Martin C. Barry
During a rally held at the Palace congress centre last week by local Conservatives to announce two Laval-area candidates in the 2019 federal election, one name in particular seemed to come up more often than any other – Liberal Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s.
Attacks on Trudeau
As the opening speaker for an event to announce that former Laval mayoral candidate Sonia Baudelot and former Action démocratique du Québec president Tom Pentefountas will be running in Laval for the Tories next year, Michel Gauthier led off the attack on Trudeau in his very first sentence.
“Justin Trudeau cannot be trusted,” said Gauthier, a former PQ MNA who also served briefly as leader of the Bloc Québécois in the late 1990s and who is now running for the Conservatives in the Montreal South Shore riding of Saint-Bruno. Gauthier told the Canadian Press last May that he no longer considers himself to be a Quebec sovereignist.
Question PM’s record
Alluding to Trudeau’s record-setting federal deficit and his recent unsuccessful handling of the difficulties being encountered by the petroleum-rich but economically-weakened western provinces, Gauthier said,“How can you depend on a Prime Minister who wins the confidence of people by telling them, ‘Here’s what I’m going to do?’ but he does the opposite, then he doesn’t even apologize.”
Given the increasingly certain disappearance of the Bloc Québécois from the political landscape,and the uncertain future of the NDP, the evening’s guest of honour, Conservative leader Andrew Scheer, predicted that the 2019 election will be a duel between Scheer’s Conservatives and Justin Trudeau’s Liberals.
Trudeau vs. Scheer next year
“As the NDP and the Bloc become less and less relevant in Quebec, it is very clear that the next election will be a clear choice between Justin Trudeau and his Liberal team or the Conservative Party under my leadership,” said Scheer. “And I am confident that Quebecers and Canadians will welcome that choice and will choose the Conservative Party to form the next government.”
Among other things, Scheer accused Justin Trudeau of being unable to manage public money. “Justin Trudeau is just completely incapable of managing this country’s finances,” he said. “He’s never had to worry about managing money. It’s no wonder that he doesn’t worry about managing yours. He inherited an economy that was lifting Canada up along with it and he inherited a balanced budget left by a previous Conservative government.
Seizing on Canada’s deficit
“But now a deficit of some $18 billion announced for this year is more than 10 times greater than planned,” he continued. “And predictions are that the deficits will be even larger over the next four years.Canadians don’t want a government that spends more and makes government more expensive. Canadians want a government that treats their tax dollars with respect and is a more efficient government that focuses on getting results.”
Scheer went on to set out some of the other issues the Conservative Party will probably be bringing to the fore next year. On immigration and refugeeism, he said, “Canadians are a generous, caring and accommodating people who are open in spirit” who want to help victims of civil wars and genocides.
On immigration and refugees
However, he added that Canadians want to be sure theyare taking in those who are genuinely fleeing oppression, “and not those who are coming from New York State,” added Scheer. (The latter statement being a reference to the highly-publicized arrival of hundreds of refugees who crossed the U.S. border into the province near Hemmingford, Quebec).
As well, Scheer referred to Canada’s recent signing of the United Nations’ migration pact. “We’re told by this Liberal government that this compact won’t have any impact at all on Canadian lives and the Canadian system,” said Scheer.
“We’re heard that before. And we know that accords,treaties that Canada signs onto does have an influence on the court decisions here in Canada.” Scheer continued, “I believe very firmly that Canadians should decide our immigration policies, and not bureaucrats at the United Nations.”
Tory candidates in Laval
As for the two Laval Conservative candidates, Sonia Baudelot,who is running in in Marc-Aurèle-Fortin, said she made her decision to run for the Tories after a long period of thought. “For those who don’t know me, politics is part of my DNA,” she said, while adding that she also has a long history of volunteering and community work.
Tom Pentefountas, who is running in Laval-Les Îles, said Andrew Scheer isn’t anywhere near as focused on elevating his international status like Justin Trudeau. “Andrew concentrates on and is focused laserlike on the needs of Canadians,” he said. “We in the Conservative Party of Canada are the champions of Canadian women and men – the hard-working Canadian women and men – just like all of us in this room.”