OTTAWA — Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer said he will not walk in gay pride parades and deemed his environmental plan the “most comprehensive in the history of Canada” to come from an opposition party during an interview on a popular Radio-Canada talk show Sunday.
Scheer’s interview on “Tout le monde en parle,” a program that reaches approximately one million Quebecers weekly, was recorded on Thursday, the day before the national climate marches that saw 500,000 people hit the streets in Montreal.
The Tory leader said he was confident that his plan would be more effective than Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau’s, and noted how a refinery in Saskatchewan had found a way to recycle the heat from its plant to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions.
“We are confident that our plan will work, because we know that Justin Trudeau’s plan does not work.”
Watch: Scheer says abortion laws aren’t an issue for Conservatives
Scheer’s plan, which has no firm targets, relies heavily on new technology and suggests that Canada should be less preoccupied with lowering its own emissions and should focus instead on creating technology it can export to help lower global emissions.
NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh’s office joked that Scheer must have meant his plan is the most comprehensive for the oil industry. In that case, “yes, he is right. It’s the best for big oil. Not people. The oil industry helped write it after all,” the office told HuffPost.
The NDP’s climate plan, among other things, calls for the end of fossil fuel subsidies, a target to power Canada with net carbon-free electricity by 2030 and for all new car sales by 2040 to be zero-emission vehicles. The Greens’ “mission possible” climate plan says it would double the current Liberal targets (first adopted by Stephen Harper’s Conservative government) to a 60 per cent cut in climate-changing emissions below 2005 levels by 2030, to reach net zero by 2050.
In response to the Trudeau blackface controversy, Scheer told the audience that he thinks the Liberal leader is not a racist but that he is a liar and a hypocrite, something that received much laughter from the audience.
Scheer took the opportunity to tell Quebecers he will not reopen the abortion debate.
If a Tory backbench MP introduces an anti-abortion bill, Scheer said: “I will vote against, and I would expect my colleagues to do the same.” The Tories will focus on reducing income taxes, on balancing the budget — something Scheer has said will take five years — and on making life more affordable for Canadians, he said.
On same sex marriage, host Guy A. Lepage played an old House of Commons debate clip of Scheer and asked him if he still felt that same-sex couples should not be married because they could not make children.
Scheer did not answer the question directly. He said society has changed since then and noted that several Liberals also opposed gay marriage back in the early 2000s. “Society has moved on to other things, I too have moved on to other things.”
Scheer said he would love and support any of his children if they came out to him and that he “supports the law now.
“I will always support the rights of all Canadians, including the rights of LGBTQ Canadians,” he said.
WATCH: Scheer skips another Pride Parade. Story continues below.
‘I will not walk’
But he said he has no plans to participate in any pride parades — something for which he has drawn criticism from the Liberal party.
“I will not walk,” he told “Tout le monde en parle,” but he again stressed he will stand up for those who are persecuted for their sexual orientation.
The Tory leader said he was offering the audience a little “scoop,” and suggested he will impose taxes on multinational web companies, such as Facebook and Google. Scheer offered few details. The Liberals announced Sunday they plan to tax web giants with more than $1 billion in international revenues and $40 million in Canada, and plan to impose sales taxes on products Canadians use, such as Netflix or Amazon.
Scheer wasn’t the only federal leader to share the spotlight on the show Sunday. Green Party Leader Elizabeth May made her debut.
She was beaming as she told the host that appearing on the program had been on her “bucket list.” Next up, she said, is to be prime minister.
May called this Oct. 21 election the most important election ever, because of the climate crisis. “We have the chance to make a change in our green economy,” she told the audience.
Describing her background fighting pesticide spraying and acid rain, she said that, as an activist, she decided to jump into politics although “I hate politics.”
She said it’s like a sport, pitting one team against the other, but that people need to work together.
She also expressed dismay that people seem to think it’s good for her party for the planet to be heading towards a “planetary disaster.”
“There are a lot of electors who are disappointed with their last choice,” she said of the 2015 election. There are a lot of people disappointed Trudeau broke his pledge to reform the electoral system, she said. “Or, there are people who voted Conservative — why I don’t know,” she said, to laughter. But now, she added, people can vote Green. “And it is the last election, where we have the choice and the opportunity to avoid the worst … on climate change,” she said.