TORONTO — Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole spent his 16th day on the election campaign talking about his plan to ban puppy mills and to crack down on unethical breeders , and defended the fact his party’s platform mentions neither racism nor systemic racism.
The Conservative Party of Canada’s election platform, entitled “Canada’s Recovery Plan,” stretches 160 pages and comprises some 49,000 words, some of which are more used much more frequently than others.
For instance, the phrase “a detailed plan” is used 22 times in the table of contents alone, while the word “secure” is used in five sub-headers highlighting the party’s plan to “secure” the economy, jobs, and other key election issues. The word “puppy” as it relates to today’s announcement appears twice.
But, as CTV News’ Omar Sachedina noted, there are some words that are missing from the document entirely, including “racism” and “Islamophobia.”
Asked by CTV News during a media availability on Monday about the discrepancy, O’Toole didn’t address the absence of the words directly, but said he has spoken out against racism and pointed to diversity among the Conservative slate of candidates.
“I’ve spoken out on the horrific rise of anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, racism against people of colour, indigenous Canadians,” he said during a campaign stop at a dog rescue and sanctuary in King City, Ont.
“I will fight for Canadians who have not had fair treatment, who face inequalities in their daily life. We need to make sure that they have an economic recovery as well, and so you’ll see in our plan we want to see solidarity in communities,” he added.
- Election Dispatch: Sign up for a daily update on the campaign
- 2021 platform guide: Where do the parties stand?
O’Toole made headlines during a Conservative leadership debate in June 2020 when he wouldn’t say whether he thought systemic racism exists, although he said at the time he had zero-tolerance for racism.
The Liberals have yet to release their full platform, while the online NDP platform includes the word “racism” more than a dozen times, and mentions “Islamophobia” at least twice.