RICHMOND HILL, Ont. — Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau says his party was on the way down well before its devastating losses in the 2011 election, but he maintains his plan will pull the Grits out of the political penalty box.
"I think the trend lines for the Liberal party go back further than 2011," Trudeau said while speaking to reporters on Friday.
"In 2000, we had a majority government with about 170-plus seats. The very next election we were down to 135. The election after that we were down to 100. The election after that we were down to mid-70s. The election after that we were down to 35."
The Liberals had the worst showing of their history under the leadership of Michael Ignatieff in 2011, when they were reduced to third-party status.
Bob Rae succeeded as interim leader before Trudeau took the leadership in 2013.
"What we understood from that trend line is the Liberal party had lost its way," Trudeau said.
"We had become more focused on our internal fights against each other than we did on fighting for Canadians, on serving Canadians, on building a better future for everyone."
He said the party has been working behind-the-scenes to attract strong candidates and build party membership.
"The other thing we've done over the past two years is actually gotten out and listened to Canadians and drawn on experts and drawn on community leaders and talked with provincial and municipal leaders about the plan that Canada needs to get our economy back on track," he said.
Trudeau has been on a sales tour this week, highlighting how his party believes infrastructure spending will give a needed jolt to municipalities.
Trudeau took that pitch back to the Greater Toronto Area on Friday morning, where he touted the public transit portion of his infrastructure plan in the riding of Richmond Hill.
Businessman Majid Jowhari is running for the Liberals in the riding that went Conservative in the 2011 election.
Richmond Hill is considered one of the key battlegrounds in this election.
The Liberals made a big move last week when they announced a plan to run deficits of up to $10 billion a year for three years to funnel money into infrastructure projects.
The Grits intend to spend $125 billion on infrastructure over the next decade and nearly $20 billion of that has been allotted to public transit.
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