Canadians are not worried about national unity, Justin Trudeau said Wednesday — as he accused the Bloc Québécois of being incapable of addressing the issue that Canadians are really concerned about: the environment.
Trudeau made the comments in the Toronto-area riding of Markham-Unionville before jetting back to Ottawa to prepare for Thursday’s French-language leaders’ debate, with only 13 days to go in the campaign.
The past week has seen signs the Conservatives could be losing support in Quebec. The province’s 78 seats could be key to determining which party gets to form government — and whether it’s a minority or majority — after ballots are cast on Oct. 21.
The Liberals, who won 40 of those seats in 2015, are hoping to convince voters to stick with Trudeau for another four years. The Bloc has seen a resurgence as other parties have struggled to make inroads in the province.
Bloc Leader Yves-Francois Blanchet has been trying to portray himself as the only one who truly understands the needs and values of Quebecers.
Asked about working with a sovereigntist party if he leads a minority government, Trudeau did not answer the question directly and instead underscored his long-standing support for national unity.
He said the people he meets across Quebec and the rest of the country are talking to him about the environment.
“Canadians are not worried [about] national unity, nor should they be,” Trudeau said during the campaign event at an Asian grocery store. “They are focused on having a government that has a real plan to fight climate change.”
Trudeau suggested the Bloc is not in a position to stand up to Alberta Premier Jason Kenney or Ontario Premier Doug Ford.
“The Bloc cannot lead the fight against Jason Kenney and Doug Ford on a pan-Canadian vision to fight climate change, which is what we’ve put in place,” Trudeau said.
“And Andrew Scheer will not take on his friends, Doug Ford and Jason Kenney, to stand up against big oil and fight against climate change.”
Thursday’s French-language debate is being set up as one of the last opportunities for all the federal leaders to make their cases to Quebecers before the election campaign heads into the home stretch.