OTTAWA - Party leaders entered the home stretch of the federal election campaign Friday, picking up the pace of cross-country travel and cramming more events into their days.
Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer jetted off on a red-eye flight to British Columbia late Thursday night, a couple of hours after the last televised leaders' debate wrapped up in Gatineau, Que. He's to unveil his party's platform Friday afternoon in Tsawwassen, just south of Vancouver, before attending a rally in Langley.
Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau also headed for B.C. on Friday, but only after an exceptionally early morning rally at a downtown Ottawa food court, where he took a pot shot at Scheer for waiting until after the debates to finally release his platform, including how he intends to pay for his promises.
"The reality is, I think we all know it, you don't release your best work at 6 o'clock on the Friday of a long weekend," Trudeau said.
Once in B.C., Trudeau is scheduled to attend three events, including an evening rally in NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh's Burnaby South riding.
Singh began the day early in Ottawa as well, with the release of his party's platform.
He was scheduled to do some mainstreeting in Montreal before flying off for an evening event in Brampton, Ont., his old stomping grounds as a provincial politician before he jumped to the federal arena two years ago.
Green Leader Elizabeth May talked about foreign policy at the campaign office of her party's candidate in Ottawa Centre first thing, and is set to flit to four events in three different locations in New Brunswick.
Even Maxime Bernier, who has spent most of the campaign in his own Quebec riding, is on the move. The leader of the fledgling People's Party of Canada is scheduled to attend a rally in Halifax.
The early starts and packed schedules signal a new pace in the campaign as it heads down to the wire on Oct. 21.
With advance polls open Friday through Monday, and families expected to discuss politics as they sit down to turkey dinners, both Trudeau and Singh are to campaign non-stop over the Thanksgiving weekend.
Indeed, Liberal strategists say Trudeau will have no time off and will keep up a gruelling pace right up to voting day. The Liberal party is also planning to start a barrage of new ads, having saved much of its advertising budget for the final 10 days of the campaign.