Trudeau pledges green recovery ahead of possible early election

MONTREAL: Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Saturday promised a green recovery and lambasted his Conservative rivals in a speech with a strong electoral flavor, as he closed out a virtual convention for his Liberal party.

“Together, we have accomplished a lot of things… but the work is far from being finished,” Trudeau told the meeting, amid speculation of an electoral campaign in the coming months.

The Liberals were returned to office with a minority government in October 2019, a situation that fuels early election rumors, even though Trudeau has rejected going to the polls during the pandemic.

“While we are fighting to end the pandemic… we must prepare for what comes after,” Trudeau said in his speech, delivered in French and English.

He asserted that the Liberals are the “only ones with a real plan to tackle climate change and pass on a cleaner and more prosperous future.”

Trudeau attacked Conservatives — the main opposition party — who, he said, “refuse to admit climate change is real.”

At their convention last month, a majority of Conservative delegates rejected a resolution to recognize the reality of climate change.

 In this file photo taken on November 20, 2020, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speaks during a Covid-19 pandemic briefing from Rideau Cottage in Ottawa. AFP PHOTO

Accusing the party and its leader Erin O’Toole of being “disconnected,” he slammed Conservatives for “flirt(ing) with disinformation” on public health issues and vaccines during the coronavirus pandemic.

Trudeau asserted that his government is on the right track “to meet our commitment that every Canadian who wants to will be fully vaccinated by the end of the summer.”

During the two-day virtual meeting, Liberal delegates debated and approved a number of resolutions on health and the economy, notably calling for a universal basic income and a stimulus plan prioritizing environmental issues.

The leftist New Democrats, which also held its party convention this weekend, have said they would vote with the government through the pandemic.

But once the threat of the pandemic subsides, Trudeau could be tempted to call an election in hopes of regaining a majority in parliament.