Canada's PM Trudeau under fire in last TV debate before election

Photo: EPA Canadian PM Justin Trudeau arrives for an EU-Canada summit at the EU Council headquarter in Brussels, 14 June 2021.

Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau came under pressure on Thursday in the last TV debate of top candidates before parliamentary elections on 20 September, news wires reported. His Conservative Party opponent Erin O'Toole criticized Trudeau for his decision to call an early election despite the crisis in Afghanistan and the current coronavirus pandemic.

"You called an election, so you put your own political interests ahead of the well being of thousands of people. Leadership is about putting others first, not yourself," he said.The leader of the social-democratic NDP party, Jagmeet Singh, agreed.

Trudeau defended his Afghanistan policy and praised the work of Canadian security forces to evacuate thousands of people from Kabul.

Nearly 38 million people will go to the polls in Canada on 20 September to vote for a new government. Trudeau, who has been in charge since 2015 and has led a minority government since 2019, called the elections several weeks ago.

Critics accuse him of unnecessarily bringing people to the polls during the coronavirus crisis in a bid to reclaim a majority in parliament.

It is a close race between Trudeau and his main rival O'Toole, dpa noted. Though O'Toole is polling ahead in some surveys in terms of absolute votes, most opinion polls put Trudeau's Liberal Party ahead in terms of parliamentary seats. With ten days to go, no party appeared set to achieve an absolute majority of 170 seats in parliament. Canada tends to form minority governments rather than coalitions in such cases.

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