Battleground Quebec: Liberals, Tories, and NDP prioritize province in final days of campaign
OTTAWA – The three main party leaders are spending some of their final, pivotal days of the election campaign in Quebec, a battleground province with 78 seats up for grabs.
New polling results out of Nanos Research focusing on Quebec shows the Liberals have the greatest support in the province, followed by the Bloc Quebecois.
When asked, "if a federal election were held today, could you please rank your top two current local voting preferences?" -- 34.7 per cent put their support behind the Liberals.
The poll was conducted in three 10-day waves, starting on the first day of the election campaign and running until Oct. 13. Over 700 respondents in Quebec were surveyed during each phase.
While the party’s support is down nearly two percentage points from the first wave of results, they still hold a substantial lead over the other parties.
Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau was first up to the podium Wednesday morning, emphasizing his party’s proposed climate plan – something his team evidently sees as the defining ballot box issue in the province.
"There is little time left to act against climate change and we can’t lose another four years under the Conservatives," said Trudeau in Montreal. "In this election, the Liberals are the only ones with a plan to match ambition with action."
He pitted himself yet again against his former Conservative rival, former prime minister Stephen Harper and conservative premiers Jason Kenney and Doug Ford.
"Where Quebecers needs to stand up and fight is against those like Jason Kenney and Doug Ford and other Conservative politicians who don’t want to do anything on fighting poverty, on fighting climate change, on tightening gun control."
This was in response to questions from reporters about how Trudeau expects to compete with the Bloc Quebecois, a party which focuses solely on the rights of Quebecers.
"We’ve demonstrated that we, as a team of Quebecers, are always there to stand up for Quebec values and indeed Canadian values."
Trudeau said his party was also the most likely progressive opponent to form government on Oct. 21, establishing some distance between the Liberal and NDP base.
In an emailed response to CTVNews.ca, a Liberal spokesperson said the campaign team has made 22 stops in the province, second only to Ontario.
Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer — whose party is now in a statistical tie with the NDP in third place, according to the Nanos survey — spent the last several days in the province where he campaigned in Trois-Rivieres and the Montreal suburb of La Prairie, two ridings held by the Liberals and the NDP.
Before jetting off to southern Ontario this morning, he stopped by a Tim Horton’s restaurant in Riviere-du-Nord with his wife Jill and the party’s star candidate for the region, former Olympic swimmer Sylvie Frechette.
This final visit marks the Conservative campaign’s 10th stop in the Quebec.
Later in the day, at a hockey rink in Windsor, he strategically promoted his party’s proposal to implement financial penalties of up to $20,000 against politicians who violate Canada’s ethics laws.
"Canadians expect accountability from their leaders, and that’s what I’ll deliver," said Scheer. "We’ll increase the oversight powers of lobbying and ethics commissioners to hold politicians to account."
Trudeau was found to have violated the Conflict of Interest Act twice over the last four years, the first for accepting a free family vacation at the private Bahamian Island of the Aga Khan, and the second for trying to influence his former attorney general, Jody Wilson-Raybould, to overrule a decision by the public prosecutor not to offer a deal to SNC-Lavalin.
Standing before a more rowdy group of supporters in Windsor, Scheer shared his vision for a more "affordable" Canada, promising to lower taxes and scrap the carbon tax to help people "get ahead."
Meanwhile, Jagmeet Singh made a stop Wednesday in the Hudson suburb of Montreal, at the Jack Layton Park, where he was flanked by Olivia Chow, Layton’s widow.
Singh, attempting to evoke the former NDP leader, said the party is in large part what it is today thanks to Layton’s legacy.
"Jack was someone that was able to win over the hearts of Canada, Canadians, and the hearts of Quebecers," he said. "We want to build on the dream that Jack had to connect the progressives of Quebec with those across Canada."
He repeated his party’s election promises to prioritize pharmacare, dental care, and climate change and said he would uphold rights of LGBTQ Canadians – throwing in another progressive pitch.
Singh recently stated he’d be in favour of joining forces with the Liberals in establishing a coalition government, but on Thursday was quick to differentiate his party from his counterpart on the left.
"We are actually progressive," Singh said, prompting laughter from supporters. "What Mr. Trudeau has done, and I mean this so, so firmly, he’s said a lot of nice things, he said a lot of nice things in 2015, but there’s a really clear pattern of behavior where he promises something that will help people out and does the opposite."
Today’s visit marks Singh’s last stop in the province before Election Day. The party sits at third place in the new Nanos Research poll, jumping from 13.3 per cent support in late September to 15.5 per cent support in early October.
This report is comprised of a comparison of days 1-10 and 11-20 of the campaign and the 10 days ending October 13th of the campaign for voters in the province of Quebec. The margin of error for a survey of 782/828/855 respondents is ±3.5/±3.4 /±3.4 percentage points, 19 times out of 20. The margin of error for smaller samples will be wider. The geographic sub samples within Quebec were geographically weighted to their true population proportion.
With files from The Canadian Press