Federal Leaders Descend on Montreal for TVA Debate

The federal party leaders took something of a break from campaigning on Thursday as they prepared for their first televised debate in Montreal. Nevertheless, both Liberal leader Justin Trudeau and Conservative leader Erin O'Toole continued to highlight policy commitments over social media, and New Democrat leader Jagmeet Singh answered questions from reporters in Montreal. Here's a look at what those three leaders tweeted and talked about ahead of the TVA debate:

Trudeau Highlights 'Rent-To-Own' Program 

Liberal leader Justin Trudeau took to Twitter on Thursday to highlight the Liberal Party's 'Rent-to-Own' initiative. Announced on Wednesday as part of the Liberal platform, the proposed program would work with builders to set aside a portion of new housing for Canadians to rent-to-own, and create a stream for landlords to enter into agreements with renters. The Liberal platform pledges $1 billion toward the program.

Singh Rallies Supporters Ahead of the Debate

New Democrat leader Jagmeet Singh held an informal campaign event in Montreal on Thursday, treating supporters to his own poutine recipe. In a Q&A with reporters, Singh continued to contrast the Liberal and New Democratic Party track record on key issues important to Quebec voters, including climate change and affordable housing. "I want to let folks know that while Justin Trudeau is going to let the super rich continue to have a free ride," said Singh, "New Democrats are going to make them pay their fair share, and invest in solutions to make people's lives better."

O'Toole Highlights Trade Approach

Also on Twitter, Conservative leader Erin O'Toole highlighted his approach to trade on Thursday: "Canada's Conservatives believe in 'Free Trade with Free Nations," O'Toole said in a video. "We'll build stronger ties with those who share our values." Since becoming the Conservative leader, O'Toole has stated he would pursue a comprehensive Canada-Australia-New Zealand-United Kingdom ("CANZUK") agreement, which, according to the Conservative platform, could include the free flow of capital investment between partners and reciprocal freedom to study, live and work for citizens. The Conservative platform also pledges to diversify Canada's supply chains away from China, including reforming Canada's procurement rules to create a "vital national interest category" for products and services that must be sourced in Canada.

Conservative Lead Widens According to Nanos Daily Tracking

According to Nanos' Daily Ballot Tracking the Conservatives have jumped ahead of the Liberals in national polling. If an election had been held on September 1, 2021, according to the tracker, the Conservatives would have won 34.2% of the vote, the Liberals 30.5%, the NDP 20.1%, the Bloc Québécois 6%, the People's Party of Canada 4.8%, and the Green Party 4.0%. While the Conservatives and Liberals remain in a close fight for first place, the poll reinforces the general positive trend the Conservatives have enjoyed since the outset of the campaign.

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