Justin Trudeau and Andrew Scheer can agree on one thing: Andrew Scheer might very well win Monday’s election.
Of course, the two leaders differ on whether that’s a good outcome.
All week Mr. Trudeau has been making the conventional pitch to progressive voters: coalesce around the Liberal Party so it can win enough seats to form government, or you will split votes and a Conservative government will be elected. That can happen in Canada’s multiparty election, where a candidate can become MP with just 30 per cent of the vote in their riding. Mr. Trudeau said Canadians could “wake up” next Tuesday morning to Mr. Scheer as their new leader, which he framed as a bad thing.
(NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh said yesterday voters should not choose out of “fear,” and should vote for whomever they actually like.)
Mr. Scheer, of course, also says he thinks he can win – though he suggests it will be a “big” win that goes beyond relying just on vote splits.
In a radio interview this morning, Mr. Scheer said the party’s internal polling – which is private, and which has an unknown methodology – suggests the Conservatives are doing better than the transparent, publicly available polling that shows a virtual tie among voters.
“There’s still a chunk of the electorate that is still undecided, still making up their mind and we believe we have the edge on the types of issues that they’re looking at,” Mr. Scheer said. “When we ask undecided voters what’s top of mind, it’s affordability. It’s cost of living. And we are the only party that’s kind of laser-focused on making life more affordable.”
Nanos Research’s daily surveys show both the Liberals and Conservatives are stuck in the low-30s of popular support. According to a review by the Library of Parliament, no federal party has formed government in the past 50 years with popular support of less than 36 per cent.
The election is just four days away. Still time for some potential voters to change their minds.
This is the daily Politics Briefing newsletter, written by Chris Hannay. It is available exclusively to our digital subscribers. If you’re reading this on the web, subscribers can sign up for the Politics newsletter and more than 20 others on our newsletter signup page. Have any feedback? Let us know what you think.
DAILY TRACKING OF PUBLIC OPINION
- Conservatives: 33 per cent
- Liberals: 32 per cent
- NDP: 19 per cent
- Green: 9 per cent
- Bloc Québécois: 6 per cent
- People’s Party: 2 per cent
Analysis from Nik Nanos: “Only one point separates front runners on ballot support. Preferred PM tracking close between Trudeau and Scheer.”
The survey was conducted by Nanos Research and was sponsored by The Globe and Mail and CTV. 1,200 Canadians were surveyed between Oct. 13, 15 and 16, 2019. The margin of error is 2.8 percentage points, 19 times out of 20. Respondents were asked: “If a federal election were held today, could you please rank your top two current local voting preferences?” A report on the results, questions and methodology for this and all surveys can be found at https://tgam.ca/election-polls.
WE WANT TO HEAR FROM YOU
Are you voting for the first time on Monday? Been locked down since the beginning, or still undecided? Changed your vote for the first time in decades? Haven’t voted for a while, but this particular election prompted you to do so? We want to hear from you. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org to join the conversation — your response may be featured in an upcoming story. Include your name, age and city if you feel comfortable.
BETTER KNOW A LEADER
Elizabeth May has steered the Green Party through four federal elections and helped provincial Greens make breakthroughs across the country. This may be Ms. May’s final campaign as leader. “I don’t like politics, and I have always believed no one should stay in a position too long,” Ms. May told The Globe. So how did she get here and where will the party go now? Read Justine Hunter’s profile of Ms. May from Victoria.
We could be heading for a minority government next week. Here’s how they work.
The former chief executive officer of Defence Construction Canada is alleging in a lawsuit that the Liberals, when they were in government, did not resolve a conflict of interest at the Crown corporation. The Liberals had appointed as chair of the board a woman who headed a construction company that did work for the organization. A spokesperson for the cabinet minister responsible said they will defend themselves in court and denied any wrongdoing.
Across the pond, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson says he has struck a last-minute deal with the European Union on the terms of Brexit. Britain is set to leave the group of nations on Oct. 31. The deal will still need to be agreed to by the British Parliament – Mr. Johnson’s predecessor, Theresa May, also negotiated agreements that failed to win the support of her fellow MPs. There are no details yet about what Mr. Johnson’s new deal says about Northern Ireland, which has been the sticking point in past agreements. But based on what is known, the 10 Northern Ireland MPs from the Democratic Unionist Party, who have propped up the Conservative minority government, say they do not support it.
The big news of yesterday was that former U.S. president Barack Obama decided to weigh in on the Canadian election. He said Mr. Trudeau deserved to be re-elected. Mr. Trudeau said the two hadn’t talked since May, when Mr. Obama was in Ottawa to give a speech, and that he hadn’t asked for the endorsement. “Barack Obama makes up his own mind,” Mr. Trudeau told reporters this morning. So far Donald Trump has stayed out of it.
Jean-Pierre Kingsley, who led Elections Canada for 17 years, says whichever party forms government after the election should close a loophole that allows third parties to potentially hide donations by directing them through another organization. The loophole came to light because the Manning Centre has provided $300,000 to groups running anti-Liberal ads during the election. According to the rules, those groups – such as Canada Strong and Proud – have to disclose they got the money from the Manning Centre. But the Manning Centre does not need to disclose where it got the money from.
Climate change activist Greta Thunberg, of Sweden, is in Alberta this week to speak out on environmental issues with local groups. Alberta Premier Jason Kenney said she’s welcome to meet with him, but he is not about to order the closure of the province’s oil sands. “In the real world, we’re not going to shut down the modern industrial economy,” Mr. Kenney said.
And Cameron Ortis, a high-ranking security official at the RCMP who has been charged with alleged leaking secrets, has a bail hearing today. Mr. Ortis came to the force from academia but was nearly fast-tracked into being made a cop.
Campbell Clark (The Globe and Mail) on Trudeau and climate change: “The Liberals thought they had a Goldilocks policy – a middle ground. But when it came to a climate plan in a country with a major oil and gas sector, the centre did not hold. That has been a big part of Mr. Trudeau’s trouble in this election campaign.”
Eric Adams (The Globe and Mail) on what could happen if no party wins a majority on Monday: “When seat counts are very close, the ultimate outcome can be difficult to foresee on election night. An incumbent prime minister may try to meet the House to seek support, only to find it fail to materialize or crumble away, as the recent provincial elections in New Brunswick and British Columbia demonstrated. When confidence cannot be gained, the clear duty of the prime minister is to resign and advise the governor-general to call upon the party leader in the best position to govern with confidence.”
Lori Turnbull (The Globe and Mail) on the possibility of a coalition: “After all, there is no indication that a coalition government is any more palatable in Canada than it was before. Though such a government has always been a legitimate and constitutionally viable option, partisan adversarialism has undermined its political viability to the point that it is generally discarded out-of-hand as both highly unlikely and deeply undesirable here. There’s a reason a federal coalition has only really occurred once before, in 1917: Canadians have come to expect our parties to fight, not to get along.”
Michael Kempa (National Post) on strategic voting: “Encouraging citizens to hold their noses and unite behind him out of fear of a Conservative bogeyman is to revive a tactic from the darkest pages of past federal and provincial Liberal governments backed onto the ropes — in the past as now — largely through their own errors, conceits and scandals. It is the sign of a government turning away from the vision and principles that captured the support of voters to begin with, in the name of misdiagnosed expedience.”
Cindy Blackstock (Maclean’s) on Indigenous children in foster care: “Despite its record, Canada accepts little responsibility for its current conduct and wants to be left alone to determine what, if any, steps it will take to stop the discrimination and compensate the thousands of children it hurt. We must not let that happen.”
Lawrence Martin (The Globe and Mail) on the Obama endorsement: “That the former president would go to the extent he did reflects the new era of hardened partisanship and polarization we live in. It also is confirmation that the Liberals were in serious trouble in the campaign.”
Andrew Potter (Ottawa Citizen) on the election: “By almost any measure, this has been a rotten campaign.”
Editor’s note: An earlier version of this article wrongly said Theresa May is Boris Johnson's successor. She is Johnson's predecessor.