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Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole has written a letter to Quebec Premier François Legault in which he opens the door to offering the province more money for child care than what the Conservative Party has outlined in its party platform.

Mr. Legault held a news conference last week in which he praised several elements of the Conservative platform, but also expressed strong concern with the fact that the Conservatives are not committed to honouring signed federal agreements with the provinces related to child care.

Mr. Legault has said Quebec’s deal, signed with Ottawa in early August, is worth $6-billion over five years and that his government is free to use the money in any area it wishes.

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“I listened closely to your news conference last Thursday where you spoke about, among other things, the importance of respecting provincial jurisdiction. I have to tell you that I completely agree with you on this,” Mr. O’Toole wrote in French to the premier on Monday. “…In our financial plan, we have put aside money for future agreements with the provinces. It is with these funds that I intend to honour my pledge to co-ordinate my approach on child care with your priorities, such as the Quebec child care program that has worked well for over 20 years. As I’ve said throughout this campaign, we recognize that the child care situation is different in Quebec. That’s why our approach must be different with Quebec on this file. Within the first 100 days of a Conservative government, I will sit down with you to conclude an agreement that will allow Quebec and Ottawa to attain their respective objectives. This will respect Quebec priorities related to child care, as well as federal obligations to the other provinces in this area.”

The Conservative Party costing document, released last Wednesday, includes $9.7-billion in the first year only for “fiscal stabilization and provincial agreements.”

The Conservative Party’s costing document revealed the scale of the difference between Liberal and Conservative plans on child care. The Liberals pledge to spend $29.8-billion over five years toward a national $10-a-day child-care program. The Conservatives propose a child-care tax credit instead, at a cost of $2.6-billion over five years.

Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau criticized Mr. O’Toole’s letter Tuesday, accusing the Conservative Leader of frequently changing his policies during the election campaign.

“For weeks and months, he said he would cancel our agreements on child care and would not create any spaces,” he said. “Mr. O’Toole is making the wrong choices and now he’s trying to modify his platform yet again, because he was caught fighting for things that are not the priority of Canadians and Quebeckers.”

Mr. Trudeau’s main message Tuesday was an appeal to left-leaning voters considering the Bloc Québécois, the Green Party or the NDP to vote Liberal to stop Mr. O’Toole from forming a Conservative government. The appeal to those supporting other parties is a common theme during the last week of Liberal election campaigning.

Mr. Trudeau appeared in Richmond, B.C., on Tuesday alongside Andrew Weaver, the former leader of British Columbia’s Green Party, to make his pitch to those considering other parties, highlighting the Liberals’ proposals to address climate change.

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Mr. Weaver said the Liberal plan on climate change is one that he has been “dreaming of” for most of his life.

Speaking in French, Mr. Trudeau said the Liberal Party is more in line with progressive views on issues such as culture, climate change and firearms policy.

“The Bloc can’t stop a Conservative government,” he said. “We need progressive Quebeckers to choose a progressive government full of Quebeckers, ready to fight for their priorities day in and day out.”


This is the daily Politics Briefing newsletter, written by Ian Bailey. Today’s newsletter is co-written with Bill Curry. It is available exclusively to our digital subscribers. If you’re reading this on the web, subscribers can sign up for the Politics newsletter and more than 20 others on our newsletter signup page. Have any feedback? Let us know what you think.


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TRUDEAU MEMOIR REPUBLISHED IN CHINA - Justin Trudeau’s Canadian publisher struck a deal in the first year after the Liberal government took office for a Chinese state-owned publishing house to republish the Prime Minister’s memoir, Common Ground, for Chinese readers under a new title: The Legend Continues.

O’TOOLE STEPS UP TRUDEAU ATTACKS - Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole unleashed a lengthy attack on Justin Trudeau on Monday, portraying the Liberal Leader as entitled and selfish. Mr. Trudeau, meanwhile, accused Mr. O’Toole and the Tories of being beholden to the gun lobby and the anti-vaccination movement.

SINGH PLEDGES `POLITICAL WILL’ ON BOIL-WATER ISSUES - Jagmeet Singh is promising to bring the “political will” to end boil-water advisories in First Nations communities, but the NDP Leader has offered few specifics on how this would be achieved under an NDP government.

CALL FOR MORE ELECTION DISCUSSION ON INDIGENOUS ISSUES - As the federal election campaign unfolded, Sharleen Gale has been waiting to hear how candidates plan to support Indigenous companies, workers and investors. To date, the chief councillor of Fort Nelson First Nation in British Columbia has been largely disappointed. Ms. Gale and others had expected more vigorous discussion of Indigenous issues on the campaign trail – especially after this year’s revelations of unmarked graves at residential schools brought renewed attention to long-standing inequities in the federal government’s treatment of Indigenous people. Story here.

LPC/NDP PLEDGE TO CRIMINALIZE HOSPITAL/HEALTH-WORKER HARASSMENT - The federal New Democrats and Liberals have made mirror pledges to criminalize protesters that block hospitals or harass health care workers as party leaders denounced planned demonstrations at hospitals countrywide.

TRUDEAU TAKES ON PROTESTER - Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau was met with more angry protesters Monday, including one who hurled a slur about his wife. “Isn’t there a hospital you should be going to bother right now?” Trudeau said to the demonstrator on Monday, outside the TV studio in Burnaby, B.C., where the Liberal leader had arrived to do an interview. Story here from CBC.

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BLACKSTOCK REVIEW OF LEADERS’ DEBATE - “Platitudes without a lot of commitments”: Cindy Blackstock, executive director of the First Nations Child and Family Caring Society of Canada, on how Indigenous issues were handled in the English-language leaders debate. Story here from TVO.


Bloc Quebecois Leader Yves-François Blanchet visited the Magdalen Islands.

Conservative Party Leader Erin O’Toole made an announcement about his child-care policies at a media availability in Russell, Ont. The Conservative Leader is holding a virtual telephone town hall today for Atlantic Canada and Quebec.

Green Party Leader Annamie Paul held a news conference in Charlottetown with Atlantic candidates.

Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau made an announcement in Richmond, B.C.

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NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh held a media availability in Toronto, and was scheduled to attend campaign events in Kitchener and Windsor.


Together with CTV and Nanos Research, The Globe and Mail is doing daily surveys to track which party and leader Canadians prefer. Read more here.

New data from the Angus Reid Institute finds the Conservatives and Liberals in a statistical deadlock, with the NDP appearing poised to increase their vote share. Details here.


Campbell Clark (The Globe and Mail) on why it’s time for the NDP and the Bloc to tell us what their minority bottom line is: It is time for NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh and Bloc Québécois Leader Yves-François Blanchet to deliver their minority report. Neither can expect to be prime minister after next week’s election, but one or both of them might be in a position to dictate some priorities to the government – and possibly even dictate who will govern. This is no small matter. These two leaders should tell us what they will do about it. What bottom-line conditions will they set for supporting a minority government?”

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Margaret MacAulay, Patrick Fafard and Adèle Cassola (Contributors to The Globe and Mail) on why chief medical officers of health can’t be all things to all people: “Few public servants are as well-known as Canada’s chief medical officers of health (CMOH). People in the role, such as Bonnie Henry in B.C., Deena Hinshaw in Alberta, and Theresa Tam at the federal level, were once the stars of daily press conferences, but over the summer, some have become less prominent. However, as the Delta-driven fourth wave of the COVID-19 pandemic continues, we can expect these high-profile doctors to resume their regular media appearances.”

André Pratte (The Montreal Gazette) on the question in the English-language debate that could shake up the election in Quebec:Like all minorities, French-speaking Quebecers are, understandably, very sensitive to how they are portrayed. Other Canadians should endeavour to appreciate this. Journalists, politicians and academics should be careful not to let biases seep into their characterizations of the province, while, of course, reserving the right to be critical of Quebecers’ collective decisions.”

Send along your political questions and we will look at getting answers to run in this newsletter. It's not possible to answer each one personally. Questions and answers will be edited for length and clarity.

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