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

A cup of tea can be a great hand-warmer on a cold day. (submitted)
Tea: it picks you up, it does not let you down

A good cup of tea never fails to brighten up the day

A map created by Clear Seas Centre for Responsible Marine Shipping, which assesses the sensitivity of Canada’s Pacific Coast to oil spills. This map highlights the Douglas Channel and other inlets and waterways around Kitimat and out to the coast. (Clear Seas map)
Douglas Channel scores ‘medium’ to high’ on oil spill sensitivity study

The study was done by a not-for-profit group specializing in sustainable marine shipping

Jody Craven of Kitimat has been announced as the BC Libertarian Party’s candidate for North Coast riding MLA on Oct. 5. (Jody Craven photo)
Jody Craven of Kitimat in the running for North Coast MLA

BC Libertarian Party has announced Craven as North Coast candidate for riding

Martin Holzbauer, independent, Nicole Halbauer, BC NDP, and Ellis Ross, BC Liberal Party, are the candidates for the Skeena riding in the upcoming provincial election. (Terrace Standard/BC NDP)
Skeena candidates talk northwest education

Online learning access and early childhood education were common themes

Stikine provincial election candidates (clockwise from top left): Nathan Cullen, NDP; Darcy Repen, Rural BC Party; Rod Taylor, Christian Heritage; and Gordon Sebastian, BC Liberals.
‘Where is Annita McPhee?’: Cullen under fire from opening salvo of all-candidates forum

Four Stikine candidates spar during online debate from Prestige Hudson Bay Lodge in Smithers

With local MLA Adam Olsen looking on, BC Greens leader Sonia Furstenau said a Green government would convert BC Ferries into a Crown corporation Wolf Depner/News Staff)
Green leader Sonia Furstenau promises to convert BC Ferries back into Crown corporation

Promise comes Monday afternoon with five days left in campaign

A passer-by walks past a COVID-19 testing clinic in Montreal, Friday, Oct. 16, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Canada ‘yet to see’ deaths due to recent COVID surge as cases hit 200,000

Much of the increase in case numbers can be attributed to Ontario and Quebec

Police confirm human remains were found in a recycling bin in Vancouver on Oct. 18, 2020. (Black Press Media file photo)
Human remains found in recycling bin floating near Vancouver beach

Police asking nearby residents to see if their recycling bin has gone missing

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

B.C. Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson visits a North Vancouver daycare to announce his party’s election promises for child care, Oct. 9, 2020. (B.C. Liberal Party video)
B.C. parties pitch costly child care programs in pandemic

B.C. Liberals say they’ll deliver on NDP’s $10-a-day promise for lower-income families

A B.C. man decided to create a website to help people find family doctors accepting patients. Because Victoria is considered high-demand, clinic openings can’t be posted publicly. (Unsplash)
Vancouver Island man starts website that connects B.C. residents with doctors

Nanaimo man started project to help people find family physicians accepting patients

Voting station at Tzeachten Hall in the riding of Chilliwack-Kent on the first day of advance voting in the provincial election on Oct. 15, 2020. (Paul Henderson/ Chilliwack Progress)
B.C. VOTES 2020: 380,000 British Columbians head to polls in first 4 days of advance voting

Some of highest voter turnout so far has been seen on Vancouver Island and in Shuswap

Grant and Barbara Howse, in quarantine in Invermere. Mike Turner photo
Denied entry into U.S., Kootenay couple still forced to quarantine for 2 weeks

The rules around crossing the U.S. border led to a bizarre situation for an Invermere couple

Most Read