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

Box containing hundreds of family photos found in Courtenay returned to rightful owner

Local media sources collaborate to solve family photos mystery

Two Comox Valley groups share annual Project Watershed award

Keep It Living Award given to Morrison Creek Streamkeepers and Comox Valley Land Trust

ATV crash at bottom of Mount Washington sends two to hospital

Two people were hospitalized following an ATV (all terrain vehicle) accident shortly… Continue reading

Game on! Outdoor pickleball season starts up in the Comox Valley

Comox Valley Pickleball Association members Evie MacDonald and Donny Cruickshank (near court)… Continue reading

Island Health signs working agreement to turn former Comox hospital into a ‘dementia village’

Island Health has signed a project development agreement with Providence Living to… Continue reading

B.C. records no new COVID-19 deaths for the first time in weeks

Good news comes despite 11 new test-positive cases in B.C. in the past 24 hours

Comox Valley business map offers information on local eateries, grocery stores and more

Search and click for hours and services offered during the COVID-19 pandemic

Facing changes together: Your community, your journalists

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the world in ways that would have… Continue reading

RCMP told of alleged assault in Courtenay hours after the fact

Police only made aware of possible attack through social media posts

Tahsis opens its gates to visitors to save local economy

Seasonal local businesses that rely on tourism hope to survive despite drop in tourist numbers

BC Corrections to expand list of eligible offenders for early release during pandemic

Non-violent offenders are being considered for early release through risk assessment process

Comox Valley United appeals to district to support field house proposal

The Comox Valley United Soccer Club is looking for an approximate $150,000… Continue reading

Habitat for Humanity VIN wins national award for innovative approach to building

Courtenay and Campbell River builds represent 400 per cent growth in historical annual average

Most Read