Canada opposition Liberals seek to halt pre-election slide

Tue Jun 16, 2015 4:15pm EDT
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By David Ljunggren

OTTAWA (Reuters) - Canada's opposition Liberals, who have slipped from first to third place ahead of an October election amid questions over their tactics, on Tuesday unveiled a raft of new policies designed to boost their chances.

The Liberals held a healthy lead for more than 18 months after Justin Trudeau took over the party in 2013 and were favorites to end almost 10 years of Conservative rule.

But Trudeau has taken a lower profile in recent weeks amid attacks from the Conservatives and the resurgent opposition New Democrats, who compete with the Liberals for the same center-left segment of the electorate.

The New Democrats (NDP) leaped into the lead after unexpectedly winning a May election in the province of Alberta, a Conservative heartland.

Trudeau's announcement on Tuesday was his first high-profile policy announcement in weeks. His 32-point plan promises to give more independence to legislators, study voting reforms to boost turnout and reverse a move to end home mail delivery.

The Conservatives are already in full campaign mode and some Liberals have complained privately that Trudeau - the telegenic 43-year-old son of former Liberal prime minister Pierre Trudeau - is not selling his message actively enough.

Trudeau said Prime Minister Stephen Harper, seeking a rare fourth consecutive election win in October, had "turned Ottawa into a partisan swamp".

An Angus Reid survey released on Tuesday put the New Democrats with 36 percent support, the Conservatives at 33 percent and the Liberals trailing at 23 percent.   Continued...

Liberal leader Justin Trudeau shakes hands with Liberal candidates after making a policy announcement during an event in Ottawa, Canada, June 16, 2015. REUTERS/Chris Wattie