Justin Trudeau makes final pitch to voters in B.C., Alberta
Liberal leader honours his grandfather, addresses his father's controversial legacies on final campaign day
Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau's campaign came full circle Sunday evening, capping off the 78-day marathon in Vancouver, the same place he kicked off the campaign in early August.
An incredibly hoarse sounding Trudeau spent much of his speech talking about his maternal grandfather, James Sinclair, who represented the North Vancouver riding Trudeau was speaking in as a Liberal MP.
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"I can trace my passion for [campaigning] right back to Grandpa," he said, as a few supporters waved dated Sinclair signs behind the stage.
He repeated his familiar message about bringing real change and the need to campaign to the last minute to the large, energized crowd. Campaign organizers moved the venue at the last hour because of the size of the crowd.
Trudeau made earlier stops Sunday in Surrey, B.C., Calgary and Edmonton.
Trudeau, who has been drawing large crowds of supporters in the days leading up to Monday's vote, hopes the election will help the Liberals find their way out of the political wilderness in Alberta.
The party hasn't had an MP in the province since Anne McLellan lost her Edmonton seat in 2006. Calgary, Conservative Leader Stephen Harper's adopted hometown, has been even more unkind to his party — it hasn't elected a Liberal since 1968. That year, Pat Mahoney captured a seat amid Pierre Trudeau's majority mandate victory amid the so-called Trudeaumania.
"I've been coming out to Alberta for years with a message that this place is important to me, that this place matters deeply," he said to supporters in Edmonton.
"It's a message that I'm proud to deliver here with a big smile, as a Liberal, as a Trudeau, and as a Quebecer."
A political gap has existed between Western Canada and Central Canada since the days of former prime minister Pierre Trudeau. That sense of alienation harboured by the Prairie provinces was a major driver of Conservative Leader Stephen Harper's move into politics.
The younger Trudeau, who's running for re-election in Montreal, addressed that national divide today.
"You see, every part of this country matters. People in Quebec need to know that Alberta matters, that our country needs Alberta to succeed. But so, too, do Quebecers need to be reminded that our country needs them to engage too."
Western resources, eastern votes
Trudeau is mindful of some of the baggage his family name carries in this part of the country ever since his father created the National Energy Program in the 1980s.
He said he first tried to ease some of the deep-rooted distrust Albertans have for Liberals when he visited Calgary a few years ago during his run for the Liberal leadership.
"I was very clear ... in saying that it was an error to pit one part of the country against another with a program like my father's program," said Trudeau.
The Liberal leader repeated his message during this visit to Calgary, where he headed after his earlier stop in Edmonton.
"I will never use western resources to try and buy eastern votes," he said. "I am focused on bringing this country together and I believe that Albertans, like all Canadians, need a government that is focused on pulling people together."
The Liberals have been riding high in the polls in the final weeks of the campaign.
According to CBC's Poll Tracker, a number of polls suggest election day will go to the Grits, installing Trudeau as Canada's next prime minister. However, favourable polls today don't rule out the possibility that the Conservatives could eke out more seats tomorrow.
Trudeau also used his swing Sunday through Alberta to woo Quebecers who have yet to forgive his father for constitutional conflicts and his battles against Quebec nationalism.
The Liberal leader urged Quebecers to once again become an active participant in the national fold. He called on them to support his team rather than a party likely to find itself warming the opposition benches.
"I'm saying this from here, in Alberta, that Albertans like all Canadians need us Quebecers," Trudeau said in French during his Edmonton speech, which also drew a large crowd.
Trudeau's visits to ridings in Quebec during the campaign's final week attracted much smaller crowds than his stops in the Maritimes, Ontario, Manitoba and even Alberta. In Edmonton and Calgary, his rallies drew large, chanting throngs of supporters.
Trudeau's speeches also aimed to resonate in a province that has been reeling from low oil prices, leading to mass layoffs in its once-thriving energy sector.
"Our country needs Alberta to succeed," Trudeau said in Edmonton.
"You deserve a government that doesn't take your votes for granted, or that assumes it will have your votes because of where you live, and a government that understands that the time to invest in Alberta is now, when people need help."
Trudeau is flying back to Montreal overnight for election day.
With files from The Canadian Press