OLIVER: Trudeau is trying to distract voters from his failures

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau repeated the same diversionary tactics in the English language debate that he has been using during the election campaign – highlight social issues that no party has any intention of touching and avoid economic performance, which is a core responsibility of every government. Two examples stand out: abortion and deficit financing. Trudeau emphasized the first to frighten women voters and downplayed the second because of his frightening track record.

Abortion attracts intense public scrutiny, even though all party leaders promised they won’t change Canada’s current hands-off approach. Trudeau laid out his position: “I continue to be and will always be fully pro-choice but I no longer feel that I can or need to say that I’m against abortion, that’s not for me as a man to say.”

Therefore, self-righteous rhetoric aside, his position is identical to Andrew Scheer’s as a matter of public policy and personal belief. Nevertheless, he hypocritically uses abortion as a cudgel to attack Scheer, based on a classic double standard applied to the dreaded Conservatives.

Bloc MPs are devoted to breaking up the country. Green MPs are vocal about eliminating the oil, gas and nuclear industries, with devastating consequences for jobs, economic growth, cost of living and energy independence. The NDP would exclude a political opponent, Maxime Bernier, from the leaders’ debates because he wants fewer immigrants. But it’s OK for progressive leaders to block candidates who share the religious convictions of millions of Canadians.

However, one related approach is different. Trudeau and Green Party Leader Elizabeth May won’t accept candidates who speak publicly about their pro-life views (don’t ask, don’t tell), while NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh and Yves-Francois Blanchet of the Bloc Quebecois refuse to let pro-life candidates run for their parties. Personally, I support a woman’s right to choose. However, I find their actions to be highly intolerant since they are banning candidates based on their faith. We are headed down a dark path when freedom of religion and free speech take second place to politically correct orthodoxy.