Liberal leader Justin Trudeau defended holding a crowded event in Brampton with 400 people on Tuesday evening, saying the event was in keeping with provincial guidelines despite criticism, including from Conservative leader Erin O’Toole .
Mr Trudeau, who was in Halifax on Wednesday to push for his party’s health care plans, which include COVID-19 vaccinations and efforts to end the pandemic, said liberals followed all rules around capacity because It is necessary to follow the guidelines. We get through this. “
“At the same time, we need to recognize that about 80 percent of Canadians who did the right thing, vaccinated themselves, are eligible,” Trudeau said. “That means, for those people, the chances of being able to come back to do the things we love are greater.”
The pandemic has been a key element of this election campaign, including questions about why Mr Trudeau decided to launch the election during the fourth wave of the pandemic. Other parties have said that the Liberal leader’s decision was motivated by selfishness and the pursuit of a majority government.
Mr Trudeau said the fourth wave of the pandemic is driven by people who have not been vaccinated and are putting their recovery at risk. The Liberals have not said whether vaccinations were required for supporters to join the program.
Mr Trudeau also said on Wednesday that it is “inconceivable” to him that the Conservative leader does not require his candidates to be vaccinated and that he is prepared to support candidates who are “anti-warriors.”
For his part, Mr O’Toole said on Wednesday that Mr Trudeau’s incident was “in contempt of common sense and social distancing guidelines”.
“Once again, Justin Trudeau has put his authority and privilege on full display,” Mr O’Toole said during his daily election news conference, held on Wednesday at the Canadian Legion Hall in Jonquire, a borough of Saguenay, Quebec City. it was done. 200 kilometers north of Quebec City.
Mr O’Toole said the Liberal gathering was held in “a packed room” in “a major COVID hotspot in Canada”.
The party said the Liberal event was held at a large venue in Brampton, known as the Sparanza Banquet Hall, and 400 people were allowed into the space. It also noted that the normal capacity of the room is 1,000 and the COVID-19 guidelines mean that the maximum number of rooms a room can have is 500.
Ontario rules also state that members of the public must be able to maintain a distance of at least two meters from every other person in the indoor portion of the event space.
Generous organizers erected boxes on the ground with green masking tape to encourage people to practice physical distancing, but many people jumped out of those lines in an effort to get closer to Trudeau. When he left the room, a crush of supporters met him.
There were also seniors in the room, including former Prime Minister Jean Chrétien, 87, who made an appearance at the event in support of Trudeau, and 100-year-old former Mississauga Mayor Hazel McCallion.
When asked on Wednesday why he would organize such an event with superiors, Trudeau said “no one tells Hazel McCallion or Jean Chrétien what to do or what not to do.”
“I was so happy that he decided to join us at that event,” he said.
Ms McCallion, who is a supporter of Mr Trudeau, told reporters on Tuesday evening that it was “unfortunate” that the election was called during a pandemic. He said the government should instead focus on recovery and get people back to work to prop up the economy.
On 15 August, Mr Trudeau met with the newly appointed Governor-General Mary Simon at Rideau Hall, where he accepted his request to dissolve the 43rd Parliament. Mr Trudeau has previously promised not to hold elections during the pandemic, but has said he needs a new mandate.
Asked if she feels comfortable in a crowded place in Brampton, Ms McCallion said she therefore does not believe the election should have been called during a pandemic.
“Governments are saying, ‘Stay home, stay away, in groups,'” she said. “And then an election is called, which brings people together in groups.”
On the issue of safety, 87-year-old Mr Chrétien said he was not aware of the format of the event, but felt safe because he had been vaccinated, and was happy that he came.
With files from Ian Bailey in Saguenay, Que.
Follow party leaders and where they stand on issues this election campaign by signing up for us morning or evening update Newspaper.
For subscribers only: Receive exclusive political news and analysis by signing up for politics briefing.