Justin Trudeau touts NAFTA, trade, jobs at Windsor campaign rally

Justin Trudeau touts NAFTA, trade, jobs at Windsor campaign rally

Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau attended a campaign rally at the St. Clair College Centre for the Arts Monday, to promote the bonafides of his party and newly minted Windsor West candidate Sandra Pupatello.

Trudeau took to the stage after opening remarks from Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland — the Liberal candidate for Ontario's University-Rosedale riding — and recently nominated Pupatello.

During her remarks, Freeland cited her party's handling of the Canada-U.S.-Mexico Agreement on Trade — otherwise known as the new NAFTA — as well the handling of U.S. tariffs on Canadian steel and aluminum as reasons for voters to support the Liberal party. 

"We know that there are a lot of unpredictable factors in the world today," said Freeland. "And we know there could be fresh troubles over the next four years. So we need a fantastic Liberal team to come back to Ottawa."

Freeland later introduced Pupatello, describing the former Ontario cabinet minister as "one of the smartest and toughest women I have ever met."

During her speech, Pupatello roused the crowd by introducing a number of Liberal candidates vying for riding in southwestern Ontario, including Essex candidate Audrey Festeryga and Lambton-Kent-Middlesex candidate Jesse McCormick. 

Jason Viau/CBC

Pupatello roused the crowd gathered by referencing former Ontario premier Mike Harris, saying "we've lived that movie of Mike Harris and we are not going down that road again."

She also subtly minimized both NDP leader Jagmeet Singh and Conservative leader Andrew Scheer, saying "we know that a vote down here for Jagmeet Singh brings Andrew Scheer closer to the prime minister and that is a no go for the people here in Windsor."

"When we go knocking on those doors, that's what we are telling them: That an NDP vote is a throwaway vote, because it brings us closer to Scheer," Pupatello said.

Despite her comments, Pupatello's speech was light on specific policy, serving as a way to rally the crowd for Trudeau's appearance, rather than convincing those gathered to vote for the Liberal party. 

When Trudeau took the stage, he did so amid cheers and chants of his name. 

"People across the country are putting up their hands to join our Liberal movement," said Trudeau. "They're choosing to serve, they are choosing forward."

Jason Viau/CBC

Much like Freeland, Trudeau spoke to the work done to establish the new NAFTA partnership, speaking to the ways in which the three largest North American economies are integrated with one another.

"Windsorites understand more than just about anybody else how truly integrated our economies are with local plants like Fiat Chrysler and many folks crossing the border every single day for work, eating breakfast in Canada, lunch in the U.S. and getting back home to Canada for dinner."

Of course, Trudeau took time to bash his chief opponent in his second race for the prime minister's seat, criticizing Scheer for wanting to "cave on NAFTA."

"He was wrong because workers were counting on us, families right here in Windsor were counting on us," Trudeau said. "So we went down to Washington and we fought for Canadian workers right across the country."

According to the CBC News poll tracker, the Conservative party currently leads the Liberals, with 34.3 per cent support compared to 33.6 per cent support.

Trudeau also spoke to Liberal investment in infrastructure, pointing to the party's support for the Gordie Howe International Bridge. 

Jason Viau/CBC

Stepping beyond Windsor-Essex, the Liberal leader also spoke to his government's elimination of 87 boil water advisories in Indigenous communities across the country, the creation of "over a million new jobs" and the negotiation of new health accords with the provinces and territories, among other successes. 

"On Oct. 21, Windsor, choose a government that will fight for you and with you for a stronger middle class and for a better Canada for all Canadians," he said. "From coast to coast to coast, let us stand together and let's choose forward."

The Liberal party held their rally several hours after NDP candidates announced a new $300 million auto plan at an event in Windsor.