Scheer won’t say if Conservatives hired consultant to ‘destroy’ People’s party

Conservative leader Andrew Scheer responds to questions from the media during a campaign stop in Toronto. Saturday, October 19, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld

TORONTO  Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer is refusing to say whether his party hired a consulting firm to attack the People’s Party of Canada.

The Globe and Mail reports that strategist Warren Kinsella and his firm Daisy Group were hired to “seek and destroy” Maxime Bernier’s party and portray its supporters as racist.

The newspaper cites a source with direct knowledge of the project as saying the client is the Conservative Party of Canada.

But Scheer answered repeated questions on the report today with the same refrain _ that he doesn’t comment on vendors that his party “may or may not have engaged with.”

Bernier formed the People’s Party, which competes with the Tories for right-wing votes, after he narrowly lost the Conservative leadership race to Scheer.

Bernier has scheduled a news conference later today to condemn what he calls a Conservative party plot.

When asked Saturday about the reports, Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau repeated his line about the Conservatives using the politics of fear and division, as well as outright falsehoods, to get their message across.

Contrary to the facts, Scheer has been insisting that the Liberals and the NDP are poised to form a coalition after Monday’s vote, one that would raise the GST and cancel social transfer payments to the provinces in order to finance their big-ticket promises.

The federal election campaign has reached a crescendo, with leaders giving it their all to try to excite their volunteers and get every last potential voter to the polls.

Trudeau has a marathon day of campaigning ahead _ he started early near Niagara Falls, Ont., and is ending with a late-night rally in Calgary after a stop in Winnipeg along the way.

Scheer is in and around Toronto all day, and the NDP’s Jagmeet Singh starts in Vancouver, talking about the hot issue of housing at a downtown news conference. Singh will end his day with a rally in Penticton, B.C., where MP Richard Cannings is running for re-election.

The Greens’ Elizabeth May is spending her day in and around Vancouver, boosting local candidates with sign-waves and door-to-door canvasses, but she finishes with a big regional rally at Canada Place featuring environmentalist David Suzuki.