A Liberal-NDP coalition? Trudeau dodges the question as polls suggest minority government
TORONTO -- With a week to go before election day, polls are pointing to a minority government for either the Liberals or the Conservatives – an outcome Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau doesn’t seem keen to discuss.
Trudeau repeatedly refused to say Monday morning whether he’d be open to form a coalition government with the NDP. Instead, he took shots at the NDP, suggesting that they would rip up the new NAFTA deal and start from scratch.
“My focus is on electing a progressive government and stopping Conservative cuts,” Trudeau said during a campaign stop in Windsor, Ont., a region currently held by the NDP.
The Liberals and Conservatives remain deadlocked with 32 per cent support each, followed by 19 per cent for the NDP and 9 per cent for the Greens, according to numbers released Monday by Nanos Research.
At this point in the race, a majority government isn’t in the forecast and neither the Conservatives nor the Liberals have the upper hand, according to pollster Nik Nanos.
“Unless something ground-shattering happens, we’re looking at some sort of minority government, either Liberal or Conservative,” Nanos told CTV News Channel.
“And they’ll have to work with the Bloc Quebecois and the New Democrats … or one of those two parties, in order to form some type of working arrangement in the next House of Commons.”
Polls have shown rising support for the NDP following the debates, and NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh said over the weekend that he’d be open to working with the Liberals to stop the Conservatives from taking power.
But Singh did not repeat those comments Monday.
“It’s not a question of coalition, it’s a question of our priorities,” he said in Vancouver.
Meanwhile, Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer flatly rejected the notion of forming a coalition government under any circumstance.
“I believe Canadians now have a crystal-clear choice between a Trudeau-NDP coalition that will raise taxes, run endless deficits and make life more expensive, and a Conservative government – majority government – that will live within its means, lower taxes, put more money back in your pockets,” Scheer said at a press conference in Winnipeg.
Regionally, the NDP has gained ground in Atlantic Canada and Quebec, but their most important surge is in British Columbia, Nanos said.
“B.C. right now is almost like a four-way tie or three-and-a-half-way tie,” Nanos said on CTV’s Trend Line podcast.
In Quebec, the NDP boost is significant but still not enough to outpace the Liberals and Bloc Quebecois, who continue to lead.
“I’m not sure if it’s any kind of orange surge in the province of Quebec, but the NDP are more competitive than they were earlier in the campaign,” Nanos said.
The battle between the NDP and Liberals is good news for the Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer, Nanos said, because it could lead to a situation where left-leaning voters are split.
“Scheer is not going to attack Jagmeet Singh because if there is a Thanksgiving gift, it was the orange pickup,” he said.
Early polling suggests big voter turnout. Approximately two million people voted in the first two days of advanced voting, Elections Canada said Monday. That’s a 25 per cent jump from the last election.
The boost in turnout does not include the surge in on-campus voters, who also surpassed 2015 numbers.
Nanos said the results next week will hinge on three factors: Quebec, the 905 region in Toronto, and young voters.
“Are young people going to turn out the same way they did in 2015? That could be a significant impact on the outcome because we know that both the New Democrats and the Liberals do quite well among millennials. If they show up, it’ll probably be good news for one of those two parties,” Nanos said.