately end those subsidies —
Rt. Hon. Justin Trudeau: Mr. Singh, Ms. May —
Jagmeet Singh: — if (crosstalk) government.
Rt. Hon. Justin Trudeau: — (crosstalk) the experts are agreed that what a climate plan needs to do is to be ambitious and doable. And of the plans that are forward here on this stage, there’s only one plan that the experts have qualified as both ambitious and doable, and that is the plan that we have begun to put in place over the past four years.
Lisa LaFlamme: (Crosstalk) last word.
Hon Andrew Scheer: Mr. Trudeau’s plan is failing. It is making everything more expensive for hardworking Canadians, and he has granted a massive exemption to the country’s largest emitters.
Rt. Hon. Justin Trudeau: That’s not (crosstalk).
Hon Andrew Scheer: Our plan takes the climate change fight global, recognizing that Canada can do more to fight climate change by exporting our clean technology and helping other countries –
Hon Andrew Scheer: — lower their emissions –
Lisa LaFlamme: And that concludes – that is all the time we have for the open debate. That concludes this segment. (Laughter). You had an opportunity, you’ve got to jump right in. So thank you all very much for the conclusion of that segment.
THEME TWO: POLARIZATION, HUMAN RIGHTS, IMMIGRATION
Althia Raj: Hello. I’m Althia Raj from HuffPost Canada, and the theme of this segment is polarization, human rights, and immigration. And we’ll begin with my question to NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh. Mr. Singh, I want to ask you about Bill 21. Your campaign is about courage, but you have not shown the courage to fight Quebec’s discriminatory law. It bars individuals who, like yourself, wear religious symbols from some provincial employment. If you were Prime Minister, would you stand back and allow another province to discriminate against its citizens? Aren’t you – and, frankly, the other leaders on the stage – putting your own parties’ interests in Quebec ahead of your principles and the equality rights of all citizens? You have a minute to answer.
Jagmeet Singh: Sure. It’s probably pretty obvious to folks that I am obviously against Bill 21. It is something that hurts me, makes me feel sad. I think about all the times I grew up being told that I couldn’t do things because of the way I looked, and I think about all the people in Canada that grow up being told they can’t achieve more because of their identity or who they are. And I think about the people in Quebec right now that are being told, just because they wear hijab, that they can’t be a teacher, or, if they wear a yarmulke, they can’t be a judge, and that’s hurtful and it’s wrong.
And it probably comes as no surprise that I’m opposed to laws that divide people. What I do every single day when I go to Quebec is I say hey, I’m here, I’m someone that believes in fighting climate – the fli—fighting the climate crisis. I’m someone that believes in, firmly and unequivocally, the rights of women, the right of women to choose and to build more access to abortion services. I believe firmly in making sure we tackle the powerful corporations that are – that are influencing government and that are not allowing – that are challenging our ability to ensure that we build services that lift up people.
Althia Raj: Thank you.
Jagmeet Singh: I’m doing that every single day.
Althia Raj: Thank you. Mr. Scheer, you and Mr. Singh may debate this question.
Hon Andrew Scheer: Well, Mr. Singh, I just want to start off by congratulating you on the way that you have handled so many issues around race and identity. As someone who has been the victim of these types of – of racist acts in the past, I certainly believe you have handled it with a lot of class, especially as it relates to some of the scandals that have come out during this campaign.
I believe it’s very important for – for people to understand that, while we will not intervene in this court case as a Conservative government, we do recognize, and the Conservative Party always stands for freedom and equality and individual liberty, and we —
Jagmeet Singh: Mr. Scheer, if I —
Hon Andrew Scheer: — make sure that this does —
Jagmeet Singh: I – I appreciate that.
Hon Andrew Scheer: — and we will not pursue this type of bill —
Jagmeet Singh: I appreciate that.
Hon Andrew Scheer: — at the federal level.
Jagmeet Singh: I want to just touch on – on one of the themes of this discussion is polarization. And while Bill 21 is going to single out people because of the way they look, another thing that’s happening in our country right now is that people are being pit against each other. And what’s happening is people are – who are – can’t find a home, can’t afford their bills, can’t get the medication or health care they need are being told that it’s not the fault of powerful corporations and those who are not paying their fair share, but it’s the fault of new Canadians, it’s the fault of a twelyear—12-year-old refugee or an immigrant who’s breaking his back working 12 hours a day. And that’s why it’s so important for us to tackle economic insecurity if we want to tackle the polarization.
Althia Raj: Thank you, Mr. Scheer and Mr. Singh. Ms. May, you may debate Mr. Singh on this question.
Elizabeth May: Yeah, if – I want to also echo Andrew’s comments because I think that Jagmeet has done, as we all have done through this rather strange period of an election campaign, confronting issues of – of privilege. And anyone with white skin has privilege. But when we look at Bill 21 in Quebec, I think it challenges all of us. Like the NDP, the Green Party opposes Bill 21. And then we’re left with the question of what is the best way for a federal government to protect human rights within Quebec – Quebeckers are fighting this out within Quebec. Quebec groups are going to court to say that Bill 21 discriminates.
Jagmeet Singh: Elizabeth —
Elizabeth May: And as that goes forward —
Jagmeet Singh: — thank you very much.
Elizabeth May: — we are, frankly, looking at a situation where we don’t want to do anything that hurts —
Jagmeet Singh: I understand.
Elizabeth May: — that debate within Quebec.
Jagmeet Singh: I understand. But you know, what I – what I want to also just touch on, while Bill 21 is of course polarizing, on that point, I know you agree with me on this, that we’ve got to tackle those – the powerful corporations that are not paying their fair share, and that’s part of the reason why people aren’t able to earn a good living and part of the reason why people can’t find housing or they can’t get the medication they need, because those at the top aren’t paying their fair share —
Elizabeth May: It’s not even about paying their fair share.
Jagmeet Singh: — (crosstalk) we can’t build in —
Elizabeth May: I think we’ll agree on this —
Jagmeet Singh: — we can’t even build in the services we need.
Elizabeth May: — they have —
Althia Raj: OK, thank you very much.
Elizabeth May: — they have improper access —
Althia Raj: Ms. May, thank you.
Elizabeth May: — (crosstalk).
Althia Raj: Ms. May, thank you. Mr. Blanchet, your turn —
Yves-François Blanchet: Yes.
Althia Raj: — to debate Mr. Singh.
Yves-François Blanchet: With 70 percent —
Jagmeet Singh: I’ll give you more than ten seconds.
Yves-François Blanchet: You’re nice. With 70 percent of the population of Quebec supporting the Bill 21, and 70 percent of the Members of Parliament in Quebec supporting Bill 21, it’s not really a polarization issue in Quebec. That’s the problem. The problem is that – and in English tonight it will be quite clear everybody here has problems with the very idea of, I will say, laïcité because there’s no exact translation for that word in English. Everybody has a problem with it, but say in best of cases that they would tolerate it. But Quebec does not need to be told what to do or what not to do about its own value —
Jagmeet Singh: But Monsieur Blanchet —
Yves-François Blanchet: — nor its language —
Jagmeet Singh: But Monsieur Blanchet —
Yves-François Blanchet: — nor themselves as a nation.
Jagmeet Singh: — this – this is a bill that just says to people, because of the way they look, that they can’t do a job. That’s —
Yves-François Blanchet: You know this is —
Jagmeet Singh: — that’s wrong.
Yves-François Blanchet: — not true.
Jagmeet Singh: And instead – instead of that —
Yves-François Blanchet: Madame, we know this is not true. And your tweet that —
Jagmeet Singh: — instead – instead of that —
Yves-François Blanchet: — that said (crosstalk) —
Jagmeet Singh: — instead of that, Monsieur Blanchet, what we should be doing —
Yves-François Blanchet: — (crosstalk) the way people look was wrong.
Jagmeet Singh: Monsieur – Monsieur Blanchet, instead of what we should be doing is let’s protect women’s rights. Let’s build up more —
Yves-François Blanchet: (Crosstalk) —
Jagmeet Singh: — protections for —
Yves-François Blanchet: — (crosstalk)
Jagmeet Singh: — a woman’s right to choose.
Yves-François Blanchet: — (crosstalk) in the context I used it.
Jagmeet Singh: Let’s – let’s build up more protections for the LGTBQ community. Let’s build up more protections in society to build a society —
Yves-François Blanchet: (Crosstalk) —
Jagmeet Singh: — where is the separation —
Althia Raj: OK, thank you —
Jagmeet Singh: — of church and state.
Althia Raj: — Mr. Blanchet, thank you. Mr. Singh. Mr. Trudeau and Mr. Singh can debate this question.
Rt. Hon. Justin Trudeau: Mr. Singh, you have spoken very eloquently about discrimination and fought against it all your life. And that’s why it’s so surprising to have heard you say, like every other leader on this stage, the federal government under you would not intervene in the kest—question of Bill 21 in Quebec. It’s a question where, yes, it’s awkward politically because, as Mr. Blanchet says, it is very popular. But I am the only one on this stage who has said yes, a federal government might have to intervene on this because the federal government needs to protect minority rights, needs to protect language rights, needs to protect women’s rights —
Jagmeet Singh: Of course.
Rt. Hon. Justin Trudeau: — and needs to do that right across the country. You didn’t say that you would possibly intervene.
Jagmeet Singh: But Mr. Trudeau, I mean —
Rt. Hon. Justin Trudeau: You didn’t even leave the door open —
Jagmeet Singh: — (crosstalk) —
Rt. Hon. Justin Trudeau: — and that’s not (crosstalk).
Jagmeet Singh: Let’s be honest for a second here. Every single day of my life is fighting a bill like Bill 21.
Rt. Hon. Justin Trudeau: So why won’t you —
Jagmeet Singh: Every single day of my life —
Rt. Hon. Justin Trudeau: — fight it if you form government?
Jagmeet Singh: — is – every single day of my life is challenging people who think that you can’t do things because of the way you look. Every single day of my life I channel the frustrations of people who feel that as well, that many people across our country who are told that they can’t achieve what they want because of how they look.
Rt. Hon. Justin Trudeau: So why not act on your —
Jagmeet Singh: I’m running to become Prime Minister of this country —
Rt. Hon. Justin Trudeau: — convictions —
Jagmeet Singh: — and I’m going to Quebec —
Rt. Hon. Justin Trudeau: — and leave the door open —
Jagmeet Singh: — and telling people I want to be your Prime Minister.
Rt. Hon. Justin Trudeau: — to challenging it?
Althia Raj: OK. Thank you, Mr. Trudeau, Mr. Singh. Mr. Bernier, your chance to go head to head with Mr. Singh.
Hon. Maxime Bernier: Yes. About the Bill 21, we must respect the Constitution. And we won’t interfere at the federal level. That’s the decision from the federal – from the provincial government. And that’s what we must do. But also, Mr. Singh, you said that you didn’t want me to be here on the stage to have a discussion with you. So you’re for diversity, but what about diversity of opinion? I have the right to have another opinion about immigration, and I don’t know why you’re not – you – you are a leader and you must be – try to have everybody on your side, but are you believing in free speech —
Jagmeet Singh: Let me answer that question. I can answer that question.
Hon. Maxime Bernier: — are you believing in free speech only when people are saying things that you want to hear?
Jagmeet Singh: You’re asking the question; let me answer it. After a couple of minutes of this debate tonight, I think people can clearly see why I didn’t think you should deserve a platform. The comments that you’re making, the type of things you say – it’s one thing to say that you disagree with somebody, that’s fine, but when you incite hatred —
Hon. Maxime Bernier: No, I don’t. No, I don’t.
Jagmeet Singh: — when you incite division —
Hon. Maxime Bernier: It’s not – you cannot say that.
Jagmeet Singh: — when you saying things (crosstalk) you insult a young girl —
Hon. Maxime Bernier: I just – I just want to have a debate.
Jagmeet Singh: — and ask about her mental stability, it shows a lack of judgment. You don’t deserve a platform, and I’m happy to challenge you on that because your pl—your ideas are hurtful to Canada. I will always work to build unity and bring people together, unlike you —
Hon. Maxime Bernier: (Crosstalk) for people who agree with you.
Althia Raj: OK, thank you very much. Merci, Monsieur Bernier. Thank you, Mr. Singh. Continuing with our theme of polarization, human rights, and immigration, we have people watching this debate right across the country, including a big crowd at the Student Union building at the University of British Columbia. And our next question comes from Paige McDicken (ph), who joins us from Vancouver. Please go ahead, Paige.
Question: Hi, good evening. (Cheers). Hi, good evening. My name is Paige McDicken, and I’m here tonight at UBC but I live in Cold Stream, British Columbia. My question is along the lines of polarization. And to me, Canada feels more divided than ever before. If diversity is our strength but division is weakness, how will your leadership seek to provide a unified vision for Canada, and how will you ensure that all voices across the political spectrum are heard and considered? Thank you.
Althia Raj: Mr. Singh, you may begin. You have 40 seconds.
Jagmeet Singh: Sure. Paige, thank you so much for the question. I appreciate getting a chance to – to chat with you, and thanks for tuning in. When we talk about the divisions that we have in our – in our country, there are a lot of divisions, and – and they’re growing. And I point to a lot of reasons for it: there’s radicalization; there’s – there’s hateful discourse; there’s a climate which allows people to be emboldened. But the other reason why people are being exploited into hating one another is because they’re worried about the future. There’s a lot of people that can’t get the basic things that they need, like housing, like the health care they need, and it’s really the neglect of federal governments that have brought us to this position. And I think the way we tackle a lot of the polarization is making sure people get the basic things they need, like housing —
Althia Raj: Thank you very much —
Jagmeet Singh: — health care —
Althia Raj: — Mr. Singh.
Jagmeet Singh: — and a good job.
Althia Raj: Mr. Scheer, your turn.
Hon Andrew Scheer: Well, it’s very important that we understand why Canada is a country of such diversity. And it is because people come from all over the world to take refuge here, to build a better life here. It is because of our freedom. That is the common ground that everyone who has come here, no matter what generation, no matter from what part of the world, can agree on. And it’s important that we remember that, promote that, and ensure that people who come here embrace that aspect that makes our country so great.
But what is very dangerous is when you have a Prime Minister like Justin Trudeau, who uses legitimate issues like racism and hateful – hateful language to demonize anyone who disagrees with him. Calling people un-Canadian for disagreeing with his failure on the border —
Althia Raj: Thank you very much —
Hon Andrew Scheer: — does more to create —
Althia Raj: — Mr. Scheer. I’m sorry. Ms. May, your turn.
Elizabeth May: Thanks, Paige, and hey to UBC. Thank you. I raise my hands to the Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh territory. We need the kind of leadership that lifts people up, that doesn’t make people feel as if politics is rather disgusting and they’d rather not look at it. We have to restore the idea of real democracy, where every citizen has agency and power to work together. Mission possible for climate action we call all hands on deck. We’re going to need everybody. And to have the kind of democracy that really reflects everyone, we need fair voting. We need to get rad—rid of first past the post because it creates each political party as rival, warring camps, even when the elections are over. We need to —
Althia Raj: Thank you very much —
Elizabeth May: — (crosstalk) democracy.
Althia Raj: — Ms. May. Monsieur Blanchet.
Yves-François Blanchet: Yes. I believe that democracy grows on information. So translating
“voter pour des gens qui vous ressemblent” by “vote for people who look like you” is at best dishonest. May I remind you that in 2011 the exact same phrase was said by Michael Ignatieff and that in 2015 the exact same sentence was said by Thomas Mulcair. So people may recognize themselves into a party —
Althia Raj: Thank you very much, Mr. Blanchet. I’m sorry, you’re out of time. Mr. Trudeau.
Althia Raj: It’s 40 seconds for each leader.
Althia Raj: I’m sorry. It has moved on to 40, sorry. Everybody has the same time. It’s Mr. Trudeau’s time, thank you.
Rt. Hon. Justin Trudeau: Thank you, Paige, for your question. It’s great to see everyone at UBC, one of my alma maters. It’s really important to recognize that, yes, we’re in a time of polarization and differences that get highlighted by the kind of debate going on at this stage and in this campaign about how we’re moving forward.
The reality is Canadians agree on most things. We want to raise our kids in a world that is getting better for them. We want to be able to pay for their futures. We want to be able to retire in comfort. We want to create opportunities for our neighbours as well. This is something that binds Canadians together right around the country. The fact that there is politics of fear and division that is continuing to dominate here underlies what we’re actually doing together –
Althia Raj: Thank you very much Mr. Trudeau. Monsieur Bernier.
Hon. Maxime Bernier: Speaking about immigration it is not polarization. Actually Canada receives more immigrants per capita than any other western country, three times higher than the US, so we must have a discussion about that. It is the equivalent of one Nova Scotia every three years, like the population of Nova Scotia every three years here in Canada. There are for mass immigration. I’m for a sustainable immigration, and that’s why we must have fewer immigrants, a maximum of 150,000 a year, with more economic migrants for our country.
Althia Raj: Thank you very much, Mr. Bernier. We are moving on to a one-on-one format, followed by an open debate. We start with Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer. You may pick any leader of your choice and ask any question of your choosing. (Laughter). You have 30 seconds.
Hon. Andrew Scheer: Mr. Trudeau, you broke ethics laws twice. You interfered in an ongoing criminal court proceeding. You shut down parliamentary investigations into your corruption, and you fired the only two people in your caucus who were speaking out against what you were trying to do just for telling the truth. Tell me, when did you decide that the rules don’t apply to you?
Rt. Hon. Justin Trudeau: Mr. Scheer, the role of a Prime Minister is to stand up for Canadians’ jobs, to stand up for the public interest, and that’s what I’ve done and that’s what I will continue to do every single day. The way I have worked for Canadians is around investing in them, unlike the vision that you’re putting forward of giving tax breaks that help people who are making $400,000 K a year, $400,000 a year more than someone making $40,000 a year. You’re offering a $50,000 tax break, which is more money than most Canadians earn, to the wealthiest Canadians with your plan. Of course we don’t entirely know your plan because you haven’t released your costed platform yet, which I think is a disrespect to every Canadian watching.
Hon. Andrew Scheer: Where is your costed platform?
Rt. Hon. Justin Trudeau: Our costed platform came out two weeks ago.
Althia Raj: Mr. Scheer, you’ll have a chance to rebut.
Rt. Hon. Justin Trudeau: Our platform came out weeks ago and it is work—we worked with the Parliamentary Budget Officer, and we have a vision, but it is a different vision than yours because we’re choosing to invest in people. You’re choosing, just like Doug Ford did, to hide your platform from Canadians and deliver cuts and – cuts to services and cuts to taxes for the wealthiest. That’s not the way to grow the economy.
Althia Raj: Mr. Scheer may begin to rebut, and anybody is free to join him.
Hon. Andrew Scheer: You know you are making things up again. Half of your platform isn’t even costed. You are making announcements without any details and without any numbers and –
Rt. Hon. Justin Trudeau: That is entirely untrue, Mr. Scheer.
Hon. Andrew Scheer: You aren’t telling Canadians how you’re going to pay for it.
Rt. Hon. Justin Trudeau: You’re the one who’s hiding your platform.
Hon. Andrew Scheer: You aren’t telling Canadians how you’re going to pay for it, but we know that taxes will go up under your government if you are re-elected.
Rt. Hon. Justin Trudeau: (Crosstalk) we lowered taxes for the middle class and raised them on the wealthiest one percent, and you voted against that.
Hon. Andrew Scheer: (Crosstalk) you looked Canadians in the eye and you said that the allegations in The Globe and Mail were false. You said Jody Wilson-Raybould never came to you.
Rt. Hon. Justin Trudeau: They were false.
Hon. Andrew Scheer: You said you never put pressure on her. We now know that those were all lies. You have failed to tell the truth in this corruption scandal.
Rt. Hon. Justin Trudeau: Mr. Scheer, the responsibility of any Prime Minister is to stand up for jobs, and what you’re saying is you would have (crosstalk).
Hon. Andrew Scheer: (Crosstalk) the CEO of SNC-Lavalin said they never threatened jobs or (crosstalk).
Jagmeet Singh: What we have here is Mr. Trudeau and Mr. Scheer arguing about who’s worse for Canada. Really we’ve got to start presenting who is going to be best for Canada. (Laughter).
We think about what Canadians are going through, Mr. Scheer, your small tax cuts are not going to help a family that’s struggling with the cost of child care, which costs thousands of dollars a month. Your small taxes aren’t going to help out a family struggling with the cost of medication that can cost of hundreds of dollars a month.
Hon. Andrew Scheer: Canadians are struggling to get by, and we’re going to put more money in their pockets.
Jagmeet Singh: (Crosstalk) what we’re providing is this, a plan to make sure families save money –
Hon. Andrew Scheer: (Crosstalk) $850 with the universal tax credit.
Jagmeet Singh: Let me finish my point here. We’re going to save families money by investing in pharmacare for all, which is going to save families over $500 a month.
Hon. Maxime Bernier: (Crosstalk) pharmacare is a provincial jurisdiction, Mr.
Singh, it’s a provincial jurisdiction.
Jagmeet Singh: We’ll invest in child care – let me finish my point here. We’ll invest in child care, which is going to save families thousands of dollars a month, and we’re going to make sure that those families that earn less than $70,000 get dental care. That’s going to save families at least $1,240 a month.
Hon. Maxime Bernier: Where will you find the money? Where will you find the money?
Jagmeet Singh: This is a Conservative spin. Where we are going to find the money is this. We’re going to ask the wealthiest Canadians, the wealthiest Canadians –
Hon. Maxime Bernier: In our pockets.
Jagmeet Singh: — those who have wealth of over $20 million, those who have fortunes of over $20 million, we’re going to ask them to pay a bit more. Yes, we think they should. That’s only going to apply to a small number of –
Elizabeth May: You know what’s fascinating about this, Jagmeet? You know what’s fascinating about that proposal, because we have the same proposal in our budget. When the Parliamentary Budget Officer reviews them, guess what they find is the single biggest uncertainty when we go for revenues from the wealthiest. They’re worried that they will hire lawyers and avoid paying that tax. If you go look at the Parliamentary Budget Office reviews, people said oh, well, the Green Party is proposing to spend a lot of money, yes, on pharmacare; yes, on child care; abolishing tuition. The weakness, they say, in our revenue sources is that wealthy Canadians will continue to hire lawyers and evade their taxes. I think that’s shocking. I think we need to say to people this is the most beautiful, blessed country on Earth, and if you have wealth you have obligation. You have responsibility. Pay your taxes.
Yves-François Blanchet: If I may I seem to remember that –
Jagmeet Singh: Everyone’s got to contribute their fair share. It makes sense.
Yves-François Blanchet: I seem to remember that Mr. Scheer referred to the SNC-Lavalin scandal. I want to speak for 3,400 innocent people that did nothing wrong. When Mr. Trudeau tried to find a solution, he did it the wrong way and he admitted it. What you are doing, Mr. Scheer, is playing this old card. You’re trading the idea that Quebec is corrupt. Those 3,400 people have done nothing wrong. Now the value of their shares are going down. Employees are leaving. Clients are leaving and we are losing it all because –
Hon. Andrew Scheer: Mr. Blanchet, with all due respect, there is never an excuse for a Prime Minister to interfere in an independent court case. We do not want to live in a country where someone –
Yves-François Blanchet: — (crosstalk) —
Hon. Andrew Scheer: — can abuse the power of their office to reward their friends and punish their enemies, and it is essential that we preserve —
Yves-François Blanchet: — (crosstalk) innocent people pay the price for that.
Hon. Maxime Bernier: I just want to add I knew that I was the only leader who said no corporation is above the law. I was the only one who said that.
Hon. Andrew Scheer: That’s not true.
Elizabeth May: I think I said that too, Max. (Laughter). It may be the only thing on which we agree, that no corporation is above the law, and we need an the inquiry into what went on in the SNC-Lavalin –
Hon. Maxime Bernier: It’s a nice beginning.
Althia Raj: What a wonderful show of unanimity on this wonderful topic. (Laughter). That wraps up this topic and this segment. Thank you very much.
THEME THREE: INDIGENOUS ISSUES
Susan Delacourt: I’m Susan Delacourt from The Toronto Star. Welcome, leaders. I’m moderator for the next theme, which will be Indigenous issues. We’re going to begin this segment, which was also chosen by random draw, with my question to Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer. Here it is. Mr. Scheer, you’ve said that a Conservative government would focus on practical things in its relationship with Canada’s Indigenous people. As you pursue your promised energy corridor, practically speaking, how will you consult, accommodate, and obtain consent from Indigenous peoples? What will you do when your plans come into conflict with Indigenous rights and interests?
Hon. Andrew Scheer: Thank you very much for the question. As someone who has 12 First Nations reserves in his riding, I understand the importance of balancing treaty rights and also the ability for Indigenous Canadians to participate in the economy. That really is the key. What I have said is that a Conservative government will ensure that the proposal for the national energy corridor takes into account Indigenous concerns by ensuring that a cabinet minister is responsible specifically for Indigenous consultations. Unlike the court ruling that found that the current government mishandled the consultations under the TMX pipeline, we will ensure that it is dynamic, that is more than just ticking a box and listening to concerns. It’s actually addressing those concerns. But we have to remember that we have to get to a place in this country where big things can get built again. Duty to consult means that concerns are heard and addressed, but that – also that we find a path to letting things get built in this country
Susan Delacourt: Ms. May.
Elizabeth May: Thank you. I am appalled by the fact that Mr. Scheer has forgotten that there was a duty to consult under the Harper government as well and that they also violated it in the findings of the court, identical to Trans Mountain on the case of Enbridge. The UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples needs to come into force of law in this country. I know you oppose it because of the debate we had at Macleans, but the reality of it is Section 35 of the Constitution already requires consultation, and it does not boil down to we will consult with Indigenous people until we get them to agree with us.
Hon. Andrew Scheer: No, but it also means –
Elizabeth May: It’s about respect nation to nation of Indigenous territorial rights are inherent
Hon. Andrew Scheer: So what does free, prior, and informed consent mean for every single Indigenous community?
Elizabeth May: It means free, prior, informed consent –
Hon. Andrew Scheer: What about the dozens and dozens of Indigenous communities who want these projects to go ahead?
Elizabeth May: Why are you prepared to set aside the decision of the Human Rights Tribunal, to fight it in court just as Mr. Trudeau is, when they actually found as a matter of fact that our government committed acts that were reckless and willful in the violation of the rights of Indigenous children –
Hon. Andrew Scheer: There are dozens of Indigenous communities who want –
Elizabeth May: We must live up to that decision.
Hon. Andrew Scheer: There are dozens of Indigenous communities who want these projects to go ahead because they know that is the key to prosperity on their reserve.
Elizabeth May: The territory is a question of their fishing rights.
Hon. Andrew Scheer: They know that is the way for their young people to get jobs.
Elizabeth May: Territorial rights are inherently local.
Hon. Andrew Scheer: You and others cannot define what free, prior, and informed consent is.
Elizabeth May: I don’t want to argue, I’ll let you talk, but –
Susan Delacourt: Mr. Blanchet, it is now your turn.
Yves-François Blanchet: You say, Mr. Scheer, that you want to respect provinces and Quebec juridiction – jurisdiction, sorry. But when it comes to this pipeline of yours and this corridor énergétique, which translates – the French translation, I’m sorry, in English is pipeline – you don’t fear the idea of expropriating territories belonging to provinces and saying the Constitution – yours, not mine – the Constitution says that I have the right to go through provinces, through Quebec, without their approval.
Hon. Andrew Scheer: Yes (crosstalk).
Yves-François Blanchet: May I remind you that Quebeckers and the Prime Minister of Quebec said clearly that he does not want it.
Hon. Andrew Scheer: So that’s completely false. What we’re talking about here is addressing the environmental concerns and the Indigenous concerns up front, getting that out of the way so that there can be a geographic space where big projects can get built again, including Quebec sharing its hydro electrical energy –
Yves-François Blanchet: Now it belongs to Quebec and then it would not belong to Quebec.
Hon. Andrew Scheer: We`re talking about the regulatory environment around it, and you know as well as I do that Quebeckers purchase a huge percentage of their energy from the United States. I’ve made my choice. I believe Quebeckers should get energy de chez nous, not buying energy from the United States. I’ve made my choice, Mr. Blanchet.
Yves-François Blanchet: (Crosstalk) you have done and Quebec will make his.
Susan Delacourt: Mr. Bernier, I remind you this is about how will we respect Indigenous rights – oh, Mr. Trudeau, sorry.
Rt. Hon. Justin Trudeau: Thank you. We all remember ten years of Stephen Harper, who did not respect Indigenous rights, did not respect Indigenous peoples, and, Mr. Scheer, you’re putting forward exactly the same plan that didn’t just fail Indigenous peoples, didn’t just fail Indigenous communities and their kids, but they also failed to get important energy projects built. We need to keep moving forward in a way that respects Indigenous peoples, respects that there’s going to be a range of views, but is grounded in the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples that you have consistently blocked through your party’s actions. That is not respect for Indigenous peoples.
Perry Bellegarde, the Grand Chief – the head of the Assembly of First Nations, has said that no government has done more for Indigenous peoples than this government, and he’s one of your constituents Mr. Scheer.
Hon. Andrew Scheer: That’s right. He comes from Little Black Bear in my riding. He’s got my phone number.
Rt. Hon. Justin Trudeau: He’d love to talk to you. He asked me to give you a phone call.
Hon. Andrew Scheer: (Crosstalk) I have nothing to learn from Mr. Trudeau, who fired the first Indigenous Attorney General for doing her job. She said she would do politics differently, and you fired her when she did. You want to talk about getting pipelines built? You’ve cancelled two pipelines, and the one you bought you can’t build. You’ve let tens of thousands of people in Alberta and Saskatchewan down, and you have failed to recognize that Indigenous communities are hurt by this –
Rt. Hon. Justin Trudeau: I am accepting the fact that I’m going to be attacked for not building pipelines from some and for building pipelines from others, and the balance we need to take is (crosstalk).
Hon. Andrew Scheer: (Crosstalk) you’re doing nothing.
Susan Delacourt: Mr. Bernier.
Hon. Maxime Bernier: Mr. Scheer, you said that you’re ready for building pipelines all across this country by the private sector, but at the same time you said you know Quebeckers are ready to buy oil and gas from Canada. I agree with that. I agree that Quebeckers know that it’s safer to transport oil and gas by pipelines than by trains. But at the same time, the Quebec government said there is no social acceptability for a pipeline in Quebec. What will be your position on that? Do you think that you’ll be able to use the Constitution, because after consultation, if we don’t have any agreement, we must be able to use the Constitution Section 92.10 to be able to build a pipeline?
When you do that, the federal government will have the full authority, the full jurisdiction to approve pipelines, but what you’re saying you’re for pipelines but you don’t have the courage to use the Constitution to be sure that we’ll have pipelines in this country for the unity of our country and the prosperity of our country.
Hon. Andrew Scheer: That’s just not the case at all. I’ve always said that the federal government must stand up for federal jurisdiction. We respect provincial jurisdiction, and when you’ve got the best idea, I am convinced that I can get support for this project because Quebeckers prefer Canadian energy –
Hon. Maxime Bernier: You don’t have the support in Quebec. You don’t have the support in BC.
Hon. Andrew Scheer: Quebeckers know that it’s better to take energy from western Canada than the tanker after tanker of foreign oil coming up the St. Lawrence or oil and gas coming from Donald Trump’s economy. I know Quebeckers will support this project because it will also allow them to share their hydro electrical power with other provinces as well.
Susan Delacourt: Mr. Singh.
Jagmeet Singh: I want to talk about a recent decision. The Human Rights Tribunal of Canada found that the Harper government and Mr. Trudeau’s government wilfully and recklessly discriminated against Indigenous kids. These are kids that weren’t getting equal funding. There’s a landmark decision that said these kids should get equal funding, and it was received as finally some justice for those kids. Then Mr. Trudeau and his government are going to appeal that decision. He wanted to fight hard to keep SNC-Lavalin out of the courts, but he’s going to drag Indigenous kids to court. That is wrong. How could someone do that? How could someone do that?
Hon. Andrew Scheer: This decision will have massive – huge ramifications for several aspects of the way the federal government provides services to Indigenous Canadians. It also is a very large, significant settlement amount, and I believe when you’re dealing with these types of important public policy issues that it is legitimate to say that it should be reviewed – have a judicial review.
Jagmeet Singh: I disagree of course, but I want to talk about one other issue. We’re talking about Indigenous issues. I went to Grassy Narrows again just recently. We’ve got a community impacted by mercury poisoning, and an Indigenous activist went to a private fundraiser where Mr. Trudeau mocked that Indigenous activist, saying thank you for your donation. Living with mercury poisoning, what kind of Prime Minister does that?
Hon. Andrew Scheer: Because he’s phony.
Jagmeet Singh: Living with mercury poisoning, what kind of Prime Minister does that?
Hon. Andrew Scheer: Because he’s a fraud. I wish I had that answer, but one that doesn’t deserve to be re-elected.
Susan Delacourt: That’s time for this section of the debate. The open debate is over, but we continue on our theme of Indigenous affairs. We have a question from an audience member here in Gatineau, Natasha Beatty. Go ahead, Natasha.
Question: Good evening. As a member of Beausoleil First Nation, my question is this. If elected, how would your parties work with provinces and territories on recognizing and affirming Indigenous rights, specifically noting the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s calls to action, and the calls for justice in the recent Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls Inquiry? Megwitch.
Susan Delacourt: The leaders will all have a chance to answer this question – thank you, Natasha – starting with Mr. Scheer.
Hon. Andrew Scheer: Thank you very much for the question. Of course there’s a lot there for just 40 seconds. There are many areas in the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women report that Conservatives have been calling for for quite a while, including combating human trafficking, something that is very important. Also, we support preserving Indigenous languages by ensuring that the federal government does what it can to prevent some of these languages that are at risk of being lost, to preserve them. When we’re talking about the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, we need to remember that when you talk about free, prior, and informed consent, that leaves a great deal of uncertainty about what that means. There are large numbers of Indigenous communities who want these energy projects to succeed, and we need certainty and clarity around that.
Susan Delacourt: Alright. We will now go to Ms. May.
Elizabeth May: Natasha, megwitch. It’s an extremely important question, and Greens across the country are united in this. We will honour the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. It must be brought into law in this country, and our existing web of laws and regulations, which were properly described by the Inquiry on Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women as constituting structural violence, must be reviewed and brought up to the standard of the UN Declaration. We must bring in the recommendations of the Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls and the calls to action of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. It is not a short-term project. It is on us as settler Canadians to bring justice.
Susan Delacourt: Monsieur Blanchet.
Yves-François Blanchet: We also support the Declaration of the United Nations on the Rights of Indigenous People. I do believe and I’ve spent the most beautiful moments of this campaign with people from the First Nations. They are nations as well as Canada is a nation and Quebec is a nation. A nation does not put its culture, its language, its heritage in the hands of another nation. So what they ask for – and they have to ask because we are no better than they are to represent themselves – is that all those reports and inquiries and declarations bring something real and respectful for them.
Susan Delacourt: Mr. Trudeau.
Rt. Hon. Justin Trudeau: Thank you, Natasha, for your question. We have moved forward on reconciliation in ways that no previous government has been able to, but I am the first to recognize there is much more to do. We lifted 87 long-term boiled water advisories and we are on track to lifting 50 more, but we are continuing to invest in communities.
On the issue of child and family services, we recognize the tribunal’s ruling that says that children need to be compensated, and we will be compensating them. But we’ve also moved forward to end the tragedies by moving forward on legislation that keeps kids in care in their communities with their language, with their culture.
We also want to move forward with Grassy Narrows, with the community, on a treatment centre, and money is not the objection to investing in what they need in that treatment centre.
Susan Delacourt: Thank you. Mr. Bernier.
Hon. Maxime Bernier: No other leader is ready to build a new relationship with our First Nations. They all support the status quo, but the system is broken. We still have extreme poverty on reserve. We need a bold reform, and we are the only party that will try to implement property rights on reserve and also establish a new relationship based on self-reliance for these communities. We need to build a new system, working with them, but that’s not what they want because we cannot fix the system right now if we don’t do a bold reform, and we are ready for that.
Susan Delacourt: Mr. Singh.
Jagmeet Singh: (Off microphone) thank you so much for your question. Really it’s a matter of respect and dignity. All of the issues that you’ve raised come down to that basic question of respect and dignity. One of the first things we would do, we wouldn’t take Indigenous kids to court and challenge a decision that says they were wilfully and recklessly discriminated against. We wouldn’t do that. We would immediately address issues of justice. That means implementing all the recommendations from the reports that are so powerful and have a guideline towards solving the problems. We’d make sure there’s clean drinking water. I don’t accept any excuses why we can’t in 2019. We’d make sure that we implement clean housing, good quality housing and education and welfare services. We can do these things.
Susan Delacourt: Thank you. So now we have time for another leader-to-leader debate on any topic. Leading this one off will be Green Party Leader Elizabeth May. Elizabeth May, you have, I believe, one minute.
Elizabeth May: Thank you, Susan. My question is to Justin Trudeau. Picking up from this very fractious discussion on Indigenous issues, but let’s face it, right now Indigenous peoples, the Assembly of First Nations are telling us their number one concern is the climate emergency. We need to focus on real solutions. It’s not good enough to have better rhetoric than Mr. Scheer, with all respect to Mr. Singh. It’s not about rhetoric. It’s about a target that’s grounded in science and to do with 60 percent reductions by 2030, not Mr. Singh’s 38 percent, not your 30 percent. Will you, Mr. Trudeau, join with all of us in an inner cabinet that gets rid of the partisanship and says after this election we move to protect our children’s future together?
Susan Delacourt: Mr. Trudeau. Mr. Trudeau, your answer.
Rt. Hon. Justin Trudeau: We recognize that targets are important, and we’re going to be surpassing the targets we inherited, but targets are not a plan. We have a real plan that has delivered over the past four years on our way to banning single-use plastics, on putting a price on pollution right across the money – the country – in a way that returns money to Canadians, that actually makes, unlike what Mr. Scheer is saying, most Canadians better off, 80 percent of Canadians better off, with a price on pollution than they will be when he rips up our climate change if he were to form government after this election.
We will continue to do the things that need to be done and bring Canadians along with it. Our plan is realistic and ambitious and doable. That is what Canadians need because the danger of not acting on the environment is tremendous. The danger of not having a plan for our future, either the environment or the economy, is going to be borne by our kids.
Susan Delacourt: Ms. May, you may now begin open debate. There is three minutes and forty-five seconds.
Elizabeth May: The science is clear. Your target is a commitment to failure. That’s why it’s so doable and achievable, because it doesn’t do what the IPCC says we must do. We must go off fossil fuels as quickly as possible, and you bought a pipeline. You can’t be a climate leader and spend ten to $13 billion more on a project that by itself blows through our carbon budget. We have to –
Rt. Hon. Justin Trudeau: A slogan is not a plan, Ms. May.
Elizabeth May: No, we have a plan, get rid of fossil –
Rt. Hon. Justin Trudeau: A slogan is not a plan. It is an unrealizable plan. Canadians need that action –
Elizabeth May: Not, it has been assessed by (crosstalk) —
Rt. Hon. Justin Trudeau: — that is going to actually make us better, fight climate change, protect the environment, and build a stronger economy for our kids. We have done more over the past four years than any government in the history of Canada –
Elizabeth May: No, that’s not true. Paul Martin did more, but that’s alright. No one remembers the Paul Martin plan in 2005. It was better. But the reality is if you have a fire —
Rt. Hon. Justin Trudeau: There’s much more to do. There’s much more to do. He didn’t deliver on that plan. Over the past four years we delivered on it.
Elizabeth May: If you have a fire in a four-storey building, getting a one-storey ladder doesn’t do it.
Susan Delacourt: Can we get some other leaders in there? Mr. Scheer.
Hon. Andrew Scheer: That is completely false, and just because you say something over and over and over again doesn’t make it true. There is no Canadian –
Rt. Hon. Justin Trudeau: It would be nice for you to learn that, Mr. Scheer. (Laughter).
Hon. Andrew Scheer: There is no Canadian that believes they’re going to be better off by paying a carbon tax. You have given a massive exemption to the country’s largest polluters, and your plan is already failing.
Rt. Hon. Justin Trudeau: The economists, the experts, the Parliamentary Budget Officer points out 80 percent of Canadians are better off under our climate incentive.
Hon. Andrew Scheer: (Crosstalk) because he had to trust the numbers you gave him. Nobody believes your numbers, Justin, because you have this –
Susan Delacourt: One at a time. Mr. Singh and Mr. Bernier.
Jagmeet Singh: I want to say this directly to Canadians. You do not need to choose between Mr. Delay and Mr. Deny. There is another option. (Laughter). There is another option out there. We are committed to a real plan that’s going to take on the biggest polluters. It’s going to take on the powerful interests because that’s what we need to do. If we want to build a better future, it’s going to mean taking on the powerful.
Elizabeth May: What is your target?
Jagmeet Singh: That means we’re going to have to cut our emissions by half.
Elizabeth May: You can take on the powerful, but you need to have a plan that is rooted in the target that saves our kids’ future.
Jagmeet Singh: It means we’re going to have to reduce our emissions by more than half. You’ve got to take on the powerful at the top. We’re prepared to do that.
Hon. Maxime Bernier: I just want to say (crosstalk). People must know that, Mr. Scheer and Mr. Trudeau, you’re the same on climate change.
Hon. Andrew Scheer: That’s false.
Hon. Maxime Bernier: You want to impose a carbon tax on Canadians and you want to impose more costly –
Rt. Hon. Justin Trudeau: I think that’s the most offensive thing you’ve said all night, Max, that we’re the same on climate change.
Hon. Maxime Bernier: You want to impose also a big tax on the big emitters, so you’re the same on climate change and you won’t be able to achieve your target.
Yves-Francois Blanchet: (Crosstalk) I’d like a few seconds with Mrs. May, please. I think you and I have to find some common grounds when we get into that House of Commons –
Elizabeth May: I don’t think it will be on JNL Quebec and the fact that you’re supporting a project that blows through more of the carbon budget against the will of many Quebeckers and threatens the St. Lawrence River.
Yves-Francois Blanchet: This is not what I had in mind, and I have provided answers to that. I think the goal should be down to almost nothing, not 30 percent, not 60 percent, almost nothing. What do you think about this idea of an equalization based on gas emissions? Those who are over the average emissions of Canada pay, and those who are under the average emissions get the money. The (inaudible) is for both parts.
Elizabeth May: What we have to do is work together. And with all due respect, that was the question I asked Mr. Trudeau. Are any of you prepared to accept the notion of changing status quo decision making so we form an internal cabinet based on (crosstalk)?
Yves-Francois Blanchet: (Crosstalk) does not help.
Susan Delacourt: Ladies and gentlemen, that’s all the time we have. That concludes this round. Thank you very much, and on to the next one.
THEME FOUR: AFFORDABILITY AND INCOME SECURITY
Dawna Friesen: Hello. I’m Dawna Friesen from Global News, and I’m moderating this segment on affordability and income security. Before I begin, I just want to say you’ve all been very vigorous in your debate. Some of your comments have gone a little long, so we’re going to have to trim a bit in terms of time, but we will make sure that we keep those trims fair and equal.
On this topic, Ms. May, I have a question to you. Canadians are carrying $2 trillion of household debt. That means the average Canadian owes about $1.79 for every dollar of income he or she earns per year after taxes. It’s never been this high. We are borrowing to live, something my parents told me was a terrible idea. You have made a bold promise to balance the federal budget in five years. How do you do that without causing more financial pain for Canadians and putting people further into debt? What’s the single biggest thing in your policy, in your platform, that will reduce household debt?
Elizabeth May: Thank you for the question. I’m very pleased that we are the party standing on stage today that has a full platform, has the budget numbers publicly accessible and approved as a budget that passes muster by Kevin Page and the Institute for Fiscal Studies and Democracy.
The way to bring more public service, to bring more help to Canadians, child care, banning tuition, investing in post-secondary education, pharmacare, dental programs for low-income Canadians, all things that make life more affordable, is not to have cuts but to go after places where there is revenue, offshore money that’s being hidden, a financial transaction tax, going after one percent tax on people who have more than $20 million in wealth, and a series of moves to increase the revenue coming into the Government of Canada. That is all of course based on the current economic situation. If we hit a recession, we would not slavishly or ideologically balance the books, but right now we think we’ll have a balanced budget in five years.
Dawna Friesen: Mr. Blanchet, your opportunity to debate Ms. May on this topic.
Yves-Francois Blanchet: It is really a bad idea to borrow to live. It is a no better idea to cut too strongly into services to people that mainly need it. What about the idea of cutting all subsidies to oil, as we propose to do, bringing a law on the floor about that? How about this idea we have, this green equalization, which brings money to the government? How about cutting into those foreign tax shelters, including the two new ones created by Mr. Trudeau? What about taxing and perceiving taxes from those giants on the web that steal the money from our advertizing companies?
Elizabeth May: D’accord. In our platform we call for taxes on the e-commerce companies, the virtuals, the Amazons and the Googles and the Facebooks that mine billions of dollars out of this country and pay virtually no tax. We agree with you, we have to cut all fossil fuel subsidies. As a matter of fact, that was a promise made by Mr. Harper in 2009, by Mr. Trudeau in 2015, but they’ve increased because we’re subsidizing LNG, which I’d like to hear you answer where you are on JNL Quebec. We need to get rid of fossil fuels, and right now we’re still giving public funds to pipelines.
Yves-Francois Blanchet: You know what, I was the Minister responsible for the –
Dawna Friesen: I’m going to move you on, I’m sorry. Mr. Trudeau, your chance to debate Ms. May on household debt.
Rt. Hon. Justin Trudeau: We made a very different decision that Stephen Harper had in the previous ten years when we decided to invest in Canadians instead. That decision to invest in the middle class and people working hard to join it lifted 900,000 people out of poverty, including 300,000 kids. We gave more support for students going to school; we made more supports for seniors, and what that has done has actually grown our economy, more than a million new jobs created, most of them full time, over the past four years at the same time as we have reduced poverty, exceeding any targets that we had even set forward.
Elizabeth May: Can I –
Rt. Hon. Justin Trudeau: We’ve done that in a way that is responsible. The international (crosstalk).
Elizabeth May: This is a 40-second debate with eight seconds left for me.
Dawna Friesen: Ms. May, Ms. May.
Elizabeth May: Can I respond?
Dawna Friesen: Let’s give the floor to Ms. May.
Elizabeth May: The concern I have about all these debates, by the way, and I’m sure a number of other leaders on stage share it, we don’t have any section on health costs or health care in the course of two debates. I want to turn this to the affordability issue and how much more affordable life would be for Canadians with full, universal, single-payer pharmacare. It’s in our platform, it’s partially in yours. It’s in Mr. Singh’s. We need to deliver health care.
Rt. Hon. Justin Trudeau: We’ve actually taken concrete actions towards that.
Elizabeth May: But where is the national health accord?
Rt. Hon. Justin Trudeau: Lowering health prices, lowering prices for (crosstalk).
Elizabeth May: Are you prepared to accept Eric Hoskins’ recommendation for universal, single-payer health care?
Rt. Hon. Justin Trudeau: We have, we have accepted —
Dawna Friesen: I’m afraid time’s up for you. Mr. Bernier, your chance to debate Ms. May on household debt.
Hon. Maxime Bernier: Absolutely. I look at your platform, Elizabeth, and you know you will spend $60 billion. Spending won’t create any wealth. You cannot spend your way to prosperity. We need to have more private sector investment, and at the end you know that our national credit card is full. We still have a deficit, and Mr. Trudeau just added $70 billion on our debt, and you’ll add another $60 billion on our debt. It is not responsible. Our children will have to pay for that.
Elizabeth May: But you have your famous private sector having got massive tax cuts when you were in Mr. Harper’s cabinet based on being told these were the job creators and it would be great when they got tax cuts. They have not invested in the economy. They’re sitting on piles of cash. Mark Carney calls it the dead money. We need to get that money and do public sector infrastructure investments, like a national grid that will bring renewable energy from one part of the country to the other, no pipelines by the way, but we need an electricity grid that serves the needs of every province and every Canadian.
Hon. Maxime Bernier: What I like from you, Elizabeth, you don’t want any subsidies to the oil and gas industry, and I don’t believe in corporate subsidies, also in corporate welfare, so we can agree on that.
Dawna Friesen: Alright, let’s move on to Mr. Singh, your opportunity.
Jagmeet Singh: Thank you. Ms. May, I actually really appreciate that you wanted to shift the discussion towards health care. I think it’s one of the biggest concerns that families have. When we look at Canadians across this country, they can’t get the medication they need. They can’t get the dental care they need. They’re struggling. I met a woman in my office in Burnaby who was covering up her mouth because she was embarrassed she had lost her teeth because she couldn’t get the care she needed. That, to me, is heartbreaking in a country as wealthy as ours. I know, Ms. May, you’re prepared to do this, but the problem is Mr. Trudeau does not have the courage to take on the insurance and the pharmaceutical lobbyists that don’t want this to happen.
I’m going to make it happen. If you vote New Democrats, we’re going to make sure we make these things happen because we don’t work for the powerful and wealthy. We don’t meet with pharmaceutical companies and then listen to them. We work for you. We work for Canadians. We’re going to deliver on these things.
Elizabeth May: We have to have – I hope you’ll agree with me that we need to renegotiate a new health accord. It’s been left alone for too long. We need to get back at the table. The constituents in my riding – I just did eight debates with the local candidates in my riding.
By the way, all of you guys can be proud, except for your Mr. Blanchet, all of you can be proud of the candidates you have running locally because I’ve been in eight debates with them in the last week. One thing we heard from every constituent in every town hall meeting is we are suffering from a lack of family doctors. We need an investment in our health care. The wheels are falling off the bus. We need to invest.
Jagmeet Singh: Mr. Trudeau has continued the same cuts brought in by the Conservatives.
Dawna Friesen: Mr. Scheer, your opportunity.
Hon. Andrew Scheer: The question was about affordability and household debt, and the entire theme of our platform is leaving more money in the pockets of Canadians so they can get ahead. It’s time for Canadians to have a break. Our universal tax cut will mean $850 in the pocket of a hardworking, average-income Canadian. We’re going to bring back the children’s fitness tax credit to make raising children more affordable. We’re going to bring back the green public transit credit to make taking the bus or the train more affordable as well. We’re going to help fight climate change by bringing in the green home renovation tax credit, which will put money in the pockets of Canadians and help lower emissions, and we’re going to pay for that –
Elizabeth May: It won’t lower emissions. It will cause them to go through the roof.
Hon. Andrew Scheer: The way we’re going to pay for those is by cutting corporate welfare and reducing Canada’s foreign aid budget by 25 percent. We’re going to stop sending money to the relatively well-off countries. We’re going to bring that money back home so that Canadians can get ahead.
Elizabeth May: Mr. Scheer, that may be the worst idea in your whole non-platform is the cutting of foreign aid. I wear this little pin. This is the Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations, to which this country is committed.
Hon. Andrew Scheer: I believe it’s time for Canadians to get a break.
Elizabeth May: Ending poverty within the next decade within Canada and globally is actually possible, but not if we ever have the misfortune of having your short-term, misguided, greedy and selfish policies.
Hon. Andrew Scheer: I believe we should take that money and bring it back home so that Canadians can get ahead. It’s not greedy to put money in the pockets of Canadians, Ms. May. I fundamentally disagree with you.
Elizabeth May: It destabilizes the world, what you’re proposing.
Dawna Friesen: We’re going to stop you there so that we can hear from another Canadian, please, on the theme of affordability. One of the many places Canadians are watching tonight is in Yellowknife, Northwest Territories. Here is the scene at the Copper House Restaurant, and earlier we heard a question on affordability from Scott Marsden.
Question: I’m Scott Marsden from Yellowknife. My question is what is your government going to do about the growing crisis of income inequality and affordability in Canada.
Dawna Friesen: Ms. May, first to you.
Elizabeth May: I’ve been in that restaurant. Hello, Yellowknife. Good to see you again. Look, we must act for income equality. We need to look at the fact that, over the years, the gap between the various wealthy, wealthiest Canadians and the average Canadians is continuing to expand. We’re calling for a tax commission. We haven’t had a proper tax commission since the 1960s to examine our tax code to see if it’s still progressive, to find out if all these corporate boutique tax cuts that have piled up over one after the other after successive governments is taking money away from those Canadians who need it most and allowing those who really have massive income to continue, as many Auditor Generals have found, to be treated by Canadian Revenue Agency as if they have special status and don’t have to pay their taxes.
Dawna Friesen: Ms. May, thank you. Mr. Blanchet.
Yves-François Blanchet: First, I must say that if saying untrue things at the end of time is your way to do things, collaboration might be done already. However, about the issue, if the federal government was to respect jurisdiction of provinces, it would take less time, it would take less time, it would cost less money, and provinces and Québec could do what they have to do about health care, bringing the money that is owed to Québec and provinces. This is what has to be done. Lodging (ph) the buney—the money should be given to provinces and Québec because it is mostly, if not only, their jurisdiction that helps people.
Dawna Friesen: Mr. Trudeau, to you. The question is about income inequality and what you would do.
Rt. Hon. Justin Trudeau: We recognize that we need to help people more directly. That’s why the first thing we did was lower taxes for the middle class and raised them on the wealthiest one percent. We’re moving again forward with a tax break for low- and middle-income Canadians and nothing for the wealthiest, unlike Mr. Scheer’s universal tax credit. We’re also moving forward by increasing the Canada Child Benefit, which has lifted hundreds of thousands of families out of poverty, by 15 percent for kids under one. We’re increasing the Old Age Security for seniors over 75. We’re making sure that students have an easier time paying back their student debts by not having to pay back until they’re making $35,000 a year. We’re investing in Canadians.
Dawna Friesen: Mr. Trudeau, thank you. Mr. Bernier, your turn.
Hon. Maxime Bernier: First of all, I think it is important to be able to have a discussion about what is important for Canadians. We are the only party that will balance the budget in two years. All the other parties on the stage will spend and spend and spend. That is not a solution. The credit card is full. But we will do that without cutting services. We will cut corporate welfare, all the corporate welfare; $5 billion that we can save there. All these political parties, the only promise that they do to, they do everything to get your votes. I’m promise you [sic] to do nothing except balancing the budget and after that, lower your taxes. That’s the only responsible policy.
Dawna Friesen: Mr. Bernier, thanks. Mr. Singh, to you.
Jagmeet Singh: I want to thank Scott for the question. Income inequality is massive. There’s also massive wealth inequality. And these are not just esoteric academic discussions. When those at the very top do not pay their fair share, when 87 families in Canada have the combined wealth of three provinces, it hurts families. It means we don’t have the funds to invest in health care. It means we don’t have the money to invest in things like dental care. So while Mr. Trudeau likes to talk a nice game, and I admit he says nice words, but what he’s done is he’s given $14 billion to the richest corporations to buy private jets and limousines in the last Fall Economic Statement. We would instead invest in people, ask the super wealthy to pay their fair share and invest in programs to relieve the costs on families.
Dawna Friesen: Mr. Singh, thank you. Mr. Scheer, your turn on income inequality.
Hon. Andrew Scheer: Well, actually, Mr. Trudeau has his facts wrong again. Our universal tax cut drastically is – is much better for middle-income Canadians than his proposal. And he thinks that someone earning $47,000 a year is somehow too rich for a tax cut. I disagree. We also recognize that you don’t need to tear some people down to lift others up. Justin Trudeau’s attack on small businesses, threatening them, making it harder for them to grow and expand and offer the types of opportunities that lead to the jobs that have much higher income earnings was precisely part of the problem over the last four years, all the while protecting people who have inherited trust funds. We will take a different approach. We will ensure that our entrepreneurs have the support they need to grow and succeed.
Dawna Friesen: Mr. Scheer, thank you. We’re going to move on now. I have a question for the Bloc Québécois leader, Yves-François Blanchet, after which each one of the leaders will have a chance to debate him one on one. Mr. Blanchet, Quebec is one of five provinces to receive federal equalization payments in 2019. It received $13.1 billion, the highest amount of any province. That’s a benefit of being part of a federal system where wealth is shared. You’ve referred to the money as an assistance cheque. Premier Legault has said he wants to wean Quebec off equalization payments. Do you agree with that, and if so, what would, how would that make life more affordable for Canadians?
Yves-François Blanchet: Thank you for the question. First, the very system called equalization is based on some flawed reasonings [sic], flawed ways to analyze things, and this is why we propose something else that would progressively replace it. Oil provinces are very wealthy and have developed those resources with money from all across Canada, including Quebec. And today, they are using it as a threat over Quebec, which citizens do not want to be a passage for this oil through their territory because they rely on clean energy and believe this is the only responsible way to do things.
We propose a kind of equalization that would be based without any constitution change on how provinces perform in fighting climate change. Those who are over the average pay, those who are under the average receive the money, giving a strong encouragement for everybody to reduce —
Dawna Friesen: Alright.
Yves-François Blanchet: — GHG emissions.
Dawna Friesen: Mr. Blanchet, thank you. Let’s go – the leaders will all have a chance to debate this one on one, one minute each, beginning with you, Mr. Trudeau.
Rt. Hon. Justin Trudeau: Thank you, Dawna. Equalization exists so that every Canadian across the country, regardless of the province they’re born into or live in, accesses the same quality of services right across the country. It is not a perfect system, but it is a system that ensures as much as we can equality of opportunity across Canada. We’ve continued to engage with provinces across the country on updating the equalization formula in ways that are fair, and it is something that continues to bind this country together.
Yves-François Blanchet: (Crosstalk) avenues —
Rt. Hon. Justin Trudeau: — you, Mr. Blanchet, as a sovereigntist, —
Yves-François Blanchet: It’s not entirely your money.
Rt. Hon. Justin Trudeau: — are always looking for opportunities to create fights between Quebec and the rest of Canada to advance your separatist —
Yves-François Blanchet: Now, we have paid for development —
Rt. Hon. Justin Trudeau: — agenda. Unfortunately, that’s not something —
Yves-François Blanchet: — of oil in western Canada —
Rt. Hon. Justin Trudeau: — that Canadians want.
Yves-François Blanchet: — and you make us pay again with this idea of buying a pipeline over there. And tell me something, what can a Canadian do that a Quebecker cannot do? Why would you, would we need from Canada —
Rt. Hon. Justin Trudeau: I think by definition, a Quebecker can do anything a Canadian can do because a Quebecker is a Canadian —
Yves-François Blanchet: — that we can do ourselves (crosstalk) no less typical (crosstalk) —
Rt. Hon. Justin Trudeau: — and will remain a Canadian under my watch, Mr. Blanchet.
Yves-François Blanchet: — do our own thing.
Dawna Friesen: Gentlemen, thank you. Mr. Bernier, you now have the opportunity to debate Mr. Blanchet.
Hon. Maxime Bernier: Yes, speaking about the equalization, I’m the only leader who’s ready to look at the equalization formula for being sure that the formula will be less generous and fair for every province. Let me explain. It is not fair to tax people out west and also in Quebec because Quebeckers, you know, are proud and they want to live in a richer province. So what we must do, we must give the right incentive to provinces to develop their own natural resources. That’s so important to have a, to have a discussion about the equalization, and they don’t want to have the discussion.
Yves-François Blanchet: You —
Hon. Maxime Bernier: Let’s be less generous and fair for every province.
Yves-François Blanchet: — we share this idea. We share this idea.
Hon. Maxime Bernier: Why? Why? Because it is important when you have people in a, when you have people —
Yves-François Blanchet: What’s the time? What’s the time?
Hon. Maxime Bernier: — in Alberta, 20, yeah —
Yves-François Blanchet: Fifteen seconds.
Hon. Maxime Bernier: — 20 percent of people —
Yves-François Blanchet: Fourteen seconds.
Hon. Maxime Bernier: — (crosstalk) once to have the discussion. And let’s —
Yves-François Blanchet: Ten seconds.
Hon. Maxime Bernier: — have the discussion.
Yves-François Blanchet: Okay. Quebeckers receive less money from equalization per capita than anybody else who receives it in Canada. Do you mind about stopping those lines?
Dawna Friesen: Alright. Mr. Blanchet. Mr. Singh, your opportunity to debate.
Jagmeet Singh: Yes, I was thinking about ways we can make life more affordable, and this is where I think we can do a lot if we work together. This is one of the things I believe that we can, we can build a better Canada if we tackle some of the challenges that people are facing. One of the things that we hear about a lot in Quebec is the cost of health care and that it’s not there for them when they need. If we work together, the universal pharmacare plan is one where we use the buying power of all Canadians, it’s still delivered provincially, but we can actually buy medication for lower cost and it will —
Yves-François Blanchet: Actually, it is, it is —
Jagmeet Singh: — help out Quebec and (crosstalk) people.
Yves-François Blanchet: — delivered, it is delivered provincially, and dental care would be if we wanted to finance it a provincial jurisdiction. You have good ideas, but your ideas always interfere and infringe into jurisdictions which are those of provinces —
Jagmeet Singh: (Crosstalk) I want to work together.
Yves-François Blanchet: — and Quebec. So if you want to do that —
Jagmeet Singh: We got to work together.
Yves-François Blanchet: — do it for Canada. Take our part of the money, as the Constitution allows —
Jagmeet Singh: We can do that. (Crosstalk).
Yves-François Blanchet: — and send it to Quebec.
Jagmeet Singh: The other thing we need to do is, when we want to tackle the problems, is housing. Housing is something that’s concerning a lot of people. Federal money used to be invested in building, in partnership with provinces to build housing. We want to do that again.
Dawna Friesen: Mr. Scheer, thank you. Mr. – Mr. Singh, pardon me. Mr. Scheer, over to you.
Jagmeet Singh: I don’t know how people are getting me mixed up. (Laughter) (Off microphone) on purpose today. (Laughter). What does it take?
Hon. Andrew Scheer: I’m slightly taller than you, Mr. Singh. (Laughter). That must be it.
Jagmeet Singh: And stop running that (crosstalk) —
Dawna Friesen: Mr. Scheer, please continue the debate.
Hon. Andrew Scheer: It’s important for Quebeckers to realize that, on so many issues, Mr. Blanchet agrees with Justin Trudeau. He will support Justin Trudeau’s higher taxes, he’ll support massive deficits that will continue to put pressure on Canadian taxpayers, meaning more and more of their dollar goes to pay the interest on —
Yves-François Blanchet: I just, I just (crosstalk) —
Hon. Andrew Scheer: — the debt. And we know —
Yves-François Blanchet: — had to raise more money without —
Hon. Andrew Scheer: — and we know – sorry, if I could continue, Mr. Blanchet —
Yves-François Blanchet: — raising taxes so you didn’t listen or you didn’t understand. (Laughter).
Hon. Andrew Scheer: — we know, we know that Mr. Blanchet’s priority is working with the Parti Québécois on sovereignty. So we know that if votes for Bloc Québécois MPs mean that Justin Trudeau stays Prime Minister. Avec le Bloc, le plus ça change, le plus ça reste le même.
Yves-François Blanchet: And you know what? Do you remember that all those —
Hon. Andrew Scheer: We know that, that Mr. Blanchet —
Yves-François Blanchet: — all tho—all that you say you did for Quebeckers was done —
Hon. Andrew Scheer: — he prefers, he prefers to purchase his oil and gas —
Yves-François Blanchet: — when Harper was in a minority government —
Hon. Andrew Scheer: — from the United States.
Yves-François Blanchet: — all those changes were (crosstalk) by Bloc Québécois.
Hon. Andrew Scheer: You prefer sending consumers’ dollars to the United States to support that economy. I per—I pe—prefer —
Yves-François Blanchet: You have a strange picture of reality.
Hon. Andrew Scheer: — Canadian energy (crosstalk).
Dawna Friesen: You’ve talked over each other and you’re both out of time. (Laughter). Thank you, Mr. Scheer. Ms. May, it’s your turn.
Elizabeth May: Forgive me, Dawna, but Yellowknife, Rylund, I see you. Congratulations for being elected MLA. I’m just so excited.
Now. turning to equalization payments, we need equalization in Canada because we’re a country, we’re a family. We need to think like a family. Your proposal, Mr. Blanchet, would be to put an extra burden on those parts of Canada like Alberta that have the toughest challenge to meet the climate crisis. We’re concerned as Greens that we work together, that we not alienate Alberta, that we —
Yves-François Blanchet: I had noticed that you had a strong sensibility for Alberta since your previous positions on oil were quite nice to them.
Elizabeth May: No, they’re not. They’re —
Yves-François Blanchet: However, however, in a family —
Elizabeth May: — we’re shutting down the oil sands —
Yves-François Blanchet: — sometimes, in a family sometimes —
Elizabeth May: — by 2030. They don’t find it nice.
Yves-François Blanchet: — in a family sometimes —
Elizabeth May: That’s why they deserve fairness.
Yves-François Blanchet: — in a family sometimes one does not agree with others and he doesn’t have to be forced to do what others say.
Elizabeth May: We are facing a climate emergency, and anyone who understands the science – and I hope you do because we all —
Yves-François Blanchet: And this is, this is a world —
Elizabeth May: — marched with Greta.
Yves-François Blanchet: — issue, and only countries do international affairs, provinces don’t.
Elizabeth May: We have to pull our weight —
Dawna Friesen: Alright.
Elizabeth May: — as provinces and as nations and we do it together.
Dawna Friesen: We have to move along. Thank you for that. We will end this segment with another open debate. Yves-François Blanchet, it is your turn to ask any other leader a question on the topic of your choice. (Laugher).
Yves-François Blanchet: I wonder (inaudible). Mr. Scheer, you said in English a few months ago that you were strongly against the very idea of Bill 21 about laïcité of the state in Quebec. Then you said in French in Quebec that you would do nothing against that law. But your very close collaborator, Mr. Alain Rayes, said the day before yesterday that you would protect the Bill 21. He said that in French, I must admit. You would, you were the only one that would protect the Bill —
Dawna Friesen: Can you – can you get to the question, please?
Yves-François Blanchet: — 21. Please, how will you do that?
Hon. Andrew Scheer: It’s very – this – the answer to this question is very simple, Mr. Blanchet, and you know that I’ve always been very clear on this issue. We will not intervene in the court case that is currently before the courts. The elected officials of Quebec have taken this decision and now it is before the courts —
Yves-François Blanchet: Mr. Rayes said that you would protect —
Hon. Andrew Scheer: — and the courts, and the courts will —
Yves-François Blanchet: — protect the law.
Hon. Andrew Scheer: — decide. That is —
Yves-François Blanchet: (Crosstalk) the law?
Hon. Andrew Scheer: — exactly what I’ve always said, in English —
Yves-François Blanchet: What will you do to protect this law?
Hon. Andrew Scheer: — and in French. It’s very important that a federal government respects and protects individual liberties and individual human rights. We will not pursue this court of action at a federal level.
Yves-François Blanchet: Your definition —
Dawna Friesen: Mr. Scheer has the floor.
Yves-François Blanchet: — (crosstalk) in the law.
Hon. Andrew Scheer: It’s quite simple.
Yves-François Blanchet: (Crosstalk) go in the same direction.
Hon. Andrew Scheer: I just answered the question, Mr. Blanchet.
Dawna Friesen: Mr. Blanchet, Mr. Scheer has the floor.
Hon. Andrew Scheer: La même chose en français. M. Blanchet. It’s the same thing in French. We will not intervene in this court case.
Yves-François Blanchet: That’s not (crosstalk).
Hon. Andrew Scheer: The court case will – will decide this.
Yves-François Blanchet: You should talk to Mr. Rayes. He does not say the same thing as you do.
Hon. Andrew Scheer: It’s exactly the same position, Mr. Blanchet. You’re trying to create division, confusion where it doesn’t —
Yves-François Blanchet: (Crosstalk) everything and not doing something against the law —
Hon. Andrew Scheer: — where it doesn’t exist.
Yves-François Blanchet: — does not mean that you will protect it. I would protect it. You would not —
Dawna Friesen: So we are open —
Hon. Andrew Scheer: You won’t be in a position to —
Dawna Friesen: — we are going to have an open debate. That was Mr. Scheer’s time to answer, I apologize.
Yves-François Blanchet: Oh, I’m sorry. I will leave you some (crosstalk). (Laughter).
Dawna Friesen: We will now have the open debate. Mr. Blanchet, you may begin.
Yves-François Blanchet: OK.
Hon. Andrew Scheer: Can I speak now, because you spoke during my answer?
Yves-François Blanchet: Please go ahead. (Laughter). We’re still nice people.
Hon. Andrew Scheer: The issue on this has been exactly the same from the beginning. And Mr. Blanchet, I think you’re trying to create confusion where there doesn’t exist confusion. I have always been very clear, both in English and French, the – the answers have always been the same. This is something that at the federal level we will not pursue. The Conservative Party has always stood for individual liberty, for fundamental human rights. It was a Conservative Prime Minister that brought forward the Bill of Rights. The last Prime Minister from Saskatchewan —
Rt. Hon. Justin Trudeau: Except, of course, Mr. Scheer —
Hon. Andrew Scheer: — John Diefenbaker, and —
Rt. Hon. Justin Trudeau: — you won’t defend a woman’s right to choose.
Hon. Andrew Scheer: — we won’t allow these types —
Rt. Hon. Justin Trudeau: You – you dismissed LGBT —
Hon. Andrew Scheer: — that is completely false.
Rt. Hon. Justin Trudeau: — LGBT protections.
Hon. Andrew Scheer: — it is completely false.
Rt. Hon. Justin Trudeau: You haven’t apologized —
Hon. Andrew Scheer: Millions, millions —
Rt. Hon. Justin Trudeau: — against LGBT Canadians years ago.
Hon. Andrew Scheer: — millions of Canadians —
Rt. Hon. Justin Trudeau: Will you – will you recognize and apologize for that?
Hon. Andrew Scheer: — millions of Canadians, Mr. Trudeau, millions of Canadians have a different position on this issue. And like millions of Canadians, I am personally pro-life. It is OK in this country to have a difference of opinion, something you do not recognize.
Rt. Hon. Justin Trudeau: Yes, but Canadians need to know —
Hon. Andrew Scheer: (Crosstalk) it’s not OK for a man —
Rt. Hon. Justin Trudeau: — Canadians need to know that their Prime Minister —
Hon. Andrew Scheer: — (crosstalk) when a woman’s going to be deciding.
Rt. Hon. Justin Trudeau: — Canadians need to know that their Prime Minister —
Hon. Andrew Scheer: The laws and access on this issue —
Dawna Friesen: One at a time, please. One at a time, please.
Hon. Andrew Scheer: — the laws and access on this issue have not changed for 30 years under Liberal Prime Ministers, under Conservative Prime Ministers. It will not change —
Unidentified Male: Mr. Scheer, let me (crosstalk) —
Rt. Hon. Justin Trudeau: Canadians need to know —
Hon. Andrew Scheer: — once I am Prime Minister.
Rt. Hon. Justin Trudeau: — that their Prime Minister will be there —
Hon. Andrew Scheer: That is my position.
Rt. Hon. Justin Trudeau: — to defend them. And you have been —
Hon. Andrew Scheer: I have just answered that question.
Rt. Hon. Justin Trudeau: — you have been not —
Dawna Friesen: Let me, let’s, let’s allow Mr. Singh —
Rt. Hon. Justin Trudeau: — unequivocal on defending (crosstalk).
Dawna Friesen: — a moment.
Rt. Hon. Justin Trudeau: You’re signing (crosstalk) papers of people who want to take away (crosstalk) —
Hon. Andrew Scheer: What about your misogynist, racist candidate in Nova Scotia?
Rt. Hon. Justin Trudeau: OK.
Dawna Friesen: Can we – can we (crosstalk) no, nobody, nobody can hear what you’re saying anymore.
Rt. Hon. Justin Trudeau: You will be signing the nomination papers for people who have pledged —
Jagmeet Singh: A man has no place (crosstalk) —
Rt. Hon. Justin Trudeau: — to take away rights from (crosstalk).
Jagmeet Singh: — around (crosstalk). (Laughter). (Applause).
Dawna Friesen: It’s, I know, you’re having a mini debate over here. Can we bring in Mr. Singh?
Jagmeet Singh: A man has no position in a discussion on a woman’s right to choose. Let’s be very clear on that.
Elizabeth May: How about a woman’s right to speak in a debate? (Applause). I – it’s been really interesting for most of this campaign to hear a lot of men arguing about what a woman’s rights should be, but having all of you, except for Max, participated in the TVA debate where you were perfectly happy to keep women out, off the stage. I’m the only woman leader of a party. You participated in a debate which did not let our little girls see that there’s a chance for a woman in this country to be Prime Minister, to run as the leader of a party. We must be clear as all leaders, and you are not clear, Andrew, that we will never allow a single inch of retreat from the hard-earned rights of women in this country, not one inch. (Applause).
Jagmeet Singh: This says to me that you’re open to working with Mr. Scheer —
Elizabeth May: Sure. I would —
Unidentified Male: — and your own MPs could come up with a law against abortion and you said that you will tolerate it.
Hon. Andrew Scheer: This is – this is a typical Liberal —
Elizabeth May: No. No, I – I said we don’t allow anyone to run —
Hon. Andrew Scheer: — tactic. It’s right out of the Liberal playbook.
Elizabeth May: — in our party who doesn’t hold a pro-choice position.
Hon. Andrew Scheer: When they are in danger of losing an election —
Elizabeth May: We don’t, sorry.
Hon. Andrew Scheer: — they bring forth these types of (crosstalk).
Dawna Friesen: This clearly needs more time. I’m afraid we don’t have more time.
Elizabeth May: (Crosstalk) unlike all the rest of you.
Dawna Friesen: Ms. May, thank you very much. We’re going to have to move on. Thank you. That concludes our segment.
THEME FIVE: ENVIRONMENT AND ENERGY
Rosemary Barton: Hi. everyone. I’m Rosemary Barton from CBC News. Our next theme – we’ve already talked about it a little bit, but now we will for real – the environment and energy. And we will start with a question from another Canadian. We’re going to go to a gathering of people watching the debate, this time at the Halifax Central Library. We’ll talk to Brittain Bancroft of Minto, New Brunswick is there and has this question. Over to you.
Question: Hi. My name is Brit Bancroft, and I’m from Minto, New Brunswick, and I believe we live in an age of climate crisis and this is the last election we have before point of no return is reached. Furthermore, I believe that for many larger corporations that pollute, the current system of fines and penalties associated with that polluting is just the cost of doing business. What concrete plans does each leader have to address big business polluting?
Rosemary Barton: Thank you, Brit. And the first answer goes to —
Yves-François Blanchet: That is —
Rosemary Barton: — Mr. Blanchet.
Yves-François Blanchet: — very interesting. What is considered as the most progressive system to find climate change so far is this agreement between California and Quebec, this trade exchange system that forces businesses to lower their emission through time, and it works very well. And I was – I had the privilege of completing the negotiation of such a system and signing it. And it should be used elsewhere. Simple taxes that return into the pockets of people without any change in incentive are not the solution. Doing nothing, hoping that, you know, some spirit will come and solve the problem, is no solution either.
Rosemary Barton: That’s it, Mr. Blanchet. Mr. Trudeau, over to you.
Rt. Hon. Justin Trudeau: As Mr. Blanchet said, Quebec and other provinces like BC have moved forward with putting a price on pollution. We’ve ensured that that price is put in right across the country because it is a mechanism that will both lower emissions and ensure that Canadians can afford this transition. The choice tonight is very clear between two parties that have very different views on climate change. Mr. Scheer wants to rip up the only serious plan on climate change Canada has ever had the day after the election, and we will continue to do more. We recognize we need to do more to fight climate change. That’s why we’re going to be surpassing our targets. That’s why we’re going to get to net zero by 2050.
Rosemary Barton: Mr. Bernier.
Hon. Maxime Bernier: At the People’s Party, we are the only real environmentalists party. Why? First of all, we want to do things that are possible. We want to do things that are possible to protect our health, our air, our environment, our water. All the other leaders claim to save the world and to save the climate. They cannot. Canada represents only two, 1.6 percent of the green gas emission [sic], and they claim also to be able to achieve the Paris Accord target; they cannot. They have to impose a carbon tax of $300 a tonne to do that and they won’t do it, they don’t do it. They’re hypocrites. We won’t have a tax on carbon and we —
Rosemary Barton: Time’s up. Time’s up. Mr. Singh.
Jagmeet Singh: Thank you very much. Thank you, Brit, for your question. We are faced with a climate crisis; there’s no question about it. We’ve got massive forest fires, which make it hard to breathe in some parts of Canada, in the west. We’ve got massive flooding, which means people are losing their homes, in the east. This is a serious crisis. Now, while Mr. Trudeau has said a lot of nice things, let’s look at what he’s done. He said that he’s for the environment, but then he continues to exempt the biggest polluters from his price on pollution. He says he wants to fight the climate crisis and what does he do? He continues to subsidize oil and gas massively. He says he’s a climate leader. What does he do? He buys a pipeline. There’s a big gap between what Mr. Trudeau says —
Rosemary Barton: OK.
Jagmeet Singh: — and what he does.
Rosemary Barton: And Mr. Scheer, over to you next.
Hon. Andrew Scheer: I find myself agreeing with you again, Mr. Singh. On the environment, like so many issues, Justin Trudeau says one thing and then does something completely different. He’s talking about hitting 2050 targets. He can’t even meet 2030 targets. He talks about ripping up a real plan; his plan has been proven to fail. He has given – he has given a massive exemption to the country’s largest polluters. They – and they were able to negotiate themselves up to a 90 percent exemption from his carbon tax. Meanwhile, hardworking commuters, moms and dads taking their kids to school or driving to work, they have to pay the full brunt of that.
Our plan is a real plan that takes the climate change fight global, recognizing that we could shut everything down here tomorrow
Rosemary Barton: That’s it, Mr. Scheer. I’m dropping the hammer, coming to the end of the show. Ms. May.
Elizabeth May: Brit, thank you for the question. You, unlike everyone else on this stage, clearly understand that we’re up against a real climate emergency. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has given us hard timelines, challenging targets. If we’re going to do what’s required, it isn’t easy. We don’t grade on a curve and say because a plan is less ambitious, it’s therefore more doable. If it fails to meet the goal of holding global average temperature to no more than 1.5 degrees Celsius, we fail to give our kids a livable world.
Greta Thunberg is right. The house is on fire. Grownups then stand up and say kids, get to safety, we’ve got this. We’ll take care of this for you.
Rosemary Barton: That’s it, Ms. May. My turn now to ask a question, and this one goes to Mr. Trudeau, and the question is this, Mr. Trudeau. Last fall, the United Nations International Panel on Climate Change stressed the need to act quickly to limit further global warming. A report from Environment Canada says this country is warming twice as fast as the global average. You say you are committed to combating climate change, but your government still proceeded with the purchase and approval of a new pipeline to the west coast. Given the timeline, and given what is at stake, should Canada not be moving more quickly away from further development of the oil and gas sector? And to that end, should the Trans Mountain Expansion be Canada’s last pipeline?
Rt. Hon. Justin Trudeau: We absolutely have to move faster. We absolutely have to do more, and that’s why we put forward an ambitious plan to continue that is reasonable, that is, that is doable and is going to make sure that we get to not just surpass our 2030 targets, but go beyond it. We’re banning single-use plastics, we’re putting a price on pollution right across the country, and we are fighting those Conservative Premiers who do not want to do their part to fight climate change. We recognize that transition to clean energy will not happen overnight. While we do, we should have less oil by rail and we need to get to new markets so we can invest all the – all the resources, all the money coming in from this pipeline into that green energy transition, into fighting climate change.
I know that’s a big piece of the way we move forward, how we invest in the new economy in that transition, and that’s what we’ve done. The choice tonight is do we pick a government that doesn’t believe in climate change or in fighting it or do we continue on the track we are —
Rosemary Barton: OK, we’ve got to end it.
Rt. Hon. Justin Trudeau: — and be even more ambitious.
Rosemary Barton: I noticed you didn’t answer the last part of that question, whether we were on our last pipeline. Mr. Bernier, your turn to debate Mr. Trudeau for one minute.
Hon. Maxime Bernier: Mr. Trudeau, I think we agree that we don’t agree on climate change. I believe that there’s no climate emergency. You believe the opposite. But you won’t be able to achieve the Paris Accord target. I’m not saying that. That’s the UN who said that. You need to impose a carbon tax over $300 a tonne and you don’t do that.
Rt. Hon. Justin Trudeau: In four years, Mr. Bernier —
Hon. Maxime Bernier: Elizabeth May, just what – let me finish.
Rt. Hon. Justin Trudeau: — we got three-quarters of the way there.
Rosemary Barton: Mr. – Mr. Trudeau, let Mr. Bernier finish.
Hon. Maxime Bernier: Elizabeth, she’s right and you’re right. She has a radical plan to fight climate change. It will destroy the economy, but what about you?
Rosemary Barton: OK.
Hon. Maxime Bernier: You won’t be able to —
Rt. Hon. Justin Trudeau: In four years —
Rosemary Barton: Mr. Bernier, Mr. Trudeau (crosstalk) time.
Rt. Hon. Justin Trudeau: — we made it three-quarters of the way to reaching those 2030 targets, and over the next 11 years, including by planting two billion trees, we’re going to get there. But Mr. Sch—Mr. Bernier, what you don’t understand, what Mr. Scheer doesn’t understand, is you cannot build a plan for the future of our economy if you are not building a plan that protects the environment and fights climate change. That’s where both of you are completely wrong.
Rosemary Barton: OK. Mr. Scheer, it’s not your turn. Mr. Singh, your time to debate Mr. Trudeau.
Jagmeet Singh: Mr. Trudeau, I know that you say a lot of nice things and you’ve been saying a lot of great things on the stage today. But the problem is that you said a lot of these things in 2015 and you made it sound like you were going to make climate a big priority, but the reality is you did all these things, you bought a pipeline, you continue to subsidize oil and gas, and you continue to exempt the biggest polluters. So what’s it going to take now for Canadians to believe that you’re actually going to follow through on your promises? What’s it going to take for you to follow through on these commitments, because your words are not good enough anymore?
Rosemary Barton: OK. Mr. Trudeau.
Rt. Hon. Justin Trudeau: Mr. Singh, we have reached three-quarters of the way to achieving our 2030 targets and we’re going to surpass them. And Mr. Singh, Canadians might be surprised to discover that your plan is to build a massive refinery in Alberta. And the only way to do that is with federal subsidies because there’s no private business case for it. Your plan to build a refinery in Alberta is worse for the environment —
Jagmeet Singh: It’s not our plan at all. That was not our plan.
Rt. Hon. Justin Trudeau: — than building a pipeline to the (crosstalk) better place for our, our —
Jagmeet Singh: I don’t know – that’s no way our commitment —
Rosemary Barton: OK. Mr. Singh, Mr. Singh.
Jagmeet Singh: — not our plan. I don’t know where you got that from. It’s not our plan. We would immediately end fossil fuel subsidies, we’d immediately invest in clean energy —
Rosemary Barton: That’s it.
Jagmeet Singh: — we’d immediately do what’s needed.
Rosemary Barton: That’s time. Mr. Scheer, it’s your turn to debate Mr. Trudeau. Same question.
Hon. Andrew Scheer: When Justin Trudeau took office, there were three major pipeline projects ready to go. Under his watch, all of them have failed. He had to take $4.5 billion of Canadian tax money to put the Trans Mountain Pipeline on life support, and he did that by sending $4.5 billion of taxpayers’ money to another country, to the United States, to be invested in the oil and gas sector there instead of here in Canada. His answer for his rationale for having two campaign planes was that he bought carbon offsets, which is just a thing that privileged people can do —
Rt. Hon. Justin Trudeau: No. Mr. Scheer —
Hon. Andrew Scheer: — to keep polluting.
Rosemary Barton: OK. Mr. Trudeau, Mr. Trudeau’s chance to respond.
Rt. Hon. Justin Trudeau: (Crosstalk) I did not —
Hon. Andrew Scheer: (Crosstalk) have to keep paying more.
Rosemary Barton: Mr. Scheer, Mr. Scheer, Mr. Trudeau’s chance to respond.
Rt. Hon. Justin Trudeau: Mr. Scheer, you did not buy carbon offsets for your transport because you don’t believe that climate change is real. You need to —
Hon. Andrew Scheer: (Crosstalk)
Rosemary Barton: Mr. Scheer, no one can hear you. Please.
Rt. Hon. Justin Trudeau: — actually act in – you need to act in a way that is responsible, Mr. Scheer, and your plan is to rip up the only serious plan to fight climate change —
Hon. Andrew Scheer: Your plan is failing.
Rt. Hon. Justin Trudeau: — that Canada has ever had. Canadians know —
Rosemary Barton: OK. Time is up for you as well, Mr. Trudeau.
Rt. Hon. Justin Trudeau: — how important this is.
Rosemary Barton: Ms. May, over to you.
Elizabeth May: To avoid catastrophic levels of global warming, we must double our current target, we must listen to science. We must not build the Trans Mountain Pipeline. It’s not the last because it gets cancelled if we’re serious. You can’t negotiate with physics. You can’t, as Prime Minister, you can’t as leader of the Liberal Party. There’s a carbon budget, it doesn’t budget. And that’s why it’s so heartbreaking for me to look at you today and know you could have done so much more the last four years. Please God you don’t get a majority this time around because —
Rt. Hon. Justin Trudeau: From the Rockies —
Elizabeth May: — you won’t keep your promises.
Rt. Hon. Justin Trudeau: — from the Rockies to the Bay of Fundy, Conservative Premiers have gotten elected on promises to do nothing on climate change, and we need a strong federal government to fight them to make sure that we are moving forward on protecting the future generations from the impacts of climate change.
Elizabeth May: But your goal is a target for failure. When you hang on to Harper’s target of 30 percent by 2030, you are —
Rt. Hon. Justin Trudeau: We are going to pass that target.
Elizabeth May: — pre-destining us. Well, you better get to double that target or you never get to carbon neutrality by 2050.
Rosemary Barton: Time is up, Ms. May.
Elizabeth May: This is (crosstalk).
Rosemary Barton: Time is up, Ms. May. Mr. Blanchet, you can talk to Mr. Trudeau.
Yves-François Blanchet: Mr. Trudeau, you claim to have done a lot, but Canada is the worst emitter of GHG in the G20 per capita. So that’s not much of a success. But I have two questions from Quebec. First, will you agree with the demand of the Prime Minister of Quebec, Mr. Legault, that Quebec overview and environmental issues will have precedence over Canada’s overview? Second question, do you promise, after this judgment in British Columbia to not ever try to have a pipeline cross Quebec, ever?
Rt. Hon. Justin Trudeau: After ten years of Mr. Harper’s failures to get things built because he did not understand you have to work with Indigenous peoples, you have to work with local communities, you have to respect environmental science, we brought in a process that does exactly that. And we work with the provinces on ensuring that there’s not —
Yves-François Blanchet: Please answer. It’s ten seconds.
Rt. Hon. Justin Trudeau: — a duplication of environmental – environmental oversight. That’s what Bill C-69 is all about. We know that the way we move forward is responsible and will be done —
Yves-François Blanchet: No answer.
Rt. Hon. Justin Trudeau: — in partnership.
Rosemary Barton: And that’s the time. Mr. Trudeau, it’s now your chance to ask a question of any other leader. You have one minute to do so, sir.
Rt. Hon. Justin Trudeau: We cut taxes for small businesses to nine percent. We cut taxes for Canadians. We know that tax breaks for wealthy do not work to grow the economy. Ten years of Mr. Harper’s failure has done that. Yet Mr. Scheer’s platform, what we’ve seen of it because most of it is still secret and will remain secret apparently, like Doug Ford – that didn’t work out so well for Ontarians – is to reduce taxes for the wealthiest Canadians, the multimillionaires, by $50,000, which is more money than most Canadians make in a year.
Rosemary Barton: Wrap it up.
Rt. Hon. Justin Trudeau: Why the $50,000 —
Rosemary Barton: Mr. Scheer, you have one minute to respond.
Rt. Hon. Justin Trudeau: — tax break for the wealthiest?
Hon. Andrew Scheer: First of all, Mr. Trudeau, you seem to be oddly obsessed with provincial politics. There is a vacancy for the Ontario Liberal leadership, and if you are so focused on provincial politics, go and run for the leadership of that party, Mr. Trudeau. (Applause).
Secondly, your tax hikes, your tax policy has meant that 80 percent of Canadian families pay higher taxes today than when —
Rt. Hon. Justin Trudeau: That’s not true.
Hon. Andrew Scheer: — you first took office. That is exactly true.
Rt. Hon. Justin Trudeau: (Crosstalk) the Canada Child Benefit in that, the one measure —
Hon. Andrew Scheer: That was a Conservative principle —
Rt. Hon. Justin Trudeau: — that has lifted 300,000 people –
Hon. Andrew Scheer: — that Liberals fought against, that you fought against.
Rt. Hon. Justin Trudeau: And that you voted against, Mr. Scheer.
Hon. Andrew Scheer: Your signature achievement was taking a Conservative idea to send support directly to —
Rt. Hon. Justin Trudeau: So why did you vote against it, Mr. Scheer?
Hon. Andrew Scheer: — parents. I voted against your tax hikes on Canadians, Mr. Trudeau.
Rt. Hon. Justin Trudeau: You voted against the Canada Child Benefit that lifted 300,000 (crosstalk) —
Hon. Andrew Scheer: No, I did not. We are committed —
Rosemary Barton: OK. Gentleman, one at a time, one at a time.
Hon. Andrew Scheer: — we are committed to protecting the – that benefit because it is based on a Conservative principle.
Rt. Hon. Justin Trudeau: You’re offering (crosstalk).
Hon. Andrew Scheer: But we are going to lower —
Rosemary Barton: Mr. Trudeau, this is supposed to be Mr. Scheer’s answer. We’re going to move into open debate.
Hon. Andrew Scheer: — taxes for all Canadians, with a universal tax cuts. We’re going to bring back the children’s sports —
Rosemary Barton: That’s it.
Hon. Andrew Scheer: — and fitness tax credit as well.
Rosemary Barton: That’s it, Mr. Scheer. We’ve got three minutes on this, open debate.
Rt. Hon. Justin Trudeau: Starting with me.
Rosemary Barton: Yes, that’s right, sir.
Rt. Hon. Justin Trudeau: OK.
Rosemary Barton: Off you go.
Rt. Hon. Justin Trudeau: Mr. Scheer, you did not answer the question —
Rosemary Barton: Mr. Trudeau first.
Rt. Hon. Justin Trudeau: — on why you were lowing taxes by $50,000 for multimillionaires in this country. Maybe you’ll answer it tomorrow in the press conference, but you haven’t answered it tonight.
Hon. Andrew Scheer: That is just not true. You haven’t answered a question your entire time as Prime Minister. I’ve sat across you. You never answer —
Rt. Hon. Justin Trudeau: I answered more questions —
Hon. Andrew Scheer: — a question. I’m answering —
Rt. Hon. Justin Trudeau: — in – in the House of Commons —
Hon. Andrew Scheer: — your question very, very (crosstalk).
Rt. Hon. Justin Trudeau: — than any other Prime Minister (crosstalk).
Rosemary Barton: Mr. Trudeau, let Mr. Scheer finish, please. Mr. Trudeau.
Hon. Andrew Scheer: I am rolling back your tax hikes on entrepreneurs, on small business. You called them tax cheats. These are the people in our community —
Rt. Hon. Justin Trudeau: They’re tax breaks for the wealthiest and cuts for services for everyone else.
Hon. Andrew Scheer: — they are saving up money to open up a (crosstalk), investing in people’s training —
Rt. Hon. Justin Trudeau: That’s what you’re offering.
Hon. Andrew Scheer: — and education. You raised the taxes and called them tax cheats.
Rosemary Barton: Gentlemen, no one can understand anything. Mr. Blanchet wants in, Mr. Scheer. Mr. Blanchet.
Yves-François Blanchet: You two should agree that you’re both experts in multimillionaire. However, I have a suggestion for you. How about this idea which has been asked unanimously by Assemblée nationale du Québec of a single tax refund? That would save about $400 million to our combined states. Is that not a great way to save money, make things simpler for people, companies, businesses and even government?
Hon. Andrew Scheer: So you’re talking about the single income tax return for Quebeckers?
Yves-François Blanchet: Yes.
Hon. Andrew Scheer: I am the only federal party leader that can deliver on that, Mr. Blanchet. That is something that I am committed to.
Yves-François Blanchet: You might find yourself in a position where you need me to do that. (Laughter).
Hon. Andrew Scheer: I am committed to simplifying the lives of Quebeckers by ensuring that they only have to fill out one single income tax.
Jagmeet Singh: I want to clear up on something with Mr. Scheer.
Rosemary Barton: Mr. Singh. Mr. Singh. Yes, go ahead.
Jagmeet Singh: You know, Mr. Scheer, you talk a lot about tax cuts, but this is the reality. The thing is – is that Canadians can look across this country and see what the impacts of a Conservative tax cut means. Translation: cuts to education, cuts to health care, vicious cuts to the most vulnerable people in society. That’s what you do. And the thing is, Mr. Trudeau, you sound a lot different, you sound a lot better, but you’ve done much of the same. You’re giving billions —
Rt. Hon. Justin Trudeau: Nine hundred thousand people out of poverty.
Jagmeet Singh: — of dollars to the wealthiest and your —
Rt. Hon. Justin Trudeau: It’s not nothing. We have —
Jagmeet Singh: — (crosstalk)
Rosemary Barton: Mr. Trudeau.
Rt. Hon. Justin Trudeau: Three hundred thousand kids out of poverty is not nothing, Mr. Singh.
Rosemary Barton: Mr. Trudeau.
Jagmeet Singh: (Crosstalk) cabinet ministers use tax havens.
Rosemary Barton: Mr. Scheer, you can respond, then Mr. Bernier.
Hon. Andrew Scheer: So under Trudeau’s policy, Canadians are working harder and harder but they’re barely getting by or falling behind. Our policy will leave more money in their pockets, and we’re going to do that, Mr. Singh, by protecting services like health care and education. We’re going to get the money to pay for it by cutting corporate welfare and reducing Canada’s foreign aid budget by 25 percent. That is going —
Jagmeet Singh: (Crosstalk) the same thing and he didn’t do it.
Hon. Andrew Scheer: — to pay for our tax cuts for all Canadians to leave more money in their pockets so that they can get ahead.
Jagmeet Singh: Not going to work.
Rosemary Barton: Mr. Bernier.
Hon. Maxime Bernier: Mr. Scheer and Mr. Trudeau, it’s all the same. It’s all boutique tax credits. They won’t cut tax for every Canadian. We have a platform with only two tax rates that would be fair for everybody so everybody will save. The cost of our tax reform would be $35 billion, but we will do that only after balancing the budget. We’ll use our (inaudible). It’s the only responsible way to give more money —
Rosemary Barton: Ms. —
Hon. Andrew Scheer: I got a question.
Rosemary Barton: No. You had your chance. Ms. May wants in. Ms. May.
Elizabeth May: With two weeks left in this election campaign, Canadians can know one thing. At this point, Mr. Scheer, with all due respect, you’re not going to be Prime Minister. The question is going to be on a seat count —
Hon. Andrew Scheer: I’ll put – I’ll put a bet on that, Ms. May.
Elizabeth May: — if we have Mr. Trudeau in a minority or Mr. Trudeau in a majority, voting for Green MPs is your very best guarantee, Canada, that you don’t get the government you least want.
Rosemary Barton: Mr. Scheer can respond to that and then we’ll wrap it up.
Hon. Andrew Scheer: Well, I’m going to prove you wrong on that, Ms. May. You just watch on October 21st.
Elizabeth May: Well, I’ll – I’ll lay you bets right now.
Hon. Andrew Scheer: Mr. Bernier said something that’s completely untrue. Under Justin Trudeau, we will see endless deficits, meaning more and more Canadian tax dollars goes to pay the interest on that debt. We’ll balance the budget while still preserving —
Rosemary Barton: Time, time is up.
Hon. Andrew Scheer: — core services.
Rosemary Barton: And it’s Maxime Bernier’s chance to lead this part of the debate. You can ask one question to any other leader. Thirty seconds, please.
Hon. Maxime Bernier: Yes. (Laughter). Andrew —
Hon. Andrew Scheer: Déjà vu.
Hon. Maxime Bernier: — you are, you are calling yourself a Conservative, but you don’t want to balance the budget in two years. You will have $70 billion on our debt. You support the cartel in mill, dairy, and poultry, knowing that the Canadian family is paying more than $400 a year for that. Andrew, are you a real Conservative? No. I think you are a Liberal. Why are you pretending to be something that you’re not?
Rosemary Barton: Mr. Scheer.
Hon. Andrew Scheer: You want to talk about pretending to be something that you’re not. I’m not sure which Maxime Bernier I’m debating tonight. Was it the Maxime Bernier from the 1990s who was a separatist or is it the Maxime Bernier who was minister responsible for handing out corporate welfare? Was it the Maxime Bernier who defended supply management when it suited him? The fact of the matter is —
Hon. Maxime Bernier: I’m the messenger.
Hon. Andrew Scheer: — sorry, it’s my – it’s my time to respond to that question – the fact of the matter is there’s a clear contrast in this election: Justin Trudeau’s endless deficits and tax hikes to pay for it, or a Conservative plan that will leave more money in your pocket. We will lower taxes for all Canadians. We’ll bring back popular tax credits like the kids’ sports and fitness tax credit, we’ll boost the RESP, we’ll raise the age credit for seniors, and we’ll bring in a green home renovation tax credit. That, all the while cutting corporate welfare and Canada’s foreign aid budget to bring that money back home so that Canadians can get ahead.
Rosemary Barton: Nine seconds. Well, let’s do open debate. Off you go. You’re starting that too. (Laughter).
Hon. Maxime Bernier: Thank you very much. I’m the Maxime Bernier who’s there for Canadians, and I’m the Maxime Bernier who does not care about having real debates on real issues that are important for Canadians. You don’t want to have debates —
Hon. Andrew Scheer: Maxime Bernier that says things on Twitter that immigration —
Hon. Maxime Bernier: — you don’t want to have debates on immigration.
Hon. Andrew Scheer: — (crosstalk) for your life.
Hon. Maxime Bernier: You don’t want to have debates to help every Canadian and abolishing that cartel in supply management. You don’t want to be able to cut foreign aid. You don’t want to cut foreign aid.
Hon. Andrew Scheer: It’s a signature part of our plan.
Rosemary Barton: Let’s let Mr. Scheer respond, please.
Hon. Maxime Bernier: Yeah, it would be important to balance the budget —
Rosemary Barton: Mr. Scheer, then Mr. Singh. Mr. Scheer.
Hon. Maxime Bernier: — and we can do that.
Hon. Andrew Scheer: That’s precisely not the case. We’ve said that, I’ve said that we’ll cut Canada’s foreign aid budget by 25 percent to pay for the tax cuts that we are going to bring in —
Hon. Maxime Bernier: You can save $5 million there in balancing the budget.
Hon. Andrew Scheer: — we’re bringing in important tax cuts so that Canadians can get ahead.
Jagmeet Singh: I want to just put in what this election’s all about. This election’s all about who’s going to fight for you, who’s going to stand up for you. And we’ve seen with Mr. Trudeau, he says nice words, but he gave $6 billion in corporate loan write-offs last year, $14 billion to the richest corporations. He keeps tax havens open, he keeps loopholes open. He hasn’t closed them in four years. We’re in it for people. We’re not in it for the rich. We’re going to deliver universal pharmacare for all, we’re going to deliver dental care programs, we’re going to invest in housing, we’re going to fight the climate crisis like we need to win it.
That’s what you get with New Democrats. I ask people to support New Democrats —
Rosemary Barton: Mr. – Mr. Trudeau can respond. Mr. Trudeau can respond. Sir.
Jagmeet Singh: — to hold to account this government, to form government in the next election.
Rt. Hon. Justin Trudeau: We have invested in Canadians. We made a very different choice than Stephen Harper did, very different choice than Andrew Scheer is proposing. We lifted 900,000 people out of poverty, we lifted seniors out of poverty, we’re putting more money in the pockets of students, and we’re seeing over a million jobs created, most of them full time, over the past year. But there is so – over the past four years – but there is so much more to do. And that is what we have to stay focused on because the fight against climate change, the fight for the future of our economy matters, and that’s the choice —
Rosemary Barton: Ms. May wants in. Then Mr. Blanchet.
Rt. Hon. Justin Trudeau: — Canadians need to make.
Rosemary Barton: Yes, go ahead.
Elizabeth May: We have completely mischaracterized our response to the climate emergency as something that somehow doesn’t help the economy. You have the biggest global economic opportunity in the history of humankind —
Rt. Hon. Justin Trudeau: I agree.
Elizabeth May: — in moving all fossil fuels as quickly as possible.
Rt. Hon. Justin Trudeau: I agree.
Elizabeth May: But then you’re keeping fossil fuels going because your target is exactly half of what’s required. If this election is anything, it’s about trust and ethics, and we are in a climate emergency. We need grownups in the room to take responsibility.
Rosemary Barton: Mr. Blanchet.
Yves-François Blanchet: Mr. Singh said that he wants to fight for Canadians, and that’s a good point. Who do we want to fight for? I want to fight for Quebeckers and Quebeckers only. If we agree with the Canadian government, then let it be. If we don’t agree, we’re going to fight, and this is what Bloc Québécois has always done and I can’t wait pour avoir ces gens-là dire en français ce qu’ils ont dit en anglais jeudi.
Rosemary Barton: Ils vont le faire. Mr. Scheer.
Hon. Andrew Scheer: The fact of the matter is under Justin Trudeau, life will continue to get more expensive. He will continue to raise taxes. His carbon tax will go up. He’s afraid to tell you how much it will go up by. Under the Conservative plan, we’ll balance the budget, protect core services, and lower taxes for all Canadians.
Rosemary Barton: Mr. Trudeau, Mr. Trudeau, five seconds to respond.
Rt. Hon. Justin Trudeau: Our price on pollution helps Canadians more than – than removing it does.
Rosemary Barton: OK.
Elizabeth May: Climate emergency —
Rosemary Barton: That’s it. Thank you. That brings us to the end of this segment and to the end of this debate. We want to thank all of you, of course, for taking the time, our questioners tonight and all of you for watching live, in person, and on your various screens.
Just a reminder, as Mr. Blanchet hinted at, that French language debate is later on this week, Thursday at 8:00 p.m. Eastern. On behalf of all my wonderful moderators and everyone here, have a good night.