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Trudeau makes big push for Liberal seat during Windsor campaign stop
Hundreds of Liberal supporters attended a Monday evening rally in Windsor to get up close with party leader, Justin Trudeau.
The party is making a push to reclaim the seat in Windsor West, last held by a Liberal in 2002 when Herb Gray retired from politics. NDP candidate Brian Masse has held the seat for the past 17 years – and Sandra Pupatello is working hard to convince voters it’s time for change.
“It's time for a strong voice in Windsor and in southern Ontario, proclaimed Pupatello, before shouting, “Welcome to Windsor Prime Minister Trudeau!"
Trudeau quickly returned the favour.
"Sandra Pupatello knows how to get big things done for Windsor," he yelled, before listing off his party’s achievements over the past four years. Chief among them, he says, is the Liberal Party’s commitment to funding the $5.7 billion Gordie Howe International Bridge, as well as taking a tough stance with U.S. negotiators while brokering a “New NAFTA.”
"By staying disciplined, and fighting tooth and nail to protect Canadian jobs, we got the US tariffs lifted, we bargained hard, and we got the job done," Trudeau said.
Former cabinet minister Chrystia Freeland -- visiting the city for the second time in two weeks -- says a new provision in NAFTA – also referred to as USMCA – requires a significant proportion of work done on north American built cars be carried out in high wage jurisdictions.
"That means [for] Canada and the US,” said Freeland after the rally. “It's an incredibly important provision that will mean a great deal for Canadian workers."
But it's not enough for local New Democrats, with three incumbents running for local seats across the region.
It’s time for the government to do their part,” said Masse. “We can’t sit around and wait any more.”
To that end, the NDP says it will create a national auto strategy and promises, if elected, to re-establish the auto innovation fund with $300 million to back it.
"They can transition, they can build the cars of the future but you need a government that is part of a targeted strategy, not just giving money to their friends with no stipulation," noted Windsor-Tecumseh NDP Candidate Cheryl Hardcastle earlier in the day.
Pupatello countered she’s anxious to get back into government to target what she calls the most important thing.
"When everyone else wants to talk about an auto strategy, we know what the auto strategy is. It's about landing investment, and it's what I did for a living for a long time," said Pupatello.
Not everyone was happy with the Liberal rally. A handful of protesters posted out front of the St. Clair Centre for the Arts denounced Trudeau for his handling of the country’s image on the international stage.
"He's a coward; he should be in jail,” argued Tecumseh resident, Mike Nemeth. “He's above the law, he thinks, but karma comes around, baby."