Scheer, Singh campaign in their parties’ regions of relative strength

Scheer, Singh campaign in their parties’ regions of relative strength
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OTTAWA — Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer and NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh kept their campaign machines rolling Saturday — and they focused their efforts on their parties’ historic strongholds.

Scheer promoted the Conservatives’ pledge to build a national energy corridor during a stop in Edmonton, where he took the stage with an old friend: Alberta Premier Jason Kenney.

Scheer, who also planned to visit Saskatoon on Saturday, urged cheering supporters to help his party win a handful of ridings in Alberta that the party lost in the 2015 election. Four years ago, the Liberals won four seats from the Tories in Calgary and Edmonton.

“I need your help, I need you to go door to door,” Scheer said after being introduced by Kenney, his former colleague in the Harper government.

“We need to win seats in Alberta, we need to win seats here in Edmonton and Calgary that we didn’t win in the last election.”

Kenney told the crowd that Scheer will be a prime minister “we will never have to be embarrassed about.”

The Conservatives have been trying to sell voters on their pledge to construct a cross-Canada energy corridor to transport oil, gas, hydroelectricity and telecommunications. Scheer insisted it would improve certainty for investors, address environmental and social concerns up front, and deliver economic benefits for all Canadians.

He didn’t provide a cost or a timeline for the project, which would likely face tough negotiations with Indigenous peoples and provinces — especially Quebec.

On the West Coast, Singh campaigned Saturday for a fifth consecutive day in British Columbia, where the NDP won 14 seats in 2015. He’s running for re-election in the Vancouver-area riding of Burnaby-South.

Singh made an announcement aboard a ferry en route to Vancouver from Vancouver Island, a critical battleground where the NDP is trying to hold off the Greens.

An NDP government, Singh said, would provide an additional $30 million of federal funding towards British Columbia’s ferry system to help provide more services and to lower costs for commuters. Singh has been making promises geared for B.C. in recent days — in areas such as housing affordability and coastline protection.

“We know that B.C. is also a province that also feels neglected — being on the West Coast a lot of times people feel like they’re ignored and I want to make sure people in B.C. know that I’ve got their back,” he said when asked about all the attention he’s been paying to the province.

“We’re running a national campaign and I’m looking forward to being in every part of Canada. I have the honour of being a national leader and it’s my job to represent all of Canada.”

Since the start of the election, the NDP leader has paid considerable attention to B.C. and Ontario. Singh has yet to campaign in Alberta, Saskatchewan, Newfoundland and Labrador or Prince Edward Island.

When he visited New Brunswick last Monday it marked his first visit to the province since winning the party’s leadership two years ago. He apologized for not getting there sooner.

The NDP is likely trying to keep its spending under control following years of weak fundraising results and high levels debt from the 2015 election.

Second-quarter fundraising results released over the summer by Elections Canada showed that the NDP raised just $1.43 million during those three months — slightly less than the Greens and well behind the Conservatives and Liberals.

Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau’s tour has no scheduled public events Saturday. Green party Leader Elizabeth May was set to campaign on Vancouver Island and People’s Party Leader Maxime Bernier was scheduled to attend a fundraiser in his Quebec riding of Beauce.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 28, 2019.

Andy Blatchford, The Canadian Press

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