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Canada's Trudeau hammers main election rival

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau came out swinging on Thursday, arguing his main rival in a tense election has been a weak leader during the pandemic.

Trudeau is trying to pull in the lead with just days to go before the vote, opinion polls show his center-left Liberals will likely fail to win a majority in parliament.

His central pitch: Canada needs someone clear on the need for vaccinations.

"The choices that leaders make in a crisis matter. Half measures won't do to fight this pandemic."

Trudeau rival - right-of-center Conservative leader Erin O'Toole supports inoculations, but says he prefers rapid testing to detect the virus rather than vaccination mandates.

He's criticized Trudeau for calling an election during Canada's fourth COVID wave.

"Mr. Trudeau called an election that's costing us $600 million rather than keeping the Delta variant from spreading, rather than actually working together."

On Thursday Trudeau also called out O'Toole for praise earlier this year when Alberta quickly lifted its COVID-19 restrictions.

After cases there surged and threatened to overwhelm the system, Alberta's leader Jason Kenney backtracked this week, apologizing and saying he would introduce vaccine passports.

Since then O'Toole has repeatedly sidestepped any question on his earlier support.

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