Trudeau delivers stump speech to supporters in Edmonton

Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau touched down in Edmonton Thursday for a rally and stump-style speech to supporters.

Although the party's campaign plane was damaged Wednesday night after a collision with a media bus on the tarmac in Victoria, B.C., Trudeau's team was able to fly to Edmonton with a new Air Transat plane.

Hundreds of party supporters turned up for the campaign event, although they were greeted by a handful protestors outside the venue voicing their support for the oil and gas industry.

Thursday's visit was in the riding of Edmonton Strathcona, where NDP incumbent Linda Duncan, is not seeking re-election.

The rally opened with a short introduction from local candidate Eleanor Olszewski and ended with Liberal candidates on stage, including two MPs seeking re-election: Amarjeet Sohi and Randy Boissonnault.

Trudeau opened his speech by asking "Are there any Liberals in Edmonton?" to loud cheers from supporters.

Thursday's speech in the Westbury Theatre emphasized the Liberal Party's social programs like the Canada Child Benefit while taking shots at the former Conservative government under Stephen Harper.

"Our team rejected Conservative cuts and austerity and chose instead to invest in the middle class and people working hard to join it," Trudeau said.

Trudeau did not mention Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer by name but did draw comparisons between the current Conservative leader and Harper. 

Trudeau also highlighted investments in Canada's energy sector, specifically mentioning the government's purchase of the Trans Mountain Expansion project. 

The Liberal leader's Edmonton visit came the same night as the first federal party leaders debate, which Trudeau did not participate in. Scheer, NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh and Green Party Leader Elizabeth May all took part in the debate, which was hosted by Citytv and Maclean's.

All three took the opportunity to condemn Trudeau's decision to skip the debate, accusing him of not having the courage to defend his record. 

"[Trudeau's] record is pretty abysmal, but that doesn't mean that he should give up on the debate," Singh told reporters. 

Earlier in the day, during a campaign stop in Victoria, Trudeau announced a pledge to expand the First Time Home Buyer Incentive program. 

Trudeau's next campaign event is scheduled for Friday in Trois Rivieres, Que. 

The election will be held Oct.21.