What did that leader say? Find out here. Read our full transcript of #firstdaebate, separated by the four topics—the economy, Indigenous affairs, energy and the environment and foreign policy.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
SEGMENT ONE: THE ECONOMY
SEGMENT TWO: INDIGENOUS AFFAIRS
SEGMENT THREE: ENERGY AND THE ENVIRONMENT
SEGMENT FOUR: FOREIGN POLICY
Paul Wells: The 2019 election campaign is underway. In a world of constant surprise and deepening uncertainty, Canadians will elect a new parliament on October 21st. And tonight Maclean’s and City TV are bringing you the first national leaders’ debate of the 2019 campaign—now with 25 per cent fewer leaders. We’ve invited the leaders of the same four parties we invited the last time you saw me here in 2015—three of them accept it. Elizabeth May, the leader of the Green Party. Andrew Scheer, the leader of the Conservative Party. And Jagmeet Singh, the leader of the New Democratic Party. We also invited Justin Trudeau, the leader of the Liberal Party. He declined which is absolutely his right. We left the invitation and his podium open, right up to air time. Why have a debate without him? Because in Canada we elect parliaments, not presidents. Every major party can influence the next four years and every party has a case to make and to defend. And in Canada, the right to ask questions is never bestowed by some authority, it belongs to everybody. Tonight’s format is simple. The night is divided into four issue areas: the economy, Indigenous issues, energy and the environment, and foreign affairs. I’ll ask each leader a question on each issue. That leader will have a minute to respond before we open the floor for a free-flowing debate. All leaders have agreed that I can intervene at any time to follow up, ask new questions or clarify where appropriate. So let’s begin with our first issue, the economy. And the first question on the economy goes to Elizabeth May of the Green Party. Maybe your economic ideas aren’t widely known. You’ve called for a guaranteed livable income for every Canadian. Now the parliamentary budget officer reported in 2018 that a similar guaranteed basic income program would cost $43 billion a year on top of the cost of the existing programs it would replace. Is that realistic?
Elizabeth May: Yeah, hey Paul, let me just do a shout-out to my fellow Rotarians who are watching, and I pledge to abide by the four-way test at all times, should I become prime minister, or in the rest of my political life. Our plans are very realistic. We have submitted our budget and our plans to the Parliamentary Budget Office; our planks are being costed. In the case of guaranteed livable income, It’s a project that will take some years to bring into place because we need to negotiate with every municipality and the provinces. We need to set the guaranteed level income at a level which is indeed liveable and we know that across this country that’s a different measure. But we’ll be able to wrap up and end the programs. Now the Parliamentary Budget Office is only looking at the costs with the programs that they identified. There are other programs that PBL missed in that analysis plus the benefits to our health care system would be enormous. The reduction of basically housing people in the most expensive housing possible, which is in penitentiaries—a hundred thousand dollars a year per prisoner— instead of making sure that we invest early in eliminating poverty in this country. We can afford to do it; we can’t afford not to.
Paul Wells: Okay. Thank you for that, Ms May. Andrew Scheer, does that sound good to you?
Andrew Scheer: Well, you know, when you’re talking about adding tens of billions of dollars, $43 billion dollars to the costs of government, that all comes from somewhere, that comes from the economy. That means that there is less prosperity and less growth, less economic activity that lifts people out of poverty. And in the preamble to the question we heard a lot about the effect of that deficit, and we’ve seen what long-term permanent deficits have done to this country in the past. Justin Trudeau promised that the budget would be balanced, that the budget would balance itself, this year. Instead we see massive deficits as far as the eye can see years into the future. That puts a huge strain on our social services like health care and education and it means that right after the election he will raise your taxes when he doesn’t need your money, but he still needs your vote. Conservatives are focused on creating economic growth. That is what truly lifts people out of poverty.
Jagmeet Singh: I mean we heard from what’s going on in Canada. We know that people are struggling. I meet people every day that are worried about the future. They tell me that they’re not sure if they’re going to be able to make ends meet. I’ve met moms who are struggling because they’re worried about if they can provide for their kids. I met seniors who can’t afford the medication they need. And really it all comes down to one thing. Governments in Ottawa, whether they’ve been conservative or in this case particularly with Mr. Trudeau,the Liberals, governments have always made decisions that seem to make life easier for the richest and hardest for everyone else. And we’ve got to change that. That’s why we believe in investing in people, making sure we build a health care system that includes medication coverage for all, that we make sure that seniors never have to worry about the costs of medication, that young families don’t have to worry about the cost of finding a home.
Andrew Scheer: If I could just correct you on one point. My previous conservative government, our tax cuts overwhelmingly benefited low- and middle-income Canadians. Under Justin Trudeau life has become less affordable. It’s harder and harder for people to get ahead. We saw real increases in wages for low- and middle-income families.
Jagmeet Singh: Let’s talk about those tax cuts. We know that with tax cuts, Mr. Scheer’s tax cuts, what they mean is tax cuts for the wealthiest. But that means cuts to the families that are struggling.
Elizabeth May: If I can go back to where you started, Andrew, you’re right. We have to find money for these things. That’s why the PBO is costing a platform that for us includes increasing taxes on the wealthy, eliminating the loopholes that overwhelmingly only benefit the top one per cent, stock-option loopholes, capital gains. The ways in which we deal with money in this country, we can actually find much more revenue. We don’t tax Google or Facebook. They take billions out of this economy. We could raise the corporate tax rate 21 per cent.
Jagmeet Singh: I want to tell you one thing that Mr. Scheer just pointed out. He said he would cut taxes. He would certainly cut taxes, no question about that. He would cut taxes for the wealthy and he would cut services for families. That is exactly what Conservatives do. We’ve seen it here in Ontario. Mr. Ford promised to cut taxes. He did. He cut taxes for the wealthiest. And then he cut services for families–autism funding, education funding. All the things that families rely on.
Andrew Scheer: I have made a firm commitment that under a Conservative government I will ensure that funding for health care and social services continues to increase. But those services are threatened. If you want to talk about Ontario, we can see that Justin Trudeau is trying to do to Canada what Kathleen Wynne and the Liberals did to Ontario–when they ran massive deficits that put strains on our public services and led to higher taxes. Under that type of program, our federal government will find it harder and harder to fund those programs. And the only way to pay for that is through higher taxes which will make life less affordable. The only way to help people get ahead, the only way to help people get ahead is to leave more money in their pockets.
Elizabeth May: We need 100 per cent universal pharmacare. That’s the best way to control health care.
Paul Wells: Well, we’ve started a pretty good debate tonight already. Let’s go to our second question. This one’s for Andrew Scheer, the leader of the Conservative Party. And all the issues that you have raised in the last few minutes are going to come up later in the debate. Mr. Scheer, new conservative governments and two large provinces this year, Alberta and Ontario, have discovered worse than expected deficits requiring bigger than expected spending cuts. If your new conservative government were to discover the same situation at the federal level, would you cut spending or push back your target for a balanced budget. And if you’d cut, what would you cut?
Andrew Scheer: Well, I’m confident that we will not have to encounter those scenarios because we are going to have a fully costed platform that will show Canadians how we will get back to balanced budgets over a responsible period of time, five years, which will allow us to maintain increases to important services like health care and education. We will run a government that lives within its means so that we stop borrowing money, we see more and more Canadian taxpayers dollars going just to pay the interest rate on that debt. Under Justin Trudeau tens of billions of dollars have been added to the debt and that means more and more of your hard-earned dollars is going to pay banks and bond-holders for that debt. By getting back to balanced budgets, we can lower taxes, put more money in your pocket, so that you can get ahead. That is what this election is all about. Who do you trust to make life more affordable and help you get ahead? Our plan will do exactly that.
Elizabeth May: With all due respect, I didn’t hear an answer from Andrew.
Paul Wells: Mr. Singh goes first and then we’ll open it up.
Jagmeet Singh: Thank you very much, Paul. Let’s be really clear. When conservatives talk about cuts to taxes they’re gonna cut services, that’s exactly what they do. Here in Ontario, people have felt it. They’ve felt that cuts. Those who are most vulnerable are seeing their services cut. Kids who are living with autism, their services have been cut. What we believe is that Mr. Trudeau, same thing. He believes that the priority should be making life easier for the wealthiest. I believe it has to be different and we can do it differently. We need to invest in families. Our plan is by 2020 to expand our health care system to include medication coverage for all. I met a 10-year-old kid and he told me that he lived with a chronic illness and he wasn’t worried about his chronic illness. He was worried about how much his medication cost his mom and dad. A 10-year-old kid felt like a burden. I want that 10-year-old kid to know that with our plan, he will not feel like a burden.
Andrew Scheer: The fact of the matter is Conservatives in the past have got Canada back to balanced budgets while maintaining historic increases in investments for health care and education. That is our track record and that is our commitment going into the future.
Paul Wells: Mr. Scheer, Ms. May actually has a point. The question was, in the event of a surprise, which priority goes first: Do you push back a balanced budget, a balanced budget, or do you cut deeper than you would have planned to?
Andrew Scheer: We have made a commitment to get back to balanced budgets over five years. We are going to control the rate of growth of government spending—that is how we’re going to get back to balanced budgets. We have seen record levels of spending. We’re going to maintain those levels. We’re also going to eliminate wasteful Liberal spending, like the $250 million that Justin Trudeau sent the Asian Infrastructure Bank to build roads and bridges in other countries. We’re going to repatriate that money and that’s how we’re going to get back to balanced budgets. We’re going to do it at the same time as increasing health care and education transfers. I have been very clear on that. That is a firm commitment. So that we can lower taxes and put more money in the pockets of Canadians.
Elizabeth May: By coincidence, Mr. Scheer and the Green Party have the same target for balanced budgets, within five years. We have a lot of revenue coming in from new streams including putting a surcharge on banks’ profits, bringing in higher taxes on large transnational corporations, and many others that will be in our platform. But if I were faced with the choice that you just put to us, I would not cut spending and services. We need to massively expand services, we need 100 per cent universal pharmacare. Jagmeet’s right. We have to bring in pharmacare, we’re the only country that has universal health care that doesn’t have pharmacare. We need to eliminate tuition so our kids can get a good start or at any age improve your education, experience the best you can be. And we need to fund post-secondary education much more significantly than we do now.
Paul Wells: So you put budget balance well back in your list of priorities.
Elizabeth May: It’s not ideological. We aim to live within our means.
Jagmeet Singh: It’s clear families are struggling right now. We recently heard that nearly half of Canadians are just $200 away from not being able to pay their bills just now. It was means let me sort of you know is going to make our Mr. Trudeau has already made life more unaffordable, he’s promised a lot and not delivered. He’s hurt families by neglecting. Mr. Scheer is gonna do even worse. He’s gonna promise you a couple extra dollars in your pocket, but it’s going to hurt. Because he’s going to cut all the services you depend on. We believe in investing in those services. We know what Conservatives do. We’ve seen them do it in Alberta, we’ve seen them do in Ontario, Mr. Scheer is gonna do the same thing. What we believe is, why don’t we tackle one of the biggest concerns people are faced with, and that’s the housing crisis. To do that we need to tackle speculators and money laundering but it also means we’ve got to invest in building homes, quality homes, and we’re committed to building five hundred thousand new homes across this country.
Andrew Scheer: The issue is that when times are good, that is the time to pay down debts, that there’s more flexibility. There are some very troubling signs on the horizon that Canada may be heading into some difficult periods. And unlike the previous Cconservative government that paid down debt to give us flexibility that allowed us to be the last into recession and the first one out, we are going to hit those difficult times in a very difficult position without that type of flexibility. That increased debt cost taxpayers. It means more of your hard-earned dollars is going to pay banks and bond-holders. We want to get back to balanced benefits so that we can put that money back into services and find new ways to lower your taxes.
Jagmeet Singh: It’s funny that you mention that, Mr. Scheer, because your government in the past has consistently benefited the wealthiest. It has not worked for people. Mr. Trudeau has done the same thing. Now people at the very top say things that aren’t people at the very top continue to be benefited by Mr. Trudeau and by Mr. Scheer. What we need to do is make laws and make rules that actually help people out. We’ve got to people at the heart of our decisions. We know that Conservatives aren’t going to do that, Mr. Trudeau certainly has done it, he hasn’t shown up for four years for people. He hasn’t shown up today for the debate. What we need to do is stand up for the people. Let’s take on the powerful interests.
Andrew Scheer: I think I’ve found some consensus. I think we can all agree that Justin Trudeau is afraid of his record and that’s why he’s not here tonight. He has made life more expensive and mismanaged the economy.
Elizabeth May: We can agree on that.
Paul Wells: I’m glad we agree on the hard points.
Elizabeth May: We can now sing kumbayah and keep going.
Paul Wells: The next question is for Jagmeet Singh. Mr. Singh, you’re promising a huge expansion of health care in Canada, a so-called head-to-toe approach that would include dental care pharmacare eye care home care long term care all written into the Canada Health Act. How long will that take and how will the limited tax increases in the NDP platform cover the cost of all that.
Jagmeet Singh: It’s about choices Paul. We’d make different choices. We look at some of the decisions that Mr. Trudeau has made over the past year. He gave 14 billion dollars away to the wealthiest corporations so they could buy corporate jets and limousines. He bought a pipeline for 4.5 billion dollars. That’s almost 20 billion dollars that he committed to the wealthiest and the most powerful. We’d make different choices. I think about a young woman that I met in London. Her name is Jessica. She’s a single mom. She’s pregnant and she’s got medication that she cannot afford. And I think about what she’s going through and I say, you know she shouldn’t have to worry about the cost of medication on top of the other fears she has. So what we want to do is bring in universal medication coverage for all, in one year, by 2020. We’re going to sit down with all the premiers across this country across this country and say to them, when it comes down to your health care with the same amount that you’re spending right now, we’ll back that up with 10 billion dollars to fund every single person in your province. We know that unlike Mr. Scheer says 95 per cent of Canadians are covered. They’re not. We’re going to cover you because we’re in it for you.
Paul Wells: Elizabeth May I saw you nodding.
Elizabeth May: Well I agree about with Jagmeet about universal pharmacare. It’s essential we can’t afford not to do it. But I do, I am troubled by the numbers, because I wanted…we try and the Greens…Greens support working towards coverage of dental. But when we went to PBL four years ago to check out the costs it came to 30 billion dollars, and we realised we couldn’t afford it. So our platform, which is fully costed, will be released soon, looks at providing dental right now for low-income Canadians. Because I don’t see how Jagmeet, how you found the money where how your budget, as Paul said. It doesn’t reflect the kind of costs for universal, free dental. Universal health care through pharmacare is essential. It will help us bring down costs. It will save us billions of dollars a year but we can only afford low income dental. Okay.
Jagmeet Singh: So I mean we know that dental care is something essential. I mean, dental care dental health, is not something we can separate from our overall health. And we believe we can’t afford not to invest in dental care right now. There’s far too many Canadians that can’t afford their dental care and they end up in hospitals and they don’t get their initial problem treated because there is no dental coverage. We believe we can do it. I’ve met so many families that are struggling with the costs of dental care, and it’s a commitment of ours. We’ll start with pharmacare for all, and then through revenues including closing offshore tax havens and other loopholes, making sure we ensure that those at the very top…
Elizabeth May: …We looked at all of those
Paul Wells: I want to hear you briefly on all of this.
Andrew Scheer: You know you cannot increase health care services when you’re paying more and more money to pay the service charges on the debt. And that is what all these plans will lead to: higher and higher taxes which take money out of the economy, which means that there’s less economic growth, which means there’s fewer opportunities for people trying to lift themselves out of poverty. Every dollar that goes to a bondholder or a banker for the debt that they hold, is another dollar that you can’t put into expand those services. That’s why it’s important to have a responsible plan to get back to balanced budgets. That’s how we’re going to lower taxes to leave more money in your pocket. And it is true that up to 95 per cent of Canadians are eligible for pharmacare…are eligible for prescription drug coverage, and that is why a government should be focused on those people who fall through the cracks. To Mind fill in the gaps…
Paul Wells: I’m going to call an audible here folks who we’ve certainly seen some stark differences among you on on these issues. I’ve got a question that doesn’t fit into our issue areas, but that is one of the questions of the week, which is Bill 21 in Quebec, which will forbid public servants, which today forbids public servants from wearing religious signs including teachers. And the Premier of Quebec Francois Legault said this: he’s calling on all of you to stay out of that debate and not to challenge it in law. He wants you all to make an undertaking not just for now, but forever to never challenge that legislation. Quebeckers he says, have decided. He’s going to get what he wants isn’t he? Ms. May first.
Elizabeth May: I find it very distressing. Bell 21 is clearly an infringement on individual human rights. We also have a situation where our federation, and as someone who believes like an competent and fully able to be prime minister, I take it very seriously. When I look back at our history of divisions within this country, separatism within Quebec, I don’t want to fuel. I want to work to find a way that ensures the rights of every Quebecer or wearing a hijab or a turban or a yarmulke, that they’re actually protected. And it may be that we can find a solution where we leave Quebec alone, but we find jobs for anyone that Quebec has taken off of their payroll for working in a government job. And how you qualify kindergarten teachers is a government job. Never mind.
Paul Wells: So you’d give to people who have to leave?
Elizabeth May: Yes.
Paul Wells: Andrew Scheer…
Andrew Scheer: I made my views on this position very clear. The Conservative Party will always stand up for individual liberties. We are the party of the Bill of Rights. We are the party that supports individual expression. This is not something that we would ever think of imposing at the federal level. And right now people in Quebec who are opposed to this legislation, or affected by this legislation, are pursuing it in the courts, as is their right. And ultimately the courts will make a decision on that.
Paul Wells: A Conservative government won’t join them in the courts.
Andrew Scheer: We’re not going to intervene in the case that people who are against this bill are doing that. They are using the courts as is the right and the courts will ultimately decide on that.
Paul Wells: Jagmeet Singh.
Jagmeet Singh: You know I think about what this bill says to a lot of kids out there that are made to feel like they don’t belong because of the way they look. I remember when I was made to feel like I couldn’t do things because of the way I looked. This is a law that effectively says that not just do we discriminate people maybe in society, but now it’s legislated; it’s legislated discrimination. And it’s sad and it’s hurtful. And I think about all the people that wanted to pursue becoming an educator or maybe wanted to become a lawyer or a judge, and how it’s telling them that they are less worthy and they don’t belong. What I do, I recognize that this is within the jurisdiction.
Paul Wells: You’ve got to wrap it up.
Jagmeet Singh: There is an important challenge going on right now and that’s an important challenge and I support that right to challenge this law in court. I’m hoping that I can send a message to people and Quebec that you can believe in who you are. You can celebrate your identity and contribute to society. And I’m hoping that I can send that message.
Paul Wells: Okay, so everyone going to court against that law in Quebec, these leaders wish you luck. And that concludes our discussion of economic issues
SEGMENT TWO: INDIGENOUS AFFAIRS
Paul Wells: Indigenous issues have rarely been at the centre of as many national debates as they’ve been over the past four years, from pipelines to clean drinking water to the inquiry into missing and murdered indigenous women and girls with its 231 recommendations or calls for justice. That’s why we’ve decided our second topic tonight will be Indigenous issues. I’ll warn leaders right now: I’m going to be a little bit more intervention as to making sure you don’t talk all over one another. It’s good to be excited, but we have to be comprehensible too. Andrew Shearer from the Conservative Party, you get the first question. Mr Scheer, last week the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal handed down a decision that could force the federal government to pay two billion dollars in compensation to First Nations children harmed by the on-reserve child welfare system. Would you appeal that decision or accept it?
Andrew Scheer: Well I would certainly acknowledge that the federal government has a unique responsibility as it relates to First Nations and especially Indigenous children both on and off reserve. It’s very important that these programs are offered to young Indigenous people to give them the exact same opportunities that every single other Canadian has. It’s very important that the federal government works in partnership with First Nations communities. I’ve got a great relationship with Grand Chief Perry Bellegarde. He actually comes from my home riding Regina-Qu’Appelle. That’s why our government, our Conservative government, will be focused on practical things that can alleviate the types of challenges that are facing Indigenous Canadians. That includes me ensuring that we end long-term boil water advisories, that there are partnerships in place to set people on reserve and off reserve, can have access to the same types of jobs that other Canadians do. That means saying yes to important natural resource projects that give people an opportunity. We will of course abide by court decisions and see the types of impacts it has on our abilities to provide those programs. But of course we’re going to be there as a willing partner.
Paul Wells: Ms. May.
Elizabeth May: I’m pleased to hear you say if I did understand your answer you will fully enforce the new ruling from the Human Rights Tribunal because we have seen millions of dollars in wasted legal efforts to quash the efforts of Cindy Blackstock and the Child and Family Services and Caring Society. This is a huge victory for the work that’s been done to protect Indigenous children with the Canadian government fighting them tooth and nail. And the things you’ve mentioned to Andrew are essential, but not at all sufficient to meet the challenge of truth, Justice and reconciliation, which means committing to fully, as we do as Greens, completely fulfilling the requirements on the recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, and the murdered missing Indigenous women’s inquiry. We will do these things and that’s just the beginning of working for real justice, which means allowing First Nations Indigenous Metis and Inuit societies that self-identify. They decide who is a member of their community, and we begin to let and encourage that we have communities and nations opt out of the Indian Act so we can end this structural violence.
Paul Wells: I just want to understand in the case of a Human Rights Tribunal decision like this, the federal government has 30 days to decide whether to refer it to a federal court.
Elizabeth May:That’s right.
Paul Wells: Which means that guy, the prime minister must make that decision during this campaign.
Elizabeth May: Yes.
Paul Wells: You would argue that he shouldn’t refer it to a federal court?
Elizabeth May: He must immediately accept that this is long overdue and Canada will fulfill long, in a period of injustice towards Indigenous children. We have more Indigenous children in care now than at the height of the residential schools. This is a crisis.
Paul Wells: Mr Scheer how would you respond.
Andrew Scheer: It’s essential that the outcome of these types of decisions actually gets the resources to the people that need it the most, and ensuring that this type of decision focuses the federal government’s efforts on creating those same types of opportunities that every other Canadian has, is the essential part here.
Jagmeet Singh: I didn’t hear if you would accept the ruling or not. This is Indigenous kids that are not getting equal funding the Human Rights Tribunal of Canada has ruled, and Mr. Trudeau certainly hasn’t listened to rulings in the past. He’s appealed four or five times previous rulings. Now Mr. Scheer it’s not surprising, but it is appalling that he hasn’t said that he would accept the ruling. Let me be very clear. Yes. A New Democratic government would accept the ruling. At a minimum, we shouldn’t be taking Indigenous kids to court. They deserve respect and dignity. That’s what reconciliation is all about at a basic level. We ensure that there’s equal funding. We also ensure that there’s clean drinking water, there’s access to quality homes, then we make sure that Indigenous people are treated as equal partners in decisions. I mean I’m appalled that Mr. Scheer, couldn’t just say, ‘yes, we wouldn’t appeal the decision.’
Paul Wells: On the broader question, don’t rulings like this demonstrate how much expectations and frustration have increased even in only the last four years. And Mr. Scheer, doesn’t that make it a much greater governing challenge than it was even the last time a Conservative was in power four years ago.
Andrew Scheer: No you’re absolutely right. And if there’s one area where Justin Trudeau raised expectations to levels that he has been a complete disappointment, it is on Indigenous files. We have seen the disdain that he has shown people that he had promised. As it relates to Grassy Narrows, an important improvement in health care service to those people, and the disdain and dismissive attitude he had to those people who are advocating on their behalf. I think we can all agree on that that the fact that there are still so many places in Canada where Indigenous children can’t drink the water, where they don’t have the access to…
Elizabeth May: With all due respect Andrew, it was Conservative senators that blocked the passage of the bill that passed in the House of Commons that we should honour the United Nations Declaration on the rights of Indigenous people. Those are your people…
Andrew Scheer: For very important reason, for a very important reason…
Elizabeth May: …Because they want to block Indigenous rights.
Andrew Scheer: Because they voted in that bill. In that bill there is a provision that would force governments to recognize that in order for big projects to go ahead, the types of job-creating projects that give people opportunity…
Elizabeth May: You actually would have to give free prior and informed consent.
Andrew Scheer: Sorry let me finish…Free prior and informed consent and that means that we would have tremendous uncertainty. It means that if there were so many…Sorry, sorry let me finish… This is very important. If there are Indigenous communities who want a project to proceed, they would be vetoed if there were some that were opposed. And part about respecting Indigenous rights, means respecting the right to say yes, and we do not live in a country where any one group of people…
Elizabeth May: Free prior and informed consent is the reason the Conservatives stopped the bill. Free prior and informed consent.
Andrew Scheer: Does that mean, you mean unanimity for big projects to go ahead?
Elizabeth May: We signed in, in the United Nations, the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. The government under Justin Trudeau said they would live up to it and we passed it in parliament.
Paul Wells: Let me jump ahead to the next question because this thing that moderators dread just happened. You started debating my next question before I got a chance to ask it. But I think it works so well. The next question is for Jagmeet Singh and it’s on Bill to C-262. Mr. Singh your colleague Romeo Saganash, has spent his last months as an MP promoting his private member’s bill to C-262 which called for Canadian laws to be brought into conformity with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. That bill died in the Senate because of Conservative opposition. Basically let’s keep going with this debate. Beyond the symbolism of that bill, how would it improve the daily lives of Indigenous people?
Jagmeet Singh: Well it’s a pretty transformative piece of legislation. What it essentially says is that we should treat Indigenous peoples with respect as equal partners. And it’s something that we haven’t seen by Mr. Trudeau. In fact Mr. Scheer alluded to it but I want to just spell it out. I went to Grassy Narrows. This is a community surrounded by lakes and rivers, a beautiful community surrounded by water, and the people who live there wake up every day and look at those lakes and rivers knowing that those lakes and rivers are poisoned by mercury. Now people who are deeply concerned about the poisoning of their water, who suffer the impacts of mercury poisoning, which results in shakes and dizziness, they live in that with that threat. Some of those activist went to a private fundraiser, and behind closed doors we saw the real Justin Trudeau. What he did was he mocked activists who are concerned about poisoned water. He mocked them, made fun of them, and then people clapped and applauded. That is what you get with Mr. Trudeau. I mean these are people that deserve justice and fairness, and that’s why I would implement the declaration. But most importantly, I would assure that clean drinking water, clean homes, access education are a right. We would establish that.
Paul Wells: Mr. Scheer, on the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous people.
Andrew Scheer: Again this is a very important provision. It’s there are many laudable goals within this piece of legislation. Many things that the Conservative government that I will support as Prime Minister. But we cannot create a system in this country where one group of individuals, one Indigenous community, can hold hostage large projects that employ so many Indigenous Canadians. Mining for example is the single largest employer for Indigenous Canadians. With this bill is implemented we will see the complete blockages of large projects that build the types of prosperity. There were over 37 partnerships agreements signed with the Northern Gateway pipeline project. There are many Indigenous Canadians who will benefit from Trans Mountain. And yes there are people who are opposed it, but we do not live in a country where any one group of people have a view.
Elizabeth May: The language you are using is so inappropriate when talking about Indigenous Canadians. You are missing the fact that section 35 of the Constitution already is interpreted by the courts; goes almost all the way to what the United Nations Declaration of Rights of Indigenous people.
Andrew Scheer: Consult is much different than…
Elizabeth May: It’s not, ‘I will consult with you ’til you agree with what we’ve already decided to do.’ That’s not consultation and it’s not. It’s what Trudeay thinks is consultation, it’s obviously what you think is consultation, but it has to be free prior informed consent.
Paul Wells: It is true, Mr. Scheer though, that the judge in the Trans Mountain decision last last year said that a duty to consult doesn’t mean waiting until the people you’re consulting stop talking and then do what you want.
Andrew Scheer: No you’re absolutely right. The judges and the court decisions on this have been clear. The duty to consult means real consultations. It means dynamic consultations. We saw the Trudeau Liberals fail to do that properly. It means that where appropriate…
Elizabeth May: …We saw the Harper Conservatives fail to do it too.
Andrew Scheer: Where appropriate, those concerns…Those concerns need to be addressed. But it does not mean that any one Indigenous community or another can hold up projects if they happen to disagree with it. We have to live in a country where we can have the types of confidence from investors to build things, to get people working. That is the only way to build prosperity for Indigenous Canadians.
Jagmeet Singh: So that’s not at all what’s going to happen first of all. You use language like “hold hostage.” I mean that’s just incredibly disrespectful. No, no…I listened to you…Sir, I listened to you.
Paul Wells: Jagmeet Singh.
Jagmeet Singh: What happened is he’s talking as if he doesn’t understand the reality. You’re going to have to work with communities; if you don’t have communities buying in, projects won’t go ahead, and it’s a matter of respect and dignity. And we should move forward with respect and dignity. It’s in fact better for business if we ensure that we have a process that we know is going to work. We’re going to work with communities and make sure that they feel engaged, involved and yes, that means they can say no. And yes that also what they can say, yes. It means we need to work together and partnership is the only way forward. We can’t have Mr. Scheer’s approachm, which is to ram projects through please.
Jagmeet Singh: What happens if one Indigenous community says no?
Elizabeth May: We’re talking nature, not communities, not groups. The language you are using Andrew shows no respect.
Paul Wells: Okay, Ms. May, does the Conservative leader not have a point? Is there not division among Native nations over some of these projects?
Elizabeth May: First to say that when when Andrew tries to deflect the reasons that they stopped the acceptance of the United Nations Declaration of Rights of Indigenous People, and ignoring the the Section 35 requirements that are already there. He threw it. Well Trudeau did it wrong on Trans Mountain. Okay. Harper did it wrong on Enbrigde. Same thing. We have governments that think that consultation is to keep talking at Indigenous Nations until and groups until they agree. Now in the context of territorial recognition, you can’t treat Indigenous Canadians as though they were a an interest group or a lobby. The rights that they have in the constitution, and which we as federal leaders have a feduciary responsibility to protect even under section 35, much less under UNDRIP, require a rootedness in territory. So with the territory of the Squamish and the Musqueam and the Tsleil-Waututh what truth will be irrevocably destroyed if Trans Mountain goes ahead and there’s a single dilbit leak…a single one.
Paul Wells: Let’s move on there, because we will be spending a whole block later talking about pipelines. So I want to go to my last question on Indigenous issues specifically. And that question is for Elizabeth May of the Green Party. Ms. May, in interviews you suggested that if SNC level and were found guilty on corruption charges, the company should be ordered by a court to perform community service by repairing water infrastructure on reserves. Did you mean that as a serious proposal? And if you didn’t, what’s your real policy for improving on reserve infrastructure?
Elizabeth May: Well of course, our policy on on-reserve infrastructure is that every First Nation and every Indigenous community should have drinkable water and that’s a responsibility of the federal government. So the connection to First Nations around my approach for SNC Lavalin is just one example of what could be done. Let’s be clear, SNC Lavalin needs to go to court. The DPA agreement is still hanging out there and after the electio, whether it’s a Conservative or a Liberal sitting in the PMO, they are all riddled with influence from SNC Lavalin. They have,SNC Lavalin had its tentacles right in to the civil service at the most senior level, at a way that requires an inquiry. But what do you do to protect the workers, okay? That’s what Justin Trudeau’s excuse: gotta protect the workers. Well, the workers have it. The corporation has billions of dollars of existing contracts. There is no evidence that jobs are at stake, but if you wanted to come up with something creative which could not be Green Party policy it would have to be up to a judge to say I’d like to order this company to do community service; do the work that needs to be done maybe in transportation infrastructure in a downtown. Maybe fixing the waterline under the Fraser River from Mission B.C. which if it’s 38 years old it’s already showing cracks. Someone has to pay to do that work. Why not make SNC Lavalin do it, but no profit, no profit line in the work they do.
Paul Wells: Mr. Singh your MPs were quite critical of this idea.
Jagmeet Singh: I mean it’s a bit ludicrous to suggest that we should be building public infrastructure through punishment of a multi-billion dollar corporation is a ludicrous idea. We should be we should be building public infrastructure through public dollars. We should be investing in not P3s where profit is the motive, but where we publicly…
Elizabeth May: I took the profit out of it. That’s the whole proposal.
Jagmeet Singh: We shouldn’t be proposing that a private company do it that way.
Elizabeth May: Who do you think builds infrastructure on First Nations?
Jagmeet Singh: We should have a public tender and a public tender should be providing the services…
Elizabeth May: But the public tender goes to private corporations.
Jagmeet Singh: No one would ever suggest that in a city like Toronto that if the water was not clean that we would ask a corporation as punishment to clean it. We would clean the water. I mean people across this country deserve clean water…
Elizabeth May: Your MP…On your letterhead, the NDP issued a press release that was a fat big fat lie. Claimed I wanted to privatize water infrastructure. The Green Party doesn’t support P3s. The Green Party is against privatizing infrastructure, and is fully against…
Jagmeet Singh: You could just accept that was a bad idea.
Elizabeth May: Well it certainly was misinterpreted and it is not policy of the Green party.
Andrew Scheer: You started off the question on a very topical note and that is Justin Trudeau’s corruption scandal as it relates to SNC Lavalin and the fact that he broke the law. He is the only prime minister that has ever been convicted of breaking the law And he lied about it. And now we find out that the RCMP is looking into this case with the view to possible obstruction of justice charges, and he is obstructing their attempts to get the truth. So I want to use this opportunity to again call on Justin Trudeau to do the right thing and wave full cabinet privilege in cabinet conference to allow people to testify to the RCMP, so we can get to the bottom of this.
Elizabeth May: Don’t you agree with me that we need a full inquiry. I don’t think we’re going to get an RCMP inquiry is internal. I think we need the equivalent of a Gomery inquiry because we have to get corporate influence out of government. SNC Lavalin is not the only large transnational that can get people in PMO and PCO to say jump when they say jump.
Jagmeet Singh: Yeah I think you’re absolutely right. That’s what we started with when we were first asked the question, we came out and said there should be a public inquiry. But I want to make something really clear. Whether we have Mr. Trudeau in government and aLliberal government or Mr. Scheer in government, at the end of the day, both these parties, they continue to make it easier for the rich to get ahead. That’s their priority. So it wouldn’t have been much different. The PMO was office if it was Mr. Scheer office, would have got the call directly from SNC all the wealthiest corporations either donate Liberal or donate to…They donate to either Conservatives or they donate to Liberals because they know…
Paul Wells: There’s a there’s a there’s a pretty simple test of, your attitude towards us and see, Mr. Scheer: if you become prime minister will the public prosecutor be permitted to decide whether SNC continues to trial?
Andrew Scheer: Absolutely. The core of this issue is whether or not we want to live in a country where powerful politicians get to pick up the phone and tell prosecutors how to do their job. The whole root of this is that Justin Trudeau didn’t like the answer that his attorney general gave him. So he fired her. That is a huge attack on the independence of our justice system.
Paul Wells: And I can hear so many people saying right now, this was supposed to be about Indigenous issues. So I do want to as…You’re saying Mr. Scheer, if there’s time, because you’ve already been addressing the question. How do you fix dirty water on Indigenous communities? It’s a it’s an intractable problem it seems.
Jagmeet Singh: It’s a huge problem. Paul, I don’t see how in a country as wealthy as ours in the year 2019 with the technology that we have, that there is any excuse for clean drinking water not being available to everybody. I reject any excuse. I reject any sort of plausible denial that this is not possible. It is possible. We have the resources. What we’ve lacked is the courage to do so. Mr. Trudeau jumped quickly to give 14 billion dollars to the wealthiest corporations to buy corporate jets and limousines. He jumped quickly to buy a pipeline. If this is a priority it would have got done. With New Democrats we would make this a priority.
Paul Wells: We’re nearly out of time. Mr. Scheer same question.
Andrew Scheer: This is a huge issue and one that a Conservative government will take you seriously. I will absolutely ensure that I sit down with Indigenous leaders to find ways to address this. It means investments in infrastructure on reserve it also means training people on reserve to be able to maintain and upgrade and manage these types of facilities. That’s a partnership that I’m willing to engage.
Elizabeth May: It’s straight forward. Water infrastructure in Indigenous communities needs to be owned by Indigenous communities and the workforce that keeps that system working needs to be from people in the community. The ownership with top-notch equipment will ensure that every community has safe drinking water.
Paul Wells: That concludes our discussion of indigenous issues. I’ll be back in a minute with the leaders.
SEGMENT THREE: ENERGY AND THE ENVIRONMENT
Paul Wells: The first question on energy and the environment goes to Jagmeet Singh of the NDP. Mr Singh after your party lost the by election to the Greens in a name over the spring your candidates found Robinson called on you to abandon your support for the LNG Canada mega project. That’s a 40-billion-dollar project with hundreds of jobs attached to it. It’s also heavily subsidized by Justin Trudeau’s government and by British Columbia’s NDP government. Do you still support it?
Jagmeet Singh: What I support is the fact that British Columbia is province one of the the best climate action plans in the country. One of the best climate action plans in Canada. And they’ve made sure that everything they do is going to fit within their bold climate action plan and I support that. What I don’t support is Mr. Trudeau and his government who has absolutely no plan to include something like the Trans Mountain into their projects. It is disrespectful to indigenous nations that they haven’t considered the potential risks to the beautiful coastline in B.C.. One spill of a diluted oil bitumen could result in massive devastation. And I think about what’s at stake. We know that we’ve got to move to an economy that is zero emission. That is the future. We know we’ve got to go there. I remember a mom that I met who told me she was worried about the future. And asked her why. She said I’m worried about climate crisis. And she had a baby in her arms, and she said I’m worried about the future because I’m worried if my daughter will be able to breathe the air. And some days in British Columbia because of the massive forest fires. We have a real crisis and we have to have the courage to act.
Paul Wells: I want to make sure I understand. If you form government, If you have the deciding vote in a minority government that LNG Canada project goes ahead because the NDP government in B.C. wants it.
Jagmeet Singh: What I can tell you is that we would immediately end all fossil fuel subsidies. We believe that those fossil fuel subsidies need to be ended. We need to be investing into clean energy. That would be our commitment.
Paul Wells: Andrew Scheer you get the first response.
Andrew Scheer: Well it’s always been the case that the NDP don’t support developing our natural resources. What we now know is that neither do the Trudeau Liberals. His carbon tax has not put a price on pollution. It has given a massive exemption to the country’s largest emitters. Large emitters can receive an exemption of up to 90 per cent of the carbon tax. But hardworking individuals pay the full cost as do small- and-medium-sized businesses. And as it relates to the LNG plan, that the only reason why it was allowed to proceed was because it was given an exemption from the carbon tax. So the only way you can get big projects built in this country under the Liberals is when the Liberals don’t apply their own policies. Of course Conservatives I support LNG projects that get our natural resources to foreign markets that also displace dirtier foreign sources of energy. We can do more to lower global emissions by exporting more of what Canada does so well.
Paul Wells: Ms. May.
Elizabeth May: We have to move away from fossil fuels as rapidly as possible. Our policies are science driven and I’m afraid neither Mr saying nor Mr Scheer understands that neither Mr. Trudeau understands climate science. If they understood the peril we are in right now as a human family on this planet the need to hold to one point five degrees Celsius means you can’t proceed with the Trans Mountain pipeline you can’t proceed with LNG Canada which by the way isn’t Canadian it’s owned by mostly multinationals from Asia including PetroChina.
Paul Wells: First question on foreign affairs goes to Jagmeet of the NDP. Mr. Singh while a lot of my questions have been on very specific files, this one’s a bit more general. The fastest growing foreign policy challenge facing Canada today has to be China. We want trade and investment ties that are good for the Canadian economy, but we worry about human rights and the rule of law. How would you reconcile or at least balance these conflicting values.
Jagmeet Singh: Well I think it’s a good question Paul. We have to do exactly that. We’ve got to balance the interests. When we look at the track record so far, and we all hope that with Mr. Trudeau, and I can admit that I hoped as well, that he would actually truly bring Canada back on the international platform. There was a lot of difficult years with Harper, who had really embarrassed Canada in a lot of ways. Now with Mr. Trudeau it’s the same thing. There’s been a massive.. The China situation has been a complete debacle. India, the trip was also a complete mess. And now we’ve negotiated a trade deal that makes it worse for workers. It makes it worse for farmers. He makes medication prices go up, and in general what we’re seeing is, again and again, this emphasis on making life easier for the people at the very top and harder for everyone else. I would approach trade as a, free trade is not the way forward. It makes corporations benefit. I’d approach it through fair trade. And with China, same idea. We have to make sure that we have a consistent approach that balances our need for economic development. But that does not create an unlevel playing field for our workers, who cannot compete unless there’s equal environmental rules and worker’s rights.
Paul Wells: Elizabeth May.
Elizabeth May: Elizabeth May I have to say that anyone who gives an answer confidently saying they know what to do with China, isn’t telling the truth. China right now, and Canada’s relationship with China are imperiled by some rather large forces that are outside of our control. Donald Trump is poking China with a stick and creating a trade war. We’re caught in the middle. The arrest and the extradition request for Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou has create a situation where our number one concern should b, and much as I’m concerned about China stopping canola imports and turning down our hog products, the number one concern must be the safety of Canadians. Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor should be our concern right now, not trade, not anything else. And that means that Canada’s diplomatic relations with China have to deepen, have to show that we are serious about working with them. We are in a situation where anyone, as I said, anyone who says there are easy answers here, is talking out of their hat. It is a very difficult situation. Donald Trump is difficult and unpredictable to put it mildly. Meanwhile the People’s Republic of China is a country which shows no respect for human rights. It is not a dream. Obviously, it is a to detect totalitarian dictatorship, and thanks to Stephen Harper, we are bound by the Canada-China Investment Treaty, so that every state-owned enterprise from the People’s Republic of China that a operates in Kansas is under the threat of Chinese retaliation.
Paul Wells: Mr. Scheer.
Andrew Scheer: There are some very specific things that a government can do to stand up for our interests. Something that Justin Trudeau has failed to do. This conflict with the government of China has been going on for months now. And it was only in the last few days that Trudeau took the step of even naming an ambassador. There is no reason why it took him that long. Also, we can show resolve; we can stand up for ourselves. And as Prime Minister I will pull the funding from the China-run Asian infrastructure bank. I do not understand, Canadians don’t understand why their tax dollars are being sent to build roads and bridges in other countries that China has the ability to influence. I would also start to take the steps necessary to show China that when they start blocking our exports that we will stand up for ourselves. But I will agree with you Ms. May. The two Canadians who are held illegally in China must be the focus of our concern. We need a reset in our relationship and it starts with having a prime minister that stands up for…
Elizabeth May: But if you cancel fossil fuel subsidies which Stephen Harper promised he would do in 2009, it would have an effect on dozens of state-owned enterprises from the People’s Republic of China like the partial owners PetroChina Kitimat owning part of the LNG project (Canada LNG it’s called), we’re throwing 220 million dollars in that…
Andrew Scheer: I’ve been very clear that I do not support a free trade deal with China at this time because of the role of state-owned enterprises…
Elizabeth May: But we’re already committed thanks to Stephen Harper’s cabinet which passed it under Royal prerogative.
Andrew Scheer: You’re misunderstanding what foreign investment protection act.
Elizabeth May: No, I’m afraid you haven’t read the Canada-China Investment Treaty.
Andrew Scheer: It gives Canadian businesses and investors the same types…It is…It’s essential.
Elizabeth May: No it doesn’t. It froze in time. No, no…you have to read…
Andrew Scheer:We can’t do business with another country if our investors don’t have the same protections.
Elizabeth May: You have to read Sold Down the Yangtze. You need to read what those who understand this agreement. It froze in place all of the discriminatory practices towards Canadian enterprises while giving the People’s Republic of China state-owned enterprises the right in secret tribunals to bring charges against Canada, and seek arbitration damages. And the first six months out of this agreement lets them lean on us in diplomatic forms, in closed doors, behind closed doors.
Jagmeet Singh: The situation right now with two Canadians being detained in China in deplorable conditions is something we’ve got to focus in on. It’s something that requires all of us working together to ensure that are return safely. They’re treated in a dignified and humane way. There’s been lots of concerns about that. There should be a focus, but when we talk about trade I think it’s important whether it’s with China or any other nation. We’ve got to look at the goal of our trade deals. So far the trade deals that I’ve seen have focused on free trade without really benefiting workers. I grew up in Windsor and I saw what free trade did. Unfettered free trade without protecting workers meant that the kids that I went to school with, their parents used to have great jobs in the auto-manufacturing sector. They lost those jobs and they’re struggling because there wasn’t a focus on making sure workers have a good opportunity.
Elizabeth May: We’re even subsidizing projects that outsource thousands of jobs.
Andrew Scheer: Free trade with the United States creates billions of dollars of economic activity creates well-paying jobs for hundreds of thousands of Canadians all across Canada.
Jagmeet Singh: But it doesn’t help people every day. We see our manufacturing sector has been hollowed out.
Andrew Scheer: You talked to the people.
Paul Wells: Yeah. Let’s uh, I feel that when petering out a little bit. So let’s go let’s go on to the next yhe next question and it’s for Andrew Scheer, the leader of the Conservative Party. Mr. Scheer in 2017 you wrote on Twitter that you were pro Brexit before it was cool. Are you still pro Brexit now that it isn’t?
Andrew Scheer: I’m always in favour of countries being able to chart their own destiny and control their own internal affairs and it is now up to British lawmakers and the British people to determine what happens next. My focus is on restoring Canada’s place in the world. We just talked about the difficulties that we’re having with China. It’s no wonder that the government of China doesn’t take Justin Trudeau seriously after he clowndc around in India and after he accepted concession after concession after concession to Donald Trump without getting any wins back for Canada. It’s no wonder that Canada has lost its place in the world under Justin Trudeau. I will restore the dignity of our country represent it abroad by standing up for Canadian interests and representing Canada with strength when we face difficult encounters.
Paul Wells: When you respond Mr. Singh I hope you’ll stay on Brexit at least for a bit.
Jagmeet Singh: Know for sure. I mean this is an issue where we’re seeing that if you negotiate deals deals that work in the benefit of people that they live in the country. We’ve seen massive benefits to having free-flowing trade between the European nations. They’ve done it in a way that’s created benefit for workers. It’s been beneficial for for the people. That’s how we’ve got to focus on our trade trade. We have to make sure that it’s done in a way that’s fair. And what people have had to strike the balance in Europe. They’ve done a good job of trying to strike the balance between making sure there’s a free flow and people able to have commerce, but doing in a way that doesn’t benefit the people at the very top and allow them to enrich themselves. But does it in a way that actually helps working people. And that’s my focus and with any trade there’s gotta be a focus…
Elizabeth May: It’s just that…Brexit is a tragedy of enormous proportions. What’s happened to our colleagues, the parliament of Westminster, the people of the U.K., is disastrous. The whole…And I want to get…It may sound like I’m leaving Brexit…But Brexit was a manipulation of public opinion through the invasion of the privacy rights of Brits from things like Cambridge Analytica. It was mining data and making up lies that perfectly fit the people who would then hear those lies. So the referendum was won through deceit. We must, I mean I hope and pray that my colleagues in Europe and in the British Parliament (and I do have one Green colleague Caroline Lucas) that they find their way through this because Boris Johnson’s bullying efforts will not work. Thank goodness the Parliament at Westminster at its House of Lords managed to stick with the fundamentals that he couldn’t pull the plug and call an election. No one’s tried that in the British colony…Stephen Harper.
Paul Wells: I do want to get back to Mr. Scheer and there’s a reason why I asked this question besides that it was a pretty clever way to phrase it. And I want to stick up for the guy who is not here. Justin Trudeau has written out this whole three-year process and the result has been that when he meets a British prime minister he is, he’s seen as the representative of a valued ally Canada. And when he meets European leaders whether in Brussels or in Paris or elsewhere, he’s seen as a valued ally by taking sides in a question like that, do you risk jeopardizing half of that delicate balance?
Andrew Scheer: Well keep in mind that Justin Trudeau himself expressed his position on the very same question. That is what prompted me to express my opinion. If you want to talk about positions that leaders have had on different issues, I wish Justin Trudeau was here so I could ask him the question of what exactly about the basic dictatorship of China he admires. He said that on film that when he was asked to think of all the countries in the world, which country other than Canada he admired the most, he said the basic dictatorship of China. Now that we see what’s going on and how he has handled Canada, I think we see a glimpse into his rationale on that, but I will always stand up for Canadian interests around the world. That includes being able… That includes being able to sign a free trade deal with the European Union as the previous Conservative government did. And in the eventuality with the United Kingdom as well.
Jagmeet Singh: But not surprised about Paul is that you know when Mr. Scheer talked about being pro Brexit and you know he’s got some association with yellow vesters. It seems to be this idea of this instilling fear in people. And really the fear isn’t in new Canadians arriving, there shouldn’t be any fear in using language like defamatory language towards people who are seeking asylum, because they’re fearing persecution. Really the reason why we’re in a difficult position in Canada is because this is…Decisions have been made that benefited the wealthy and the powerful. Now corporations continue to enjoy massive loopholes and tax benefits that everyday people don’t have. That’s where we should put our focus, not on the idea that new people come into our country are somehow a threat. That’s kind of the sentiment behind why Mr. Scheer uses the language of being pro Brexit, being closely affiliated with the yellow vesters. These are the type of things that instill fear. We believe it’s an opportunity to come together.
Andrew Scheer: This is absolutely not true. The Conservative Party and I will, as Prime Minister, continue to ensure that Canada has an immigration system that welcomes people from all around the world. We must do so based on three important pillars. Our system must be fair. It must be orderly, and it must be compassionate. That is that has been my position and it is very disingenuous for you.
Elizabeth May: So you’ll revoke the Safe Third Country Agreement with the United States? Right now we’re sending people away. And in the house I’ve heard you say it Andrew, you act as if people are illegals when they come here as refugees. Under international refugee conventions, people have every right to come and claim refugee status.
Andrew Scheer: There is nothing compassionate about forcing people to wait longer, who are in refugee camps, in places where there is civil war, where they will be killed if they leave those camps. Where they have to wait longer because some people are skipping the line and jumping the queue without coming into Canada…
Elizabeth May: There’s no queue for refugees. There is no queue for refugees.
Paul Wells: We’ve established here, I think we’ve established here is that my invitation to discuss Brexit did not go over well with this group. And that’s fair. There are so many issues in foreign affairs that it sounds like you could you could have a whole other debate on foreign affairs and I’m given an understanding there is a project like that on the table.
Andrew Scheer: I’m not sure if Justin Trudeau show up for that either.
Paul Wells: I hope, I hope it continues whoever shows up. We’ve got one last question this whole debate. It goes to Elizabeth May of the Green Party. Ms. May, you’ve called for shifting Canada’s focus and funding away from NATO. But given Vladimir Putin’s military muscle flexing and the other strains on European unity, doesn’t NATO increasingly look like a pillar of the peaceful post-war order that Canada should be doing everything it can to support?
Elizabeth May: I think that the question is based on a twisting of an answer I gave to a colleague at CBC perhaps.
Paul Wells: Was based on your interview about that.
Elizabeth May: Yeah, what I said was that our interest in NATO should be to transfer NATO’s interest towards nuclear disarmament. We have a real threat to global survival. The only thing that can outpace the climate disaster as a threat to human survival is nuclear war. Canada has not signed the U.N. treaty to abolish nuclear weapons. We are part of NATO. NATO is a shared defence alliance, but we need to make sure it’s working in the interests of our future. And that means we need to engage NATO to be part of an effort to counter this disastrous situation that Trump and Putin want to undo the work of Reagan and Gorbachev. So this is a significant concern. We also believe that the Canadian military should be properly funded. We don’t have surveillance on our Arctic shores. We don’t have anyone there to intercept Russian vessels that land. And they do land people come ashore and we have absolutely no capacity to deal with that.
Paul Wells: To curb elements of Canada’s current NATO policy, one is the Canada-led battle group in Latvia. You support that?
Elizabeth May: We would review all of our NATO commitments because we also need to show ensure we have the resources to pull ourself out of 59th in the world as a contributor to U.N. peacekeeping. We need to operate within U.N. sanctioned efforts where there are real crises around the world and hotspots where we’re not pulling our weight. Fifty-ninth in the world for peacekeeping isn’t good enough. So we would review not pull out.
Paul Wells: The other is the plan to increase military spending by a vote of two to get closer to meeting NATO targets.
Elizabeth May: NATO targets are just important to the Greens as the target that was accepted by Canada to 0.7 per cent of our GDP to overseas development assistance. Peace and security in the world is much more won by ensuring that girls are educated, people are fed and that the festering hotspots of the world get the effort to keep a sustainable peace in place. We have to be the anti-Trump in the world, and that means not flexing military muscle half as much as making sure we meet the SDG Sustainable Development Goals.
Paul Wells: Andrew Scheer on Canada’s NATO commitments.
Andrew Scheer: Well I believe it’s essential that Canada is a full partner in NATO and that means meeting our targets for over time getting to that 2 per cent target. It’s essential that we are there to show support for our allies. There are dangerous areas throughout the world and throughout Europe as well. We’ve seen what’s happened in Ukraine, as the government of Russia Vladimir Putin’s regime has ignored the sovereignty of Ukraine and is in the process of annexing part of Ukraine. I wear as a badge of honour that I am the only party leader who is currently banned from entering Russia because of my support for Ukraine. A Conservative government under my leadership will ensure a candidate supporting Ukraine with real materials that will help them fight against Russian aggression. We will also ensure that we meet our targets. And I have to note that under Justin Trudeau’s leadership, Canada has not been able to give our men and women in uniform the equipment they deserve. We are now in a situation where we have purchased…We have replaced our 40-year-old CFA teams with 40-year-old FSA teams from Australia. He has completely bungled our procurement process for our armed forces and I will fix it.
Elizabeth May: We may agree on that, but I think in fairness we should also acknowledge the bravery of Chrystia Freeland, who as our Minister for Global Affairs, is also banned by Putin and used to live and work in Russia. She took quite a lot of…
Andrew Scheer: Justin Trudeau…Justin Trudeau needs to explain why he attempted to normalize relations.
Elizabeth May: All I will say is, I look your policies on foreign policy today Andrew and I realized if anyone wants to know where you stand just figure out what Trump wants. Because you want to move our embassy to Jerusalem, take our role away as being an honest broker in that part of the world. You want to join with the U.S. You want to join with Trump and build an anti-ballistic missile system. So you will do what Trump wants. You might as well be, he might as well be the ventriloquist and you’re Charlie McCarthy.
Andrew Scheer: That’s just false.
Paul Wells: Let’s give Scheer a chance to respond and then Mr. Singh.
Andrew Scheer: I have continually advocated for candidate to be a full partner in NATO. I believe that we should not sign away our sovereignty on our foreign affairs, which is what Justin Trudeau did when he signed NAFTA and conceded a huge concession to the United States on future trade deals and on exports of certain Canadian products. I believe that Canada must recognize that in the conflict in the Middle East, there is only one side that tries to minimize human casualties, and that is Israel. We have an obligation to support the democratic state of Israel. The place in the region where people have the most freedom. And absolutely, I will be an unapologetic defender of Israel.
Elizabeth May: So it’s not okay when Russia to occupies Crimea, but it’s okay for Israel to occupy Palestine.
Jagmeet Singh: Just to pick up a point that Ms. May brought up that Mr. Scheer seems to be willing to do whatever it takes to support and continue Trump’s policies. That to me does not show strength. If we want to be strong, this is a massive failure of Mr. Trudeau. (And I pick up on Ms. May’s point.) A massive failure of Mr. Trudeau is to not stand up to a leader of a country (Mr. Trump) who is stripping kids from the arms of their parents. To not call that out for the shameful act that it is shows weakness. And the fact that Mr. Scheer stands here today and is not willing to condemn Mr. Trump for his horrible treatment of other human beings, of other fellow brothers and sisters, is another example of how he is no stronger than Mr. Trudeau and cannot provide the strength of leadership that we need. We need someone who is willing to call out injustices around the world.
Paul Wells: …Because he’s taken a lot of accusation, Andrew Scheer.
Andrew Scheer: Let’s talk about Canada’s Canada’s funding under Justin Trudeau. Funding under a United Nations organization that is funding elements within the military. That foment…And encourage anti-Semitism and terrorism.
Elizabeth May: No they run schools in permanent settlement refugee camps for 70 years.
Andrew Scheer: I will pull the funding from UNRWA and ensure that Canadian taxpayers’ dollars are not going to advocate terrorist activity.
Elizabeth May: They’re doing…they run schools Andrew. I have been to the schools. I went there with 18 MP from our Canada-Palestinian farliamentary friendship group. And it is terrifying to see a small school where an illegal (I’m sorry but it’s illegal appropriation of Palestinian land) for giant infrastructure of a big community, where there were soldiers in the all of…The children throw rocks. The Israeli soldiers are there armed to the teeth. It is a terrifying situation. It’s a humanitarian crisis and the reality is, Israel…I stand there is actually foursquare for Israel. But Mr Netanyahu’s policies are a danger to the region.
Andrew Scheer: There is one side in the conflict that tries to maximize human casualties and there is one side that tries to minimize human casualties.
Elizabeth May: That’s a stretch. That’s a stretch.
Andrew Scheer: I will always ensure that Canada will support the state of Israel and its right to exist.
Elizabeth May: We have to move away from fossil fuels as rapidly as possible. Our policies are science driven, and I’m afraid neither Mr. Singh nor Mr. Scheer understands—and neither Mr. Trudeau—understands climate science. If they understood the peril we are in right now as a human family on this planet; the need to hold to 1.5 degrees Celsius means that you can’t proceed with the Trans Mountain pipeline, you can’t proceed with LNG Canada, which by the way isn’t Canadian. It’s owned by mostly multinationals from Asia including PetroChina. So when Bill Morneau gives them 1 billion dollars in tariff waivers and then they pump 220 million dollars into the project and they claim there’s 10,000 jobs, guess where 5,500 of those jobs are? In the fabrication plant in China. So we are subsidizing a project that’ll blow through our carbon budget with 125 megatonnes of additional carbon. One-hundred-and-twenty-five million tonnes of additional carbon. It doesn’t matter how good Mr. Horgan’s rhetoric is on climate. This project is a climate killer. The jobs that we are subsidizing are being created in the People’s Republic of China. It should be stopped.
Paul Wells: We haven’t we have a fair bit of time to discuss all of this, but I do want to open up a little parenthesis and ask about the issue that Ms. May raised: the tariff waiver for Chinese steel to build this project. Mr. Singh…Mr. Scheer…
Jagmeet Singh: A horrible decision. I mean we’re seeing that our own Canadian manufacturing sectors are being horribly impacted by steel dumping. Steel dumping is essentially flooding the market with steel that is of a lesser quality. The environmental restrictions aren’t there. It displaces good-paying, quality jobs here in Canada. It’s something we’ve got to do much more to attack. Without any measures to challenge the steel dumping, it could seriously continue to threaten jobs in the manufacturing sector for steel aluminum here in Canada. One of the things that I was deeply concerned with was that Mr. Trudeau completely disregarded the steel tariffs that threatened a lot of jobs—steel and aluminum tariffs—and instead, signed an agreement with the country while they still had illegal tariffs imposed on us. We’ve got to change our approach to make sure we’ve got manufacturing in Canada that’s strong, that’s supported…That’s our commitment.
Elizabeth May: So will you come out against LNG Canada?
Paul Wells: Mr. Scheer, on the steel waiver, on the tariff waiver…
Andrew Scheer: I can agree with Mr. Singh that was very disappointing to see Donald, to see Justin Trudeau, sign a deal with Donald Trump after conceding so much without getting a solution on steel tariffs. And then when it finally did come, it still gave a lot of flexibility to the U.S. government to put those tariffs back in. As it relates to LNG, the reason why the federal government—the explanation that were given by these Liberals on the subsidies that they gave the project—was to compensate for the differential on steel. And then they turn around and lift the waiver—the tariffs—anyway. So we got the worst of both worlds: we had to put in the taxpayer money to compensate; then the tariffs were lifted and the Chinese steel is able to come in. This is just another point of weakness on Justin Trudeau’s dealing with our difficult situation with the government of China. He’s put money into the Asian infrastructure bank, building roads and bridges to help the government of China expand its influence in the region. And he’s taken this move on the steel tariffs as it relates to LNG. So another example where Justin Trudeau can’t stand up for Canadian workers.
Jagmeet Singh: I think what we need to do when it comes to manufacturing, one of the things we proposed…I went to Thunder Bay and I met with the workers who no longer have a job. Many of them received layoff notices because they couldn’t continue to produce their amazing products in Bombardier in Thunder Bay. Now at the same time Canada spent a billion dollars on a contract to buy (in our publicly owned train sector) to buy trains from a German company. And I’ve said that that’s completely irresponsible. To use public dollars to fund other countries and their manufacturing sectors is irresponsible. What I would do to those men and women that are working in Thunder Bay, to the people that work here in Canada is say this: if we’re ever spending any public dollars, we should spend that money on a procurement process that requires made-in-Canada content. That means ensuring that we support manufacturing in our country. The workers who work so hard, have a future where they know they can rely on investments by Canada to support manufacturing in Canada.
Andrew Scheer: I just wish you supported the steelworkers at Everett Steel in Regina that make the steel for pipelines. I just wish you supported the steelworkers and Hamilton who also sell products into the energy sector.
Jagmeet Singh: I absolutely do.
Andrew Scheer: No you don’t. Those jobs won’t exist if we don’t have development projects in this country. That’s just a simple fact.
Jagmeet Singh: You just have to respect the reality that we’re facing climate crisis and we’ve got to make better decisions. We can put those great workers…
Paul Wells: On that note, the moderator will move along, thank you. To the second question, which goes to Elizabeth May. Ms. May, a pillar of your plan to fight climate change is to retrofit every single building in Canada to make them all carbon neutral in just 10 years. The Economist Andrew Leach says that means getting seven million homes off natural gas or heating oil, and that both electricity and housing stock are matters of provincial jurisdiction. How far do you plan to get with this working with Jason Kenney and Doug Ford in implementing your audacious plan?
Elizabeth May: Well let’s just make it clear that the adjective could be audacious; it could also be essential. If we are driven by the science, and we really don’t have a lot of choice here. You can’t negotiate with physics. There’s a carbon budget, and our atmosphere is at a point where, no other party seems to understand this, with all due respect gentlemen on stage with me. No other party has put forward a plan that comes remotely near what we’re required to do, and the downsides aren’t environmental problems. This issue still is misrepresented as though we’re worried about the environment. We’re worried about the survival of human civilization through the lifetime of our children because if we go above 1.5 Celsius global average temperature increase, we’re looking at the risk of runaway global warming, of self-accelerating, unstoppable catastrophic changes, which no still civilization can survive. So yes, we can do this. It’s all hands on deck, and I believe that even those who are recalcitrant at this point, can be persuaded by the science, and if they’re not persuaded by the science, we work with the municipal order of government where they totally understand this issue, and the provinces that want to. And by the way to our friends back at Rotary, we need to call up the Canadian civil society. Who wants to put a solar panel on your roof? Who wants to plant a garden? Who wants to help us plant trees?
Paul Wells: Your argument is that no other party and no Canadian government recently has operated with the kind of ambition that the scale of the challenge requires.
Elizabeth May: Correct.
Paul Wells: Is there a country a government in the world that that is stepping up?
Elizabeth May: Sweden. Costa Rica. Denmark. The U.K. has done way more than us. Most of the industrialized countries that were within the Kyoto Protocol are already far below 1990 levels. We’re still far above them. We’re required globally to go 45 per cent below 2010 levels by 2030. That’s a tough challenge. It’s not business as usual. It’s not politics as usual. That’s why I’ve written to both Jagmeet, Andrew and Justin to say we need an interior Cabinet that focuses only on this. Cecause we can’t stick to status-quo decision making, and save ourselves at the same time.
Paul Wells: I have so many questions but my piece of paper says it’s Jagmeet Singh’s change.
Jagmeet Singh: Thank you very much. You know Madam May and I agree a lot. It’s absolutely important to be driven by the science. We absolutely believe that we can change the direction of our country if you make the right investments and fossil fuel subsidies. We can invest in clean energy, renewable energy. We also really strongly believe in retrofitting homes and buildings across this country, creating hundreds and thousands of jobs. We envision at the minimum 300,000 new jobs being created. We agree on a lot. And we know that we need to do this. And Ms. May knows that our plan is one of the boldest plans to tackle climate crisis.
Elizabeth May: Far below ours, but better.
Jagmeet Singh: But there’s a couple of points that we disagree on. You know when it comes down to it, the Green Party and New Democrats share a lot in common except for the following four points: when it comes down to it, we have a solid position, unlike the Greens, on a woman’s right to choose.
Elizabeth May: That’s not true.
Jagmeet Singh: We have a solid position when it comes down to national unity. We have a belief that we can’t leave workers behind, and we strongly believe that we should not be putting Mr. Scheer in the prime minister’s seat unlike Ms. May and the Green Party who believe that’s the right choice.
Elizabeth May: Those were absurd statement. I’m awfully sorry.
Paul Wells: I think we’re going to parse that a little more closely in a minute. Mr. Scheer you go first.
Andrew Scheer: I think it’s important to understand where we are right now. We have with Justin Trudeau a failed approach that has proven not to work. CO2 emissions are going up, and his carbon tax is making everything more expensive. It’s making it harder for Canadians to get ahead with this carbon tax. We’ve seen in British Columbia emissions going up, and nationally we’re falling further and further behind. Our environmental plan—and the Conservative Party’s plan—my plan, helps make life more affordable, while we lower greenhouse gas emissions. I do agree with Ms. May that buildings are an essential part of fighting climate change. That’s why we are introducing a green-home renovation tax credit that will allow Canadians to invest in their homes to upgrade their furnace, to replace their windows, while getting a generous tax receipt—lowering their energy costs, helping them get ahead, and lowering CO2 emissions at the same time.
Elizabeth May: Excuse me, I’m sorry, Jagmeet. I had listen to your absurdities. You’re going to have to stop now.
Jagmeet Singh: …The only difference is that Mr. Scheer doesn’t actually that climate change actually exists.
Elizabeth May: I’m afraid I am not going to go down the little rabbit hole that Mr. Singh just created. People can check: none of what he just said was true. But we are talking about a carbon budget. We need to work together in this country to ensure that global average temperature increase does not go above 1.5 degrees Celsius. We signed that commitment. That’s the Paris Treaty commitment. So far for targets, Mr. Trudeau has kept Mr. Harper’s target. Mr. Scheer would keep Mr. Harper’s target, which is approximately half of what needs to be done. Thirty percent below 2005 by 2030 is half of what needs to be done. And your target Jagmeet, is 38 per cent. We need to reduce by 60 per cent, if we’re serious. Now it’s not easy, but it is possible. We have to marshal all our resources. We will be putting millions of people to work in this country, transforming our economy and giving our economy a boost that it really needs in new investment.
Andrew Scheer: And Ms. May said something that I agree with. You can’t argue the physics. And part of the physics is that a molecule of CO2 does not need a passport to travel around the world. And that’s why my plan is the only plan that talks about taking the climate change fight global
Elizabeth May: No ours does.
Andrew Scheer: Recognizing that Canada can do more to lower global emissions by doing more of what we do at lower emissions rates, like making aluminum and exporting clean Canadian technology. There are 3,000 electrical plants in China. If just 100 of them use Canadian, carbon-capture technology we could lower emissions by 300 megatonnes. I am the only leader talking about taking the climate change fight global.
Elizabeth May: The problem is you don’t have a target.
Paul Wells: We’re essentially getting into toy territory of who could form an acceptable government in the eyes of those parties that might get to choose. Ms. May you’ve said that you would not support a minority government led by any of the other parties.
Elizabeth May:That’s not what I said, I’m sorry.
Paul Wells: Mr. Singh you’ve said that…
Elizabeth May:What I said was…and I know how these parliamentary negotiations go. I’ve seen Green parties around the world who’ve negotiated various governments, served in cabinets around the world. And in fact of course, my colleague Andrew Weaver, negotiated a government for British Columbia. But the bottom line for Greens isn’t about power for us. The bottom line is, whatever parliament is formed at the end of the next election must be committed to holding to 1.5 degrees Celsius, which means massive transformational changes that start now. And no one else so far…I think they might change their minds in negotiation. Their current policies don’t cut it.
Paul Wells: And so if the Conservative Party has the most seats. but doesn’t commit to 1.5 degrees. What’s your response as soon as parliament convenes?
Elizabeth May: We wouldn’t vote for them in a confidence motion even on the speech in the throne.
Paul Wells: Okay, and if that means that Justin Trudeau gets a chance to form a minority government with fewer seats than the Conservatives, that you’re okay with that?
Elizabeth May: Well the majority of Canadians by far, have for decades, been asking for climate action and what has stalled it has been the short-term partisan interest of political leader after political leader. It’s time for some courage, it’s time for some bravery. It’s time for saying this is what we must do for our kids. So we will do it.
Paul Wells: Mr. Singh, which party is would you and would you not support in a minority situation?
Jagmeet Singh: Well I want to make it clear: I believe that climate crisis is something we’ve got to take seriously. I’m committed to real action. Mr. Trudeau has said a lot of pretty words but hasn’t really delivered any real action, and he’s failed on that front. So our position is clear. We would not support Mr. Scheer, his position, his lack of clear position on a woman’s right to choose, on LGBTQ communities. You know for me that’s not debatable. For us we want to make it really clear. We have a solid position on those fronts. It doesn’t seem that the Green Party is very clear on their position.
Elizabeth May: Now I have to go back.
Jagmeet Singh: And we’re going fight to make sure that we build a brighter future.
Paul Wells: I believe we’ve just kicked off a debate that’s going to go for the rest of this campaign so I’m not going to indulge it any further tonight. Mr. Scheer you get the next question on energy and the environment. Mr. Scheer sure you have opposed carbon taxes because you prefer regulation of heavy industry. You would force businesses that exceed their emissions targets to invest in clean tech. But in 2014, Stephen Harper said that with energy prices low, and the United States letting their companies off easy, “It would be crazy economic policy to do unilateral penalties on that sector. We’re clearly not going to do it.” If he couldn’t do it then why would you do it now?
Andrew Scheer: I have my own plan. I’ve unveiled a real plan for the environment. It is the most comprehensive policy ever put forward by an opposition party. It contains over 50 specific measures that will explain how Canada can reach its international obligations. It’s built on a number of pillars: technology over taxes. You are correct to say that we are going to require large emitters to pay into tech-development funds. This has been a proven method of actually lowering emissions. This is an example of Gibson Industries in Saskatchewan, which used a similar type of green patent tax credit that I am proposing to lower their emissions. They invested in a new type of technology that allowed them to increase their output, while keeping their emissions low. This is what we have seen all across the economy in Canada. When you focus on technology over taxes you actually get results. The carbon tax is proven to fail. I don’t know why anybody would support a policy…It’s not a conservative party position, it’s not my opinion. We are falling as a country further behind our targets under Justin Trudeau’s carbon tax. It will only work if he increases it as he is threatening to do. After this election if Justin Trudeau was elected, he will make your life less affordable by ramping up that carbon tax.
Paul Well: Elizabeth May.
Elizabeth May: We need massive investments in energy infrastructure in this country and they need to be investments in an East-West and reaching North electricity grid so that Canadians are no longer driving internal combustion vehicles. We, I looked at your plan, Andrew, and it is long and it does include some good things; I won’t say it doesn’t. It’s got money for Great Lakes, looking at Lake Simcoe, Lake Winnipeg is right now is an ecological crisis, so we have some things there. Listen, there’s one thing that is absolutely essential in any credible climate plan, and that is hanging on to human civilization by making sure we hold to no more than 1.5 degrees Celsius. And we need to understand the window on that opportunity closes soon. And if it closes and we haven’t gotten to the other side of that through global leadership that’s where the global part of what Canada should do, is that we are still respected in the world. We punch above our weight. If we get our own house in order, and say look, we were dependent on fossil fuels, but look at us now: We’re going off fossil fuels by 2050, we’re cutting our emissions by 60 per cent by 2030. Our economy is booming, as we move into this enormous range of economic opportunities. But if you don’t have the right target, you can’t make a plan that makes any sense. And no one in his election has accepted the target that science requires.
Paul Wells: One brief question before we go to Mr. Singh. Elizabeth May, you said that that window closes soon, when as soon?
Elizabeth May: According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change whose reputation by the way is that when they’re wrong it’s because they underestimate the impact and overestimate how much time we have. So I find it very alarming as the international community heard their report on October 8th 2018. People said this is the alarm bell that we can’t ignore. Everybody else has hit the snooze button. If we don’t ensure that global emissions are 45 percent below their 2010 levels by 2030 the opportunity to hold to one point five degrees Celsius global average temperature increase will close and it doesn’t help any plan that takes a job to change fate.
Jagmeet Singh: We all know that it’s very serious. We’ve see the impacts of climate crisis in the lives of Canadians. We’ve seen massive forest fires, the worst that we’ve ever seen. We know that it’s impacting people in Eastern Canada with floods on the record that we’ve never seen. Homes being washed away. When you see and meet with people who’ve had their homes washed away, it’s heartbreaking. So we know we have to act. But we have a lot of opportunity here. Any time we’re faced with challenges there is a great opportunity. We believe we can put 300,000 people into great, solid sustainable jobs if we tackle this crisis. We can retrofit homes. We can end fossil fuel subsidies. There’s so much that we can do. We can electrify our transportation; invest in public transportation. I know here in the city of Toronto, people need that desperately. We can get people a better way to move around which emits less emissions. There is so much hope and so much opportunity. Well you just have to seize the opportunity right now. We know it’s gonna take a lot of courage. It’s going to take bold conviction, but we can do it. There’s so much opportunity sound and we are going to be committed to it.
Elizabeth May: You sound almost like a Green but you won’t take a target. You’ve got you’ve got 30 or 38 per cent reduction.
Jagmeet Singh: Keeping it to 1.5 degrees we know.
Elizabeth May: But then you have to adopt the 60 per cent below.
Paul Wells: As with so many other topics tonight, the advantage of having a debate nice and early on in the campaign is that I think we’ve actually set the table for discussions that are going to take place for the entire rest of the campaign. That concludes, you may be relieved to hear, our discussion of environmental issues.
Paul Wells: I was worried at the beginning of this debate that there wouldn’t be enough clear distinctions among parties. I think at the end of the debate, I don’t have to worry as much anymore. Thank you very much for your contribution everybody. You’ve heard the debate, and now it’s time for the final pitches for your vote. Each leader will now have 90 seconds to make a final statement. You’ve drawn lots for the order and we’ll hear first from Elizabeth May.
Elizabeth May: Thank you and I want to thank Citytv and Maclean’s for giving us this opportunity. You know, just barely 24 hours into the red period, who knew. I also want to say to every Canadian who’s watching tonight, please consider voting Green this time. I will be enormously honoured to have you give us a serious consideration. Look at our full platform. Look at our policies, and look at the fact that we will be issuing a fully costed budget that has been reviewed by the Parliamentary Budget Office. We are serious about what we are proposing. We know Canada can do this. We can bring in universal pharmacare. We can ensure affordable housing. We can make sure our kids can afford to go to university, by eliminating tuition. We can pay for these things. And we can stimulate our economy through a transformation that the likes of which Canada hasn’t seen since we came into our own as a modern country in the era of the Second World War. The time for status-quo decision making is over. The time for status-quo short-term politics, where every party goes out to beat their own drum and kick the others in the shins, is over. It’s time to find common ground where we can work together because Canada isn’t a country divided. We’re one family. We care about each other. Every Canadian cares about an Albertan who’s worrying about their job. Every Canadian cares about a British Columbian who can’t breathe because of smoke. We care for each other. We have to think and work together like the country the best we can be.
Paul Wells: Thank you Elizabeth May. Andrew Scheer.
Andrew Scheer: This election is coming down to one simple question: Who do you trust to make life more affordable so that you can get ahead. Everywhere I travel this country I hear from so many Canadians who tell me that they’re working harder and harder but they’re barely getting by. Life is getting more expensive, and Justin Trudeau is making it worse. He’s raised taxes on over 80 per cent of Canadian middle-class families. His carbon tax is raising the cost of everything from home heating to gasoline and groceries. And his massive deficits today will mean higher taxes right after the election, when he doesn’t need your vote, but he still needs your money. I have a plan for a government that will live within its means so that we can leave more money in your pocket because it’s time for you to get ahead. I have already announced that I will cancel Justin Trudeau’s carbon tax. I will remove the GST and HST from home heating and energy bills and I will make maternity leave benefits tax-free. And throughout this campaign, we will be unveiling more ideas, more policies, more proposals that will put more money back in your pocket for you, for your kids, or for your retirement. What we know is that we cannot trust Justin Trudeau. He has broken promises, broken the law and lied to Canadians about it. And his policies will make life more expensive. Ours will make life more affordable because it’s time for you to get ahead. On October 21st, I’m asking you for your support so that we can restore ethics and integrity to this government and improve and lower the cost of living for all Canadians.
Paul Wells: Thank you Mr. Scheer.
Jagmeet Singh: Thank you Paul. And thank you folks for sticking with us this long. When you look at Ottawa, and you look at the governments in Ottawa and we look at the decisions they’ve made, whether it’s been Liberal like Mr. Trudeau, or before that Conservative like Mr. Harper, the decisions that governments make have always seemed to benefit those at the very top, the powerful corporate interests, and have made life harder for everyone else. So I ask you this simple question. This election comes down to this question: Who’s gonna fight for you? Who’s gonna stand up for you? New Democrats, we’re not in it for the rich. We don’t work for the powerful and wealthy. We work for you. So we can tackle the problems that we’re faced with; the problems like housing. We can tackle unaffordable housing, the housing crisis. But only we have the courage to take on money launderers and speculators and invest in building half a million new affordable homes. We can tackle the problems when it comes to medication; people who can’t afford medication. We can expand our medicare and include medication coverage for all. Pharmacare for all. But only if we have the courage to take on big pharma and the powerful interest groups that don’t want it. We can tackle the climate crisis and make sure young people have a bright future, but only if we have the courage to take on the big polluters and end fossil fuel subsidies. There is a bright future that’s possible. You need someone who’s in it for you. New Democrats don’t fight for the powerful and the wealthy, we fight for you. We’re in it for you. And on October 21st I ask for your support, so we can continue to fight for you not the powerful. But for the people.
Paul Wells: Thank you Jagmeet Singh. Well that concludes the first debate of this campaign. I want to thank the leaders for taking part tonight. And I want to wish every one of you a good luck on the campaign trail.