The Conservative leader hoping to deny Justin Trudeau a third election victory seized on a surprise contraction in Canada’s economy as evidence of mismanagement under the governing Liberals. 

“Under Justin Trudeau, we are heading further down the road of recession, not the road to recovery,” Erin O’Toole told reporters Tuesday in Ottawa.

Statistics Canada released data a few hours earlier showing gross domestic product contracted 1.1 per cent annualized in the second quarter, missing expectations for a 2.5 per cent gain in a Bloomberg survey of economists.

O’Toole, whose Conservatives have closed the polling gap with the Liberals since Trudeau’s snap election call, also cited an Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development report showing Canada lagging the U.S. in its economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.

“These reports give us a sobering reminder of the fragility of our economy. It confirms what Canadians already knew: under Justin Trudeau, Canada’s economy is getting worse, not better,” O’Toole said.

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The Conservative leader is running a low-key campaign focused on the complete platform his party released a day after the election was called. O’Toole has repeatedly criticized Trudeau over the rising cost of living and record government expenditures.

“What’s prudent in an emergency is reckless out of one,” O’Toole said, declining to answer a question about what the Conservatives would cut to rein in spending.

The Tories have the support of nearly 34 per cent of voters compared to 31 per cent for the Liberals and 21 per cent for the left-leaning New Democratic Party, according to national polling averages compiled by the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. However the latest daily tracking numbers from Nanos Research Group suggest Trudeau’s team may be halting its slide.