Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau waves from his bus after his election campaign tour in Candiac, Quebec Canada September 12, 2021. Reuters/Carlos Osorio
September 12, 2021
Steve Scherer. By
CANDIAC, Quebec (Reuters) – Liberal Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who was pelted with gravel at a rally last week, said the leader of the right-wing People’s Party of Canada (PPC) was using irresponsible rhetoric.
Trudeau, 49, was campaigning last week in London, Ontario ahead of the September 20 national election, when he was hit by gravel on his way back to his campaign bus.
Police on Saturday accused former PPC member Shane Marshall of assault with a weapon, https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/london/shane-marshall-people-s-party-gravel-trudeau-1.6172690 accused stone
PPC leader Maxim Bernier expelled Marshal from the party last week after the allegations surfaced, and he also condemned the incident.
On Sunday, Trudeau placed at least some responsibility on Bernier for throwing gravel and facing frequent profane verbal abuse from angry vaccine opponents on the campaign trail.
“Words have power,” Trudeau told supporters at an event outside Montreal asking whether Bernier was inciting violence. “I don’t think Mr Bernier is responsible for his attitude towards Canada or the Canadian people.”
Waving the PPC sign, a lone protester shouted, “Woo! Max Bernier!” and “liar” and “tyrant” as Trudeau put it. “Thanks, sir, for having my point,” Trudeau replied.
Bernier, who calls himself a “limited-government conservative”, is drawing a vocal crowd as he campaigns against pandemic lockdowns and vaccine mandates.
A former minister for foreign affairs and industry, Bernier founded the populist PPC in 2018, which he lost after downplaying his bid for the leadership of the main opposition Conservative Party.
In 2019, the PPC won only 1.6% of the national vote and failed to get a seat in parliament, but an Akos poll published on Saturday showed the PPC at 9.1%.
A rolling Nanos Research poll of 1,200 voters conducted on Friday showed the Liberals leading 34.4% with rival Conservatives at 30.1%, a change from Thursday when the Conservatives were leading the Liberals by more than two percentage points.
Liberal gains in the elections followed last week’s two nationally broadcast debates in French and English.
Left-leaning New Democrats had 19% on Friday, the same as the day before.
(Reporting by Steve Scherer; Editing by Cynthia Osterman)