Canadians will go to the polls on May the twenty-second in an election which Prime Minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau has described as the most vital in his life.
Canadians will go to the polls on May the twenty-second in an election which Prime Minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau has described as the most vital in his life. National unity and the state of the country's economy are emerging as the two central issues, though polls indicate that voters are also concerned about rising prices and unemployment.
SYNOPSIS: Since the campaign began at the beginning of April, Prime Minister Trudeau has been projecting an image of the 'strong leader in control'. In Vancouver's Chinatown he told a group of unemployed to 'get to work' and he had described farmers as 'professional complainers'.
On a radio talk-back show, he said the separatists wanted to "have their cake and eat it too". He said this was an issue, and those who said it wasn't were "almost treasonable to Canada".
The opposition Progressive Conservative Party, leader Joe Clark, said Mr. Trudeau was attacking the people of Canada while the Conservatives were tackling the country's problems. He said the election was being fought on the government's record during the past eleven years, not on national unity. Clark said the Prime Minister had weakened Parliament, alienated the provinces...and set Canadian against Canadian. Political polls give Mr. Clark a strong chance of winning the elections, and he quickly picked up the Prime Minister's reference to 'treason'.
The second major opposition party is the New Democrat Party, led by Ed Broadbent. He has accused Mr. Trudeau of provoking tension by telling voters in quebec that they have to choose between being Quebeckers or Canadians.