Another election in 18 months if there’s no majority this time, says PM Trudeau

The remark from the Liberal Party leader came during an unofficial debate on the network TVA. Conservative Party leader Erin O’Toole, NDP‘s Jagmeet Singh, and Yves-François Blanchet of Bloc Quebecois took part in the discussion
Canada's Liberal PM Justin Trudeau speaks to the media after an election debate at TVA studios in Montreal, Quebec. (REUTERS)
Canada's Liberal PM Justin Trudeau speaks to the media after an election debate at TVA studios in Montreal, Quebec. (REUTERS)
Published on Sep 03, 2021 10:44 AM IST
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Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has said that if neither of the Liberals or the Conservatives secures a majority in the September 20 snap elections, the country could again go to polls in one and a half year’s time.

The remark from the Liberal Party leader came during an unofficial debate on the network TVA. Conservative Party leader and PM hopeful Erin O’Toole, New Democratic Party’s (NDP) Jagmeet Singh, and Yves-François Blanchet of Bloc Quebecois took part in the discussion.

In the pre-election debate dubbed “Face-a-face”, the other leaders slammed Trudeau for triggering elections amid the fourth wave of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Blanchet accused the incumbent PM of holding pre-poll campaign events and taking selfies without respecting social distancing norms.

Singh did not respond to questions over whether he could work with the Conservatives in case they formed a minority government or even in a coalition arrangement. In previous national elections, Singh had categorically rejected supporting the Conservatives.

Two official debates will be held next week under the auspices of the Leaders’ Debates Commission.

With a little over two weeks to go for the snap polls that Trudeau himself recently called in a bid to convert his minority government into a majority one, the PM now finds himself in a tight spot.

Pre-poll surveys and estimates indicate that not only is he unlikely to secure a majority win, the Liberals risk conceding the position of the single-largest party to the main opposition Conservatives.

The Nanos Daily Ballot Tracking for the new outlets CTV News and Globe and Mail found the Conservative Party widening its national lead with 34.2% support as against 30.5% for the ruling Liberal Party.

The outlet CBC News put the chances of Trudeau forming a majority government at just 8%. His chances of forming another minority government - with fewer seats than the 157 he won in 2019 - are 45%.

That is just 3% ahead of the Conservatives, who have nearly caught up with the Liberals, though other pre-election trackers such as 338 Canada actually place the latter ahead at this time.

According to the non-profit Angus Reid Institute (ARI), most Canadians do not prefer seeing another Liberal government, whether in majority or minority.

Of those surveyed, according to figures released on Thursday, 42% want to see the next government led by Conservative leader O’Toole, while only 31% want to see Trudeau back at the helm, with the rest looking at a third option, such as NDP.

What may give Trudeau some relief is that there is a surprising difference between what voters want and what they expect. Around 49% expect another Liberal minority government with another 12% believing that it could even become a majority.

In contrast, just 34% think the Conservatives will form a government.

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Saturday, December 04, 2021