Conservative leader Andrew Scheer arrives for a morning announcement in Toronto Tuesday, October 1, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward

Tory leader grilled on abortion in Canadian election debate

A Conservative government wouldn’t change abortion rules in Canada, Scheer says

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and opposition party leaders grilled the leader of the Conservative party Wednesday night on his personal beliefs on abortion in Trudeau’s first debate of the campaign for this month’s elections.

Trudeau wasn’t asked about photos of him appearing in brownface and blackface years ago despite it making headlines around the world just two weeks ago. The controversy hasn’t led to a drop in the polls for Trudeau.

At the French-language debate in Montreal, Trudeau and the leaders of other opposition parties tried to corner opposition Conservative leader Andrew Scheer on his personal position on abortion.

Scheer said that if elected to govern in the Oct. 21 parliamentary elections, a Conservative government wouldn’t change abortion rules in Canada. But Scheer didn’t answer what his personal belief on abortion is.

“Yes or no,” Trudeau said as he pressed Scheer repeatedly on a woman’s right to choose.

Scheer was elected as the Conservative party’s leader in part because of support among social conservatives in his party.

“I will make sure that a Conservative party will not reopen the debate,” Scheer said.

READ MORE: Federal-party leaders seek momentum in French-language debate amid flat polls

Trudeau’s Liberal party hopes to win more districts in the French-language province of Quebec in this election in order to stay in power. The opposition leaders of the NDP and Bloc Quebecois parties also attacked Scheer on the abortion issue.

“We are seeing that three of us are aligned on values, the values of Quebecers, and we have a fourth, a Conservative party that is not aligned,” Trudeau said.

Trudeau, 47, is seeking a second term as prime minister and Scheer, 40, is his leading opponent.

When the environment came up, Sheer noted that Trudeau is the only candidate using two planes for his campaign, quipping that Trudeau is using one for himself and the media and the other for his costumes.

Trudeau was mocked at home and abroad for repeatedly dressing up in colorful, traditional Indian garb during a visit to India in 2018.

The brownface controversy surfaced last month when Time magazine published a photo showing the then-29-year-old Trudeau at an “Arabian Nights” party in 2001 wearing a turban and robe with dark makeup on his hands, face and neck. Trudeau said he was dressed as a character from “Aladdin.”

Rob Gillies, The Associated Press

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

LETTER: Teck was a threat to the environment

Stan Hutchison compared the tarsands mine to the advent of the computer industry

GoFundMe campaign raises close to $8,500 in two days for Pitt Meadows firefighter battling ALS

Rob Maclean, 51, was diagnosed with the degenerative disorder two weeks after his 51st birthday

Dead fish hauled to dump bothers environmentalist

Says Pitt Meadows pumps killing too many

UPDATE: Search ends for missing Maple Ridge boy

Daniel Gagnon, 12, has been missing since Feb. 23

Maple Ridge author shares four-year story of grief, hope

Nadine Sands tells how she found a new love while grieving the loss of her husband

Clothing, jewelry, purses: RCMP ask court about disposal of evidence in Robert Pickton case

Pickton was sentenced to life with no chance of parole for 25 years for the murders of six women

Ryan nets hat trick in return as Senators beat Canucks 5-2

Ottawa winger received assistance for admitted alcohol problem

Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs meet with provincial, federal ministers

Neither party speaking on the groundwork laid for tomorrow’s talks

Speaker ‘will not tolerate illegal activity’ on B.C. legislature grounds, says chief of staff

Chief of staff to the B.C. speaker Alan Mullen says situation with demonstrators appears ‘fluid’

MPs to examine privacy implications of facial-recognition technology used by RCMP

The MPs will look at how the technology affects the privacy, security and safety of children

Dates back to 2009: Calgary police lay charges in fraud involving semi-trucks

Three people from Calgary are facing charges that include fraud over $5,000

Aspiring entrepreneurs invited to pitch ideas at Dragons’ Den auditions

Abbotsford and Vancouver the only Lower Mainland try-out locations

Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs optimistic ahead of talks with feds, province

Discussions with provincial and federal governments expected to start later today

Most Read