Leaders link up with their political families for Day 3 of federal campaign

OTTAWA — The Conservatives, NDP and Greens picked up where they left off Friday after sparring the previous night in the election campaign’s first leaders debate — a confrontation that didn’t include Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau, who is spending the day in Quebec.

Trudeau began the day by promising a suite of packages aimed at helping small businesses, including eliminating the so-called “swipe fee” on sales taxes that merchants must pay to credit-card companies on every transaction.

The Liberal leader is scheduled to end the day with a rally in his Montreal hometown.

Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer, meanwhile, campaigned in and around the Toronto suburbs, kicking off the day at a bus garage in Mississauga. He promised to bring back the public transit tax credit, a hallmark of the Stephen Harper era that’s now a core element of the party’s environmental plan.

The Liberal government cut the tax credit in the 2017 budget, saying it was ineffective and they would rather spend the money on building transit.

The Conservatives say their measure, which they are calling the Green Public Transit Tax Credit, would give people a 15-per-cent credit at tax time.

Later Friday, Scheer was to visit a pool hall and campaign alongside Tory candidates in Etobicoke and Brampton.

Green party Leader Elizabeth May was heading back to family Friday, joining her husband and fellow candidate John Kidder for an event in the B.C. riding where he’s seeking a seat. Kidder is running in Mission-Matsqui-Fraser Canyon, a riding that sprawls in a vast crescent northeast of Vancouver.

And it’s back into the NDP family fold for leader Jagmeet Singh as well, who campaigns in Toronto before ending the day with a pizza party at the home of Olivia Chow, the former NDP MP and widow of the party’s beloved former leader Jack Layton.

Singh promised Friday to put a price cap on cellphone and internet services, part of an election campaign platform that is aimed at appealing to voters worried about being able to afford the things they need in their everyday lives.

Telecom companies have previously warned that government attempts to restrict the cost of internet and cellphone services will hurt both the quality of service and investments in infrastructure.

Singh is also to give a lunchtime speech to the Canadian Club.

The Toronto suburbs — the city itself and the so-called ”905” belt around it — are among the hottest battlegrounds in the campaign, with lots of potential flips between the Liberals and the Conservatives. The New Democrats see opportunities, too, especially in Singh’s former hometown of Brampton.

People’s Party Leader Maxime Bernier will campaign on his own home turf in Quebec’s Beauce region, including a photo op as he submits his nomination papers to Elections Canada.

Scheer, May and Singh crossed swords for the first official debate of the campaign last night, while Trudeau instead attended an event in Edmonton.

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