Interim Conservative Leader Rona Ambrose kicked off a cross-Canada tour Monday by taking aim at the Liberal government’s grasp on the economy, and mocking the American media’s keen interest in the prime minister.
Addressing a luncheon crowd in Toronto, Ambrose referenced a recent New York Times article titled, “With the Rise of Justin Trudeau, Canada Is Suddenly … Hip?” — using the feature to make a point that having a cool prime minister doesn’t keep debt at bay.
“And not just that we’re hip,” she said, alluding to the Times piece. “We want to hip, but we don’t want to be broke.”
Interim Conservative Leader Rona Ambrose answers questions at the Canadian Club in Toronto on Jan. 18, 2015. (Photo: @RonaAmbrose/Twitter)
Ambrose added that she has reached out to Trudeau to meet and discuss the “rapidly deteriorating economic situation,” saying the Liberal cabinet ministers are a “very new and untested group” of people at the helm.
“We need a plan. We really need a plan on the economy,” Ambrose said.
She also took a swipe at the prime minister for the tabloid coverage surrounding his family trip to a small Caribbean island over the Christmas holidays.
“I mentioned at the beginning it’s exciting times in politics, but that’s not just because Justin Trudeau’s on TMZ.”
The speech comes amid a tanking Canadian dollar and sliding oil prices — trends Ambrose used to blast the Liberals’ campaign promise to limit deficits to a “modest” $10 billion annually.
“We have to worry about the amount of debt we leave to the next generation.”
In November, the Liberals were scrutinized by opposing parties and accused of breaking an election promise after Finance Minister Bill Morneau forecasted a $3-billion deficit by the end of 2015 — after the previous Conservative government predicted a $2.3-billion surplus.
“We have to worry about the amount of debt we leave to the next generation,” Ambrose told the Toronto crowd.
The interim leader is scheduled to speak in Winnipeg, Vancouver, and Calgary later this week.
Trudeau confident about Liberal budget
Speaking in New Brunswick Monday, Trudeau ducked questions about the possibility of the country’s deficit exceeding the aforementioned $10 billion during his first year in office.
“I have instructed Bill (Morneau) to put forward a strong budget that reflects the needs of Canadians and the needs of the Canadian economy, focused on growth while remaining fiscally responsible,” the prime minister said, adding he has “every confidence in the world that’s exactly what [the government is] going to deliver.”
Trudeau made the comments at a seaside resort where he’s meeting his cabinet for a three-day retreat to discuss Canada’s current economy, as well as its short and long-term trajectory.
Earlier in the day, Ambrose released an open letter to Trudeau, citing “great concern” over the country's economy.
“... There is no clarity on the limit of spending being considered by your government as it prepares to bring in a budget,” she wrote.
Ambrose extended an offer to the prime minister to work with his government, ending the letter with the hope Trudeau will “consider this request in the spirit in which it is made."
With files from The Canadian Press
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