Justin Trudeau, Canada’s prime minister, greets a baby while campaigning in Port Coquitlam, British Columbia. Justin Trudeau faces a tough fight to eke out even a narrow victory in the snap elections he called hoping to strengthen his grip on power in Canada. (Bloomberg)
Justin Trudeau, Canada’s prime minister, greets a baby while campaigning in Port Coquitlam, British Columbia. Justin Trudeau faces a tough fight to eke out even a narrow victory in the snap elections he called hoping to strengthen his grip on power in Canada. (Bloomberg)

Justin Trudeau vs Erin O’Toole: Pollsters yet to pick a winner in Canada elections

The difference between the two principal parties in most polling is within the margin of error but, in the last couple of days, incumbent PM Justin Trudeau has benefitted from a revival of sorts, catching up with the Conservatives.
By Anirudh Bhattacharyya I Edited by Amit Chanda
UPDATED ON SEP 14, 2021 05:48 PM IST

The campaign for the 44th Federal elections in Canada has entered its final days and attacks have turned sharper as the ruling Liberal Party and the principal opposition Conservatives are locked in the closest of contests in the final week before the September 20 voting day.

The difference between the two principal parties in most polling is within the margin of error but, in the last couple of days, incumbent Prime Minister Justin Trudeau did benefit from a revival of sorts, catching up with the Conservatives.

Opposition leader Erin O’Toole has seen his party’s upward trajectory stall and in fact, head in the wrong direction.

According to the latest data from the tracking website 338 Canada, there’s dead heat between the two parties. The Liberals have 31.9% support, just 0.3% behind the Conservatives. 338 Canada now projects that the Liberals will get 146 seats and the Conservatives 20 fewer, at 126.

In either case, neither party is in a position to garner a majority, that is 170 seats in the next House of Commons.

The four-year term of the House of Commons would normally have expired with elections in October 2023 but Trudeau precipitated snap elections in his quest for a majority verdict. In the 2019 federal elections, Liberals won 157 seats forming a minority government under Justin Trudeau. The Conservatives got 121 seats to emerge as the official opposition party.

The tracker for CBC News points in the opposite direction with the Liberals having the same numbers but the Conservatives trailing by only 0.6%.

A fresh survey from the non-partisan foundation Angus Reid Institute (ARI) on Monday underscored this trend, as it said, “New data finds the Conservative (32%) and Liberal (30%) parties in a statistical deadlock, with each garnering support from three-in-ten voters.”

“The 44th federal election campaign is in its final week, with no party separating itself among Canadian voters, half of whom are saying they’re not yet fully committed to their party choice,” it added.

Campaigning in Vancouver on Monday, Justin Trudeau focused on Erin O’Toole and linked the Conservatives to the anti-vaccination groups in the country. “What we need is leadership that will be unequivocal that Canadians need to get vaccinated, not leadership like Mr O’Toole who pretends that testing is equivalent to vaccination,” he said, as anti-vaxxer protests continue in the country.

And as the fourth wave of the Covid-19 pandemic also makes its presence felt, Erin O’Toole again questioned scheduling an election amid a health crisis. In the town of Carp in Ontario, Erin O’Toole said, “Every Canadian has met a Justin Trudeau in their lives - privileged, entitled and always looking out for number one. He was looking out for number one when he called this expensive and unnecessary election in the middle of a pandemic. That’s not leadership, that’s self interest.”

With margins wafer-thin, the rhetoric will only become shriller till voting next Monday.

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