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Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau greets supporters while arriving at a campaign rally in Ottawa, Oct. 12, 2015. (CHRIS WATTIE/REUTERS)
Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau greets supporters while arriving at a campaign rally in Ottawa, Oct. 12, 2015. (CHRIS WATTIE/REUTERS)

Trudeau making pitch to Conservative voters after surging ahead in polls Add to ...

Justin Trudeau is targeting Conservative voters as he tours through Ontario in the last week of the campaign, arguing Stephen Harper has abandoned the “progressive” heritage of his Tory predecessors.

The Liberal Leader is hoping to win the votes of disgruntled supporters of the Conservative Party of Canada after having overtaken the NDP as the most popular alternative to Mr. Harper’s team in opinion polls. (Read the latest Nanos Research tracking poll here) The CPC was born in 2003 through a merger of the Progressive Conservative Party of Canada and the Canadian Alliance, of which Mr. Harper was the leader at the time.

'Canadians deserve better': Trudeau responds to Harper's attack on Liberal tax claims (CP Video)

At a rally in the riding of Nepean in suburban Ottawa on Monday, Mr. Trudeau said “the Tories have a proud history,” before taking shots at Mr. Harper’s promise to remove the Canadian citizenship of convicted terrorists with dual nationalities.

“Most importantly, Progressive Conservatives – Tories – can be proud that their prime ministers didn’t base everything on wedge politics. They didn’t divide Canadians over differences of religion or citizenship. Progressive Conservative prime ministers believed that a Canadian is a Canadian is a Canadian,” Mr. Trudeau said in front of hundreds of supporters.

The Liberal Leader said that in the past, PC governments fought against poverty and helped to improve Canada’s reputation on the world stage. “Those are values that haven’t disappeared, they have just disappeared from the current Conservative Party and disappeared along with anything progressive about them,” he said.

For more than a year, Mr. Trudeau has told Liberal supporters that they should not see the Conservatives as their enemies, but rather as their neighbours and family members. He is repeatedly making the pitch in the last days of the campaign as he goes to ridings that are currently in Conservative hands in places like New Brunswick and Ontario.

“We don’t need to convince them to leave the Conservative Party, we just need to show them how Stephen Harper’s party has left them,” Mr. Trudeau said.

Mr. Trudeau entered the last leg of the campaign as the front-runner. After taking a break from touring on Sunday, he went to a pumpkin patch on Monday in the riding of Pontiac, in western Quebec, with his wife Sophie and their three children.

He is spending the rest of the day in Ontario, with a swing through the southern edges of the province dominating the first half of the week.

“We are on the verge of something special,” he told supporters. “We have the chance to prove that fear and division won’t work here, not in Canada. We have the chance to replace a vision of this country that is small and mean and nasty, with a vision that is confident and optimistic and positive.”

During his daily news conference, Mr. Trudeau carefully avoided fuelling any controversy, promoting his proposed Canada Child Benefit and his tax plan, which would lower personal taxes for most Canadians while raising the rate on those making more than $200,000 a year.

He refused to speculate on the Oct. 19 election results and his position in the event of a minority government, regardless of which party wins the most seats.

“I am not going to engage in hypotheticals right now, we have a week to go to work extremely hard to earn Canadians’ confidence with a positive message,” Mr. Trudeau said. “Canadians get to decide what the next government looks like.”

Asked about Conservative attacks against potential Liberal tax hikes, Mr. Trudeau accused Mr. Harper of “misleading Canadians with untruths.”

“He is desperate to try and frighten Canadians away from voting for a vision that is going to put more money in the pockets of nine out of 10 families and cut taxes for the middle-class,” Mr. Trudeau said.

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