Fairness, middle class take centre stage at Trudeau's campaign launch
Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau spoke of fairness and the importance of the middle class in his first election campaign speech on Sunday, while emphasizing the link between environmental and economic policies at a rally in Vancouver, B.C.
In his opening campaign speech, the Liberal Leader vowed to make the federal government more “fair” by taxing the wealthy and focusing his attention on lifting up the middle class.
“You grow the economy by strengthening the middle class and those hoping to join it,” Trudeau said.
The Liberal Leader took aim at Stephen Harper’s 10 years in power, and accused the Conservatives of being “tired, out of ideas and disconnected from reality.”
He also indirectly criticized Harper’s recently-introduced Child Care Benefit payments, which pay out lump sums of money to all Canadians who have registered their children for the program. “We will stop sending cheques to millionaires just because they have children,” Trudeau vowed.
Trudeau also directly attacked NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair, calling his economic plan a “mirage.” He slammed Mulcair’s plan to increase the minimum wage – a promise he said offers “false hope” to those in the service industry who work for less than the established minimum.
“Nine out of 10 Canadians will be better off in hard dollars and cents under my plan,” Trudeau said.
The Liberal Leader only made brief mention of Harper’s costly decision to call the election early, opting instead to focus his remarks on the economy and the environment.
“You can’t make a choice between environment and economy. You have to do them both together,” he said.
Trudeau was the last federal party leader to deliver his opening campaign remarks, which came hours after the official election call. NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair, Green Party Leader Elizabeth May and Bloc Quebecois Leader Gilles Duceppe all spoke shortly after Harper announced the election, leaving many asking when Trudeau would add his voice to the conversation.
The Liberal Leader fielded several questions after his speech, including one asking why he didn’t arrange to speak earlier.
Trudeau said he was in the air at the time, on a plane bound for B.C. so he could fulfill his “promise” to march in Vancouver’s Pride Parade.
“No one’s going to make me break my word, particularly not Stephen Harper,” he said.
Trudeau also addressed the frequent Conservative accusations that he lacks the experience to lead the country.
“My opponents can say whatever they want about me,” he told the crowd. “I will stay focused on you.”
Trudeau’s defence comes one day after he released his first election campaign ad online, in which he addresses the frequent Tory accusations that he’s “just not ready.” In the ad, Trudeau asserts that he is quite ready. “I’m ready to bring real change to Ottawa,” he says in the ad.