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

LAKE FLASHBACK: Police, fire, layoffs, and Citizen of the Year

Welcome to Lake Flashback. Reporter Sarah Simpson has been combing through old… Continue reading

Cowichan Valley invited to bid to host another BC Games

BC Games Society invites North Cowichan to apply

Finishing touches being applied to new downtown Chemainus Market

Official grand opening will be on March 28 as excitement builds

Early exit for LMG

For the first time since 2013, Cowichan LMG has taken an early… Continue reading

Clothing, jewelry, purses: RCMP ask court about disposal of evidence in Robert Pickton case

Pickton was sentenced to life with no chance of parole for 25 years for the murders of six women

Ryan nets hat trick in return as Senators beat Canucks 5-2

Ottawa winger received assistance for admitted alcohol problem

Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs meet with provincial, federal ministers

Neither party speaking on the groundwork laid for tomorrow’s talks

Speaker ‘will not tolerate illegal activity’ on B.C. legislature grounds, says chief of staff

Chief of staff to the B.C. speaker Alan Mullen says situation with demonstrators appears ‘fluid’

MPs to examine privacy implications of facial-recognition technology used by RCMP

The MPs will look at how the technology affects the privacy, security and safety of children

Dates back to 2009: Calgary police lay charges in fraud involving semi-trucks

Three people from Calgary are facing charges that include fraud over $5,000

Comox 442 Squadron carries out two sea rescue missions north of Vancouver Island

Submitted by Lt. Alexandra Hejduk Special to Black Press 442 Transport and… Continue reading

Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs optimistic ahead of talks with feds, province

Discussions with provincial and federal governments expected to start later today

Most Read