The Liberal Party will offer a package of government reforms in a bid to overtake the surging NDP as the top alternative to the Conservative government, offering everything from more powerful MPs to a friendlier taxman.
Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau will be accompanied by dozens of MPs and candidates as he announces his plans for a "fair and open government" on Tuesday. The Liberals insist this is an issue that will speak to Canadians after nine years of Conservative government, which they argue was authoritarian, secretive and disrespectful of taxpayers.
The Liberal proposal will include measures to open up public access to government documents, free MPs from party discipline, modernize the voting system and improve the government's interactions with the public. One of the proposals will aim to facilitate communications with the Canada Revenue Agency on tax cases, party officials said.
The party is increasingly adopting the slogan "real change" to try to capture Canada's progressive voters in the Oct. 19 general election.
However, Mr. Trudeau and his team are feeling the heat from the NDP, which is in the lead in a number of recent public opinion polls. Shortly after Mr. Trudeau makes his announcement, NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair will be giving a speech in Toronto, aiming to showcase a pragmatic approach to economic issues and the middle class.
The Liberals are well aware that the NDP has been on an upswing ever since Rachel Notley became Alberta's first NDP premier last month. There is a desire in the Liberal Party to recapture the momentum heading into the summer, when Mr. Trudeau will engage in traditional politicking at events such as the Calgary Stampede.
The goal, according to MPs and strategists, is to convince Canadians to put their trust in the Liberal Party and Mr. Trudeau – and not take a risk with the NDP.
"Change is in the air. The two parties that have been talking about change have been leading the polls at different times," said Liberal MP Adam Vaughan. "When people choose a new government and choose change, trusting that change is a big part of it."
Liberal MP Carolyn Bennett said the message of Tuesday's announcement is that Canadians will be heard under a Trudeau government and that the decision-making process will be transparent.
"A government that is listening, that is fair, that takes people seriously, it resonates with people," she said. "Especially when you oppose it to a top-down, father-knows-best approach."
Liberal MP John McKay said the party needs to toot its own horn after putting issues such as the economic aspirations of the middle class at the forefront of the political agenda.
"I think it's time for Mr. Trudeau to do some bragging," he said.
Mr. Vaughan said Mr. Trudeau has already laid out a number of government reforms, including getting rid of senators in his caucus and promising non-partisan appointments to the Senate.
"He's taken aggressively pro-active positions to open government. It's not just a question of changing government – that will happen, the polls are showing that – it's also about change for the better," he said.
The Liberals are getting ready to unveil more policy ideas after the recent proposal of a middle-class tax cut and a new benefit for families with children.
Mr. Trudeau will be making a speech titled Repairing the Canada-U.S. Relationship on June 22 at an event hosted by think tank Canada 2020. He is also ready to provide new details on his environmental platform, although party officials said the timing has yet to be decided.
"We have yet to play all of our cards," a Liberal source said.