Canada Prime Minister Justin Trudeau may hold on to power in Monday’s election, but he appears to be on the verge of losing his bid for a parliamentary majority following a bruising campaign that crushed his dreams for a resounding victory.
With a minority government, Trudeau is forced to rely on other parties and make policy compromises in order to rule, Reuters reports.
With surveys showing him in the lead last month, he called the election two years early, claiming that voters needed to weigh in on his left-of-center Liberal government’s handling of COVID-19.
However, as his dissatisfaction with the early call grew, he was unable to retain his large advantage. Liberal strategists admit that winning the majority of the 338 seats in the House of Commons will be difficult.
In recent days, Trudeau, 49, has emphasized the need for everyone to get immunized, despite the fact that his government has racked up record debt combating COVID-19. He supports vaccine mandates, although Erin O’Toole, the Conservative Party’s leader, wants quick testing.
“We need clear, strong leadership that is going to continue to unequivocally push vaccines, and that’s what we will do. Mr. O’Toole, he can’t, and he won’t,” Trudeau told supporters in Niagara Falls, Ontario, on Sunday, after a frenzied last day that saw him fly 2,800 miles (4,500 kilometers) across Canada.
If Trudeau fails to gain a majority in Canada election, it will be a humiliating defeat that will undoubtedly cast doubt on his future.
In 2015, the charismatic progressive politician stormed to prominence as the son of former Liberal Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau. However, once old images of him in blackface surfaced in 2019, he was reduced to a minority.
According to polls, the Liberals are tied with the Conservatives, which theoretically provides Trudeau an edge because Liberal strength is concentrated in metropolitan areas, which account for the majority of seats.
The election call may turn off some voters, according to liberals. Low voter turnout favors the Conservatives.
To make matters more complicated, both parties are experiencing vote divides. The Liberals go off against the left-leaning New Democrats, while the right-wing People’s Party of Canada (PPC), which opposes vaccinations, could weaken the Conservatives.
On Sunday, O’Toole urged supporters, “Justin Trudeau wants you to stay home tomorrow. Justin Trudeau wants you to vote PPC.” Between 9:30 and 10 p.m., polls in Canada’s most populous regions will close. EDT (Eastern Daylight Time) (0130-0200 GMT Tuesday), Reuters said in a report.
After 7:30 p.m., an early estimate of the Liberal fortunes will be available. When the ballots in the four Atlantic provinces are counted, it will be 2:33 a.m. EDT (2:33 a.m. GMT). The Liberals control 27 of the 32 seats in the legislature.
In public, Trudeau has maintained a careful stance, avoiding queries about a possible majority.
Two frontrunners are in a close race
Mr. Trudeau said the Canada election was important because the country was at a “pivotal moment” in its recovery from the pandemic, BBC said in a report.
Over the summer, polls indicated that his Liberals were likely to win a majority of seats in the House of Commons.
The Liberals won a close election in October 2019, the last time Canadians voted federally.
Mr. Trudeau, the center-left leader who is 49 years old, founded a government with a minority, which meant he had to rely on opposition parties to get his legislative agenda through.
COVID-19 pandemic casts a pall over Canada
Covid-19 has claimed the lives of over 27,000 Canadians. Some jurisdictions have been particularly severely hit by the recent spike, particularly Alberta, where hospital intensive care units are on the verge of overcrowding.
Alberta has declared a public health emergency and has resumed health restrictions that were eased earlier this summer.
That’s become a campaign topic, with Mr. O’Toole’s previous plaudits for the province’s handling of the pandemic coming back to bite him.
Meanwhile, Mr. O’Toole has slammed Prime Minister Trudeau’s pandemic election call, calling it “selfish” and “un-Canadian”, reports BBC.
Vaccinations have also become a matter of discussion in recent weeks.
Canada has one of the highest immunization rates in the world, with over 80% of eligible Canadians receiving at least one vaccination, and provinces have begun to use vaccine passports.
Mr. Trudeau has turned his support for mandates into a political football. By the end of October, a Liberal government would impose Covid vaccinations for bureaucrats, transportation employees, and most domestic air and train travel, something the Conservatives oppose.
Aggressive anti-vaccine demonstrators have been following the Liberal leader across the country.
While Mr. O’Toole wants to ensure that Canada achieves a 90 percent immunization rate, he has been chastised for refusing to reveal if all of his candidates have had vaccinations.
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