Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer denied Friday that he was spreading misinformation when he accused his Liberal and NDP opponents of contemplating tax hikes that they have not announced.
The Liberal and NDP leaders said the Conservative leader was just making things up.
Scheer’s claim came in Fredericton where he said — without citing specific evidence — that a potential coalition between the Liberals and the NDP might lead to a hike in the GST.
Most polls continue to suggest the Liberals and Conservatives are deadlocked in popular support, raising talk about potential minority or coalition governments. Support has grown for the NDP in some provinces and for the Bloc Quebecois in Quebec.
“It’s not misinformation at all. We know that the Liberals are contemplating these types of things,” Scheer said.
“Justin Trudeau did a lot of things that wasn’t in his platform after 2015,” he added, eliciting cheers from a group of supporters at a campaign event in a brew pub on the Saint John River.
Scheer also defended past claims that the Liberals are contemplating new taxes on homeowners and would legalize hard drugs.
“Those claims are entirely untrue. It is unfortunate that the Conservatives keep having to make up attacks against us,” Trudeau said in the Toronto suburb of Whitby.
The Liberal leader reiterated his attack point that the Conservatives would have to cut $53 billion in services to pay for their pledge to balance the budget, a multi-year total that is drawn from the Conservatives’ platform.
“There is a chance that there could be a Conservative government and that would mean cuts,” said Trudeau.
He said Canadians face a choice between Conservative cuts and the Liberal plan to fight climate change and make streets safer from gun violence.
NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh said Scheer was lying about raising the GST.
“Mr. Scheer is just making stuff up because he’s getting desperate. We absolutely will not raise the GST. No. Not whatsoever because it’s not a progressive tax,” Singh said in Port Alberni, B.C.
“We’ve never, anywhere, in any of our announcements ever suggested any vague way that we would be increasing GST. That’s wrong. That’s not true.”
Singh said he didn’t think voters would believe Scheer’s claims. But Singh also took aim at Trudeau, reiterating that he has been a disappointment to Canadians. The NDP and the Liberals are competing for support from so-called progressive voters.
Singh was campaigning on Vancouver Island in a head-to-head fight with Green Leader Elizabeth May. The NDP has been dominant on the island but both the Greens’ seats are there and they’re looking for more.
The NDP leader tried to distinguish himself from May by emphasizing that he would not co-operate with a Conservative minority government under any circumstances. He said May has left open that possibility.
May focused on international trade on Friday, saying the Greens would restructure Canada’s approach because current agreements favour the rights of corporations at the expense of environmental protection.
Mike Blanchfield, The Canadian Press