O'Toole, Trudeau make campaign stops in London, Ont. Friday
Conservative leader Erin O’Toole on Friday became the latest federal party leader to visit the hotly contested riding of London West in the days leading up to the election, even as Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau made a return trip.
At a private event at Bellamere Winery and Event Centre, O’Toole never strayed from his talking points of calling out Trudeau for calling an election during a pandemic.
“A $600 million election for himself. He’s hoping you stay home,” said O’Toole.
With Liberal Kate Young not seeking reelection, the London West riding is seen as being wide open. And it’s often a case of “go big or go home,” in this particular riding, according to Western University political scientist Cristine de Clercy.
“Historically that riding, when it does change hands, when different parties capture it, it tends to swing with a pretty strong plurality of the vote. So it’s not clear right now how close the candidates are, but certainly the party leaders think it’s worth showing up and showing the flag.”
Liberal leader Justin Trudeau was stumping for votes in the riding Friday also. While earlier this week NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh brought his high-energy campaign to a rally in Wortley Village, and the PPC’s Maxime Bernier attracted hundreds of supporters to an event at Springbank Gardens.
“The PPC’s performance in this election is a bit of a wild card,” said de Clercy. “Especially in recent weeks. Especially down here in southern Ontario. Maxime Bernier has done an impressive job of attracting voters to his rallies. Many people may find they have underestimated support for the PPC.”
O'Toole addressed votes for the PPC saying, "Any other choice is actually a vote for Mr. Trudeau."
Trudeau, meanwhile made a surprise stop at the Storm Stayed Brewing Compay on Wharncliffe Road Friday afternoon, his second visit to the Forest City.
Both supporters and a small group of protesters were in attendance.
“We’re very very excited about the work everybody has been doing across the entire London team. Whether it’s Afeez, Peter or M. Hammoud, or just for Canada, you are stepping up in a big way to make the right choice,” Trudeau said.
Liberal candidates Afeez Ajibowu, Peter Fragiskatos and Mohamed Hammoud are running in Elgin-Middlesex-London, London North Centre and London-Fanshawe respectively.
Arielle Kayabaga is running in London West, against Conservative Rob Flack, the PPC's Mike McMullen, NDP's Shawna Lewkowitz and Libertarian Party of Canada's Jacques Boudreau.
While the Liberals have held the London West riding since 2015, prior to that it was long held by Ed Holder for the Conservatives. Since then Holder has gone on to become London’s mayor.
After speaking to the crowd, Trudeau greeted supporters and took photos before returning to his campaign bus.
- With files from CTV News London's Justin Zadorsky and Marek Sutherland