Federal leaders and candidates will fan out across the country this weekend in an intensive effort to win over voters in key battlegrounds ahead of Monday’s election.
Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau and Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer have remained neck-and-neck in the polls over the past six weeks, and both will be out on the hustings on Saturday and Sunday to use every ounce of battery life left to try to tip the balance.
Quebec, Ontario and British Columbia were home to the key races at the outset of the campaign and the trend continues in the final push. The regions have been the most-visited by the party leaders and are getting the most attention in the final hours.
Mr. Trudeau, who is seeking a second term in office after facing a 2019 plagued by the SNC-Lavalin affair and the blackface controversy, will spend Saturday touring in Ontario, beginning in Niagara.
The Liberals are expected to be in B.C. on Sunday for a get-out-the-vote push before returning to his Montreal riding of Papineau for election night.
At a Liberal rally in Vaughan, Ont., on Friday night, the crowd went quiet as Mr. Trudeau recalled advice from his father, former prime minister Pierre Trudeau. Friday would have been Trudeau Sr.’s 100th birthday.
“My father always used to tell me that when you’re paddling across a big lake and the clouds get darker and the wind comes up and the waves start to show white caps and break a little more, there really is only one thing to do: Sing louder and paddle harder,” he told 1,000 supporters who crowded into a convention centre.
“And that’s what we do as Liberals.”
Mr. Scheer, who has had to defend his résumé and status as a dual citizen as well as controversial candidates during the campaign, is scheduled to stop in the vote-rich Greater Toronto Area on Saturday before jetting across the country to B.C. He will be in Regina on Monday.
The remainder of the campaign will be a “street fight” riding by riding, said Nik Nanos, the chief data scientist for Nanos Research.
“It’s basically about getting out the vote right now, because in a race this tight, ground organization and voter motivation are going to be critical to the outcome of the election,” Mr. Nanos said in an interview.
“I think the reason why it is so important is because this particular campaign has been more about fear and anger than about inspiration.”
On Friday, Mr. Scheer attempted to intensify fear that the New Democrats and Liberals will team up after Monday’s vote, adding it would be the “worst possible outcome."
The Conservative Leader said the two parties working together in a minority government situation would increase the sales tax, which Mr. Trudeau immediately dismissed as being “entirely untrue.”
“It is unfortunate that the Conservatives keep having to make up attacks against us,” Mr. Trudeau said on Friday in Whitby, Ont.
The Toronto-area riding is currently held by Celina Caesar-Chavannes, an outspoken former member of the Liberal caucus who is not running again.
This year, Ms. Caesar-Chavannes said she was met with hostility and anger when she told Mr. Trudeau she was leaving politics. Mr. Trudeau later apologized and Ms. Caesar-Chavannes went on to quit the Liberal caucus in March to sit as an Independent.
Mr. Scheer, who campaigned in Fredericton on Friday, called for Mr. Trudeau to “have the guts” to say what taxes he would increase.
Mr. Scheer also paid a visit to the Quebec riding of Beauce on Friday, currently held by former Tory turned People’s Party of Canada Leader Maxime Bernier.
NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh, who has experienced a late bump in the polls, is to spend the remainder of the campaign in British Columbia, including on election night in his riding of Burnaby South.
Mr. Singh has opened the door to working with the Liberals after the election, and rejected the notion of partnering with the Tories.
For his part, the Conservative Leader has rejected questions about how he would handle a minority government of his own – which would likely be difficult, given that the Tories lack natural federal allies.
Mr. Singh rejected Mr. Scheer’s accusation on Friday that the NDP and the Liberals working together would result in a hike of the goods and services tax.
“Mr. Scheer is just making stuff up because he’s getting desperate,” Mr. Singh said in the B.C. riding of Courtenay-Alberni.
“We absolutely will not raise the GST, no, not whatsoever, because it’s not a progressive tax. What we are going to do is make sure that the richest pay their fair share. We made it very clear.”
Mr. Singh said Mr. Scheer is “trying to make up things to scare people because our message of hope is working.”
On CBC’s The Current on Friday morning, Conservative candidate Lisa Raitt suggested if the Conservatives form a minority government, her party could work with the NDP on a bill-by-bill basis.
The NDP Leader said he has made it clear that partnership won’t happen.
Meanwhile, Green Party Leader Elizabeth May is poised to end her campaign in British Columbia.
On Friday, she crossed paths with the NDP on Vancouver Island, and the overlaps will likely continue this weekend as the two parties duke it out on the West Coast.
The Greens went into the campaign hoping to sweep Vancouver Island and the party is still hoping to achieve a breakthrough.
Ms. May will be in the Vancouver and Burnaby areas on Saturday and Sunday morning before heading back to Vancouver Island Sunday afternoon.
The daily tracking survey from Nanos Research on Friday had the Conservatives and Liberals tied at 32 per cent, which falls within the margin of error.
The New Democrats were at 19 per cent, the Greens at 9 per cent, the Bloc Québécois at 6 per cent and the People’s Party at 2 per cent.
The poll was sponsored by The Globe and Mail and CTV, with a total of 1,200 Canadians surveyed until Oct. 17. It has a margin of error of 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 tgam.ca/election-polls.
With a report from Marieke Walsh