Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer participates in a radio interview in Toronto, Ont. Thursday October 17, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld

Scheer, Trudeau, Singh haggle over potential minority government outcome

If you believe the polls, it appears the Liberals and Conservatives are neck-and-neck

With four days before Canadians go to the polls, the leaders of Canada’s three largest federal parties are arguing over how the country will be governed if there is no clear winner on election day.

Most polls continue to suggest the Liberals and Conservatives are deadlocked, raising talk about potential minority or coalition governments.

Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer has said if he wins the most seats in Monday’s election, that would give him a mandate to govern.

He repeated that view during a question-and-answer session with reporters in the Toronto suburb of Brampton on Thursday, dismissing reminders that as a former Speaker of the House of Commons, he has familiarity with the rules that govern Parliament and say otherwise.

“We are asking Canadians for a strong Conservative majority mandate,” Scheer said. “It is the case that the party that wins the most seats in modern Canadian history has been the party that forms the government.”

Paul Martin did step down as prime minister after the Conservatives won more seats in 2006, allowing Stephen Harper to form his first minority government.

But Canada’s parliamentary system allows for coalition governments, which means that Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau could continue on as prime minister if there is a minority government and he can secure support from enough other MPs to win key votes.

Scheer on Thursday reiterated his past warnings that a Liberal-NDP coalition would prove too expensive for Canadians.

READ MORE: Advanced polls saw 4.7 million Canadians cast ballots in 2019 federal election

Trudeau, meanwhile, repeatedly dismissed questions about a potential coalition or other arrangement in the House of Commons.

“We are focused on electing a strong Liberal government that is going to be able to continue the hard work of fighting against climate change and investing in families. The choice is very, very clear for Canadians,” he said during a campaign stop in Trois-Rivieres, Que.

“We are going to elect a government with Liberal MPs from right across the country. We will continue the hard work of investing in Canadians.”

“Coalition” is not a dirty word, NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh said during his own campaign event as he railed against Canada’s electoral system, which gives the candidate with the most votes in each riding the victory.

Singh also criticized Trudeau for breaking his 2015 campaign promise that that election would be the last under the first-past-the-post system.

He said the system means that fewer than half of voters can choose a certain party, “and they get all the power, and that’s wrong.” Singh said Canadians often feel their vote doesn’t matter, adding 60 per cent of Canadians “regularly” vote against the Conservatives.

“So it’s wrong for the Conservatives to think that with less than 40 per of the power — or vote — they deserve all the majority of power. That’s wrong,” Singh said in Welland, Ont.

Singh said he is committed to a “mixed-member proportional representation to make sure everyone’s vote counts.”

Trudeau is focusing on Quebec. After appearing in hotly contested Trois-Rivieres, the Liberal leader is making several stops in the province as he heads west, back to Montreal.

Scheer is headed to the Maritimes for a rally in Pictou County, N.S.

Green Leader Elizabeth May is on Vancouver Island, making numerous stops along the highway from Campbell River to Ladysmith, where the Greens see their best chances to add to their two seats.

ELECTION 2019: Climate strikes push environment to top of mind for federal leaders

ELECTION 2019: Have Justin Trudeau’s Liberals really cut middle-class taxes?

Mike Blanchfield, The Canadian Press

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Coastal GasLink breaks ground on meter station in Kitimat

Meter station marks final point on pipeline that stretches from Northeast B.C.

Kitimat Council increasing mayor, councillor compensation after survey says they are “much lower than the B.C. average”

The pay raise was initially scheduled for April, but was put on hold for COVID-19 priorities.

In Our Valley: Joanne Havery

Havery was the food services manager at the Hirsch Creek Golf & Winter Club for 16 years.

Brucejack mine fatality identified

Patrick Critch was from Newfoundland

DFO says 5 aggrieved B.C First Nations were consulted on fisheries plan

Nuu-chah-nulth First Nations calls response ‘a sham,’ adding DFO never incorporates their views

Canucks ride momentum into NHL playoff series against defending Stanley Cup champs

PREVIEW: Vancouver opens against St. Louis on Wednesday

Pitt Meadows woman gives birth on in-laws’ driveway

Frédérique Gagnon new son is appropriately named after Norse trickster god

Man, 54, charged in connection with fatal attack of Red Deer doctor

Doctor was killed in his walk-in clinic on Monday

UPDATE: Two dead after fishing boat sinks off southern Vancouver Island

Shawnigan Lake-registered Arctic Fox II went down off Cape Flattery, west of Victoria

Landlord takes front door, windows after single B.C. mom late with rent

Maple Ridge mom gets help from community generosity and government

VIDEO: B.C. community rallies to save snared eagle

Revelstoke climber scales tree to save the raptor

42 more people test positive for COVID-19 in B.C.

The province has recorded no new deaths in recent days

Most Read