O'Toole talks groceries, abortion, protesters in Fredericton campaign stop

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Conservative Leader Erin O'Toole announced his plan to curb price-fixing at a campaign event in Fredericton. (CBC - image credit)
Conservative Leader Erin O'Toole announced his plan to curb price-fixing at a campaign event in Fredericton. (CBC - image credit)

At a campaign stop in Fredericton Saturday morning, Conservative Leader Erin O'Toole promised to lower the cost of groceries, but had to deflect questions on abortion and about supporters who attended a cancelled Justin Trudeau rally.

The campaign event marks O'Toole's first stop in New Brunswick since the campaign began two weeks ago.

O'Toole said if elected his government would strengthen price-fixing laws, with some penalties including jail time for executives convicted of price-fixing.

"If you or your family aren't concerned about rising prices, well you have four parties to choose from in this election," said O'Toole.

"But if you are, there's only one choice, Canada's Conservatives."

Abortion access

O'Toole was also asked to wade into an ongoing debate over private clinic abortions in New Brunswick.

New Brunswick does not pay for abortions performed at private clinics, like Clinic 554. Abortion advocates says that contravenes the Canada Health Act.

CBC
CBC

At a campaign event last weekend in Miramichi, Trudeau took Premier Blaine Higgs to task for refusing to fund the abortions.

The position on private abortions has been held by successive New Brunswick governments, both Liberal and Progressive Conservative.

O'Toole, who reiterated his pro-choice views on the campaign trail, said he wants to make sure access to abortion services is available.

He said he's satisfied that access is there after discussions with Higgs.

'Strongly condemn' harassment

O'Toole had to address allegations that a Conservative candidate in Ontario boasted that some of his supporters had attended a Trudeau rally that had to be cancelled due to security concerns.

On Friday, dozens of protesters holding signs attended the rally in Bolton, Ont.

Sean Kilpatrick/The Canadian Press
Sean Kilpatrick/The Canadian Press

O'Toole said the scenes in Ontario on Friday do not reflect his campaign and have no place in Canada.

"I strongly condemn any form of harassment and protest like we've seen," said O'Toole.

"We're a democracy. We should be having a respectful debate of ideas and we have no time for people that bring a negativity to campaigning."

Leaders in N.B.

O'Toole has a second stop in the Maritimes scheduled for Saturday in Prince Edward Island.

O'Toole's stop marks the third time this election campaign that a federal party leader has touched down in New Brunswick.

Last Sunday, Trudeau attended a campaign event in Miramichi.

On Friday People's Party Leader Maxime Bernier attended events in Saint John. He will be in Fredericton today.

While NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh hasn't visited the province during the campaign, he did visit shortly before the campaign started. Green Party Leader Annamie Paul has not made a campaign stop in the province.

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