And they’re off! The 2019 federal election officially started Wednesday, as the prime minister traipsed out to Rideau Hall and requested the dissolution of Parliament from the Governor-General.
Afterwards, Justin Trudeau took to the podium to address the assembled journalists and the nation in a short but pointed speech outlining the Liberal party’s priorities for the election — a speech more noteworthy for what it left out, than for what it contained.
Two things were absent: climate change and Conservative leader Andrew Scheer. Despite the fact that the environment tops the list of Canadians’ preoccupations, it rated only one sentence in Trudeau’s prepared text. Instead, pocketbook issues took center stage as the Liberal leader dumped all over former Tory PM Stephen Harper’s economic record while praising his own.
To be sure, Trudeau offered up a lot of revisionist history (to whit, it wasn’t Harper’s cuts that provoked a brief recession in 2015, but the drop in the price of oil). Fact checks be damned, though, as the exercise gave Trudeau the perfect excuse to raise the Ghost of Harper Past, a far more fear-inducing foe than the flesh and blood Scheer.