With Canada’s election in high heat two days before the September 20 vote, Liberal leader Justin Trudeau and his Conservative rival asked supporters to stay on course and avoid a vote-sharing that could give their opponent victory.
Both men campaigned in the same seat-rich Toronto area on Saturday as they tried to prevent voter defections for the left-wing New Democratic Party (NDP) and the populist People’s Party of Canada (PPC), both of which are heading into the polls. Huh. .
The latest Sondez Lager polls conducted for the Journal de Montréal and National Post newspapers put the Conservatives one percentage point ahead of Trudeau’s Liberals, with 33 percent up more than 32 percent. The NDP stood at 19 per cent while the PPC was at 6 per cent.
Trudeau, 49, called an early election, seeking to convert his government’s handling of the pandemic to approval in a parliamentary majority. But he is now scrambling to save his job, with Canadians questioning the need for early elections amid a fourth pandemic wave.
“Despite what the NDP likes to say, the choice is between a Conservative or Liberal government,” Trudeau said in Aurora, Ontario. “And it makes a difference to Canadians whether or not we have a progressive government.”
Trudeau spent two of the final three days of his campaign in Ontario, where polls show the NDP can gain seats, or split the progressive vote.
A tight race could result in the formation of another minority government, with the NDP, led by Jagmeet Singh, playing the role of kingmaker. It has also focused on voting, with low turnout historically favoring the Conservatives.
In what could be the most likely outcome of the Liberal minority on Monday, Trudeau was under pressure to see if this could be his last election. He replied: “There’s still a lot of work to do, and I’m nowhere near accomplished yet.”
If voters give Trudeau a third term, everything they dislike about him will “only get worse,” Conservative leader Erin O’Toole told supporters on Saturday, calling for anyone dissatisfied with her party liberals. Also the only option was PPC in a dig.
The PPC, which has turned anger against mandatory vaccines into surprising support, could draw votes from the Conservatives in close district races, helping the Liberals win.
On Saturday, the Liberals announced they would drop a candidate on a 2019 sexual assault charge, which the party said was not disclosed to them. Kevin Wong, a naval reservist running an open Liberal seat in downtown Toronto, denied the allegations on Friday, noting that the charge was withdrawn.
“Mr. Wuong will no longer be a Liberal candidate, and if elected, he will no longer be a member of the Liberal Caucus,” the party said in a statement on Saturday.
Earlier this month, Liberal MP Raj Saini ended his re-election campaign amid allegations of unfair treatment towards women employees.
O’Toole, 48, campaigned Saturday in the district of Saini, one of three Liberal ridings he’s hoping to swing his way. Before that, he appeared in a Conservative-held ride west of Toronto, which was closely contested during the 2019 election.
Members of parliament from the region, who is not running again, came under fire last spring for saying the COVID-19 lockdown is “the biggest violation of our civil liberties since the detention camps during WW2.”
O’Toole, who said he wants 90 percent of Canadians to be vaccinated, declined to say which of the Conservative Party candidates were.