OTTAWA – With just days to go before the federal election, party leaders are hitting the campaign trail hard as talk grows of a possible minority government.
Poll after poll shows a deadlock between the Liberals and Conservatives, and leaders are giving their thoughts on a potential minority situation.
Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer, a former Speaker of the House of Commons, said on Thursday, if he wins the most seats, that would give him a mandate to govern.
“It is clear that in modern Canadian history, the party with the most seats forms the government, and that a prime minister who comes out of an election with fewer seats than another party, resigns,” he said. “That is the convention.”
NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh rejected Scheer’s claims.
“[Scheer] thinks that if he gets a certain number of seats that we’re going to give up fighting against Conservatives. No, we’re going to always fight Conservatives because we don’t believe in their cuts to services, we don’t believe in how they can harm people. We’re going to fight that,” Singh said.
Canada’s parliamentary system allows for coalition governments.
Scheer has repeatedly said a Conservative government would kill the Trudeau Liberals’ carbon tax. Today, in Toronto, he affirmed that repealing the tax will be job number one under the Tories.
“I’ve been consistent since I became the leader of the Conservative Party of Canada. My first piece of legislation as prime minister will be to repeal Trudeau’s carbon tax,” he said. “Today, I’m pleased to announce that as part of my 100 day action plan, I will introduce and pass the Carbon Tax Repeal Act.”
Scheer also suggested that under a Conservative government, he wouldn’t necessarily follow in Trudeau’s footsteps and put together a gender-balanced cabinet. He said depending on who gets elected on Monday, more than half of a Conservative cabinet could be women.
Meantime, the leader of the New Democrats was in Welland, Ont. today, near Niagara Falls, where former MP Malcolm Allen is trying to take back his old seat.
Singh’s New Democrats will have help from Ontario NDP Leader Andrea Horwath, who’ll campaign with Singh, her own party’s former deputy leader.
He then moves on to appearances in Toronto and Brampton, including a rally billed as an Upri-Singh.
Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau side-stepped questions about Scheer’s comments on Thursday, and instead stuck to his usual talking points, telling voters he would fight to win government on Monday.
“I am focused on forming a government of progressive Canadians, including a strong number of Quebecers who will fight for the investments that Canadians need, who will fight against climate change, who will stand against Conservative cuts and Conservative provincial premiers who don’t want to do anything on climate change,” Trudeau said.
Trudeau is staying in Quebec where began his day in the hotly contested Trois-Rivieres, before making several stops as he heads back west to Montreal again.
He did not saying whether his team asked former U.S. president Barack Obama to endorse his campaign. On Wednesday, Obama took to Twitter to voice his support for Trudeau.
The Liberals are hoping Obama’s endorsement will convince some progressive voters to cast their ballots for their cause as polls suggest many are leaning toward the NDP and Greens.
Yet the former president’s words have also caused controversy at a time when concerns about foreign interference in democratic elections is top of mind for many governments and voters.
— Cormac Mac Sweeney (@cmaconthehill) October 16, 2019
On the other side of the country, Green Party leader Elizabeth May will continue campaigning in her home province of B.C. today, in four communities on Vancouver Island.