Afghanistan’s flagrant overspending and mismanagement allegations dominate election campaign
TORONTO – Charges of gratuitous spending, misleading the public and prioritizing votes over the crisis in Afghanistan dominated the seventh full day of the federal election campaign.
NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh made his debut in Toronto on Sunday at an event celebrating the tenth anniversary of Jack Layton’s death. Layton led the NDP for eight years and the party reached historic highs under his leadership, winning 103 seats in the 2011 election.
Singh paid tribute to Layton and his legacy, then aimed at Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau’s response to the situation in Afghanistan. Choosing his words carefully, Singh said he wondered if the timing of Trudeau’s election call hadn’t stopped Canada from helping its allies in a country that has been in chaos since it fell to its hands. Taliban this month.
“Perhaps the fact that Justin Trudeau called an election could have had an impact on his ability to plan the evacuation of our allies in Afghanistan,” he said. “And I’m worried about it, I think maybe more could have been done.”
Singh said he would have expedited evacuations and simplified the administrative process for Canadian allies wishing to leave Afghanistan.
“The process Justin Trudeau put in place required people to fill out a form online,” he said. “It was complicated, it was bureaucratic. When we have a looming humanitarian crisis, that’s not the way to react.”
As of Sunday morning, three flights had left the country since the Taliban takeover, carrying fleeing Afghans who once worked with Canadian forces in the war-torn country. Defense Minister Harjit Sajjan told a press conference that Canada will work to evacuate people from Afghanistan “as long as it is safe to do so.”
Meanwhile, the Conservatives took a hit in Liberal spending with a press release highlighting the purchase of a $ 40,228 car for Bernadette Jordan, Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Coast Guard.
The Tory press release also said about $ 218,000 had been spent on cabinet furniture since February 1, 2019. Jordan was sworn in as minister in November of that year.
The Liberals said the Conservatives were misleading the public. Jordan did not have a car when she became fisheries minister, so a car was purchased for her use, Liberal spokesman Brook Simpson said.
“As the Conservatives know, all cabinet ministers and the Leader of the Official Opposition, regardless of which party is in power, have access to a vehicle to do their office work,” Simpson wrote.
Additionally, the office expenses were incurred during a renovation that began before Jordan was sworn in as minister, Simpson said.
Highlighting a September 2020 CBC News article that highlights $ 170,000 in taxpayer-funded renovations to Stornoway, the official residence of the Leader of the Opposition in Ottawa – and therefore O’Toole’s home since August 2020 – Simpson asked, “If the conservative position is that renovation expenses need to be reimbursed, will O’Toole reimburse the $ 170,000 for taxpayer-funded home renovations? “
O’Toole was in British Columbia on Sunday for an ad at an alcohol and drug addiction center in New Westminster.
Trudeau was on the East Coast, with scheduled stops in New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island.
Voters go to the polls on September 20.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published on August 22, 2021.