Politics

Scheer says he expects the leader with most seats will form government

Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer said on Wednesday night that he expects that all parties "will respect the fact" that whoever wins the most seats on Oct. 21 will be the one to form government.

Conservative leader narrows options on minority government in dying days of the campaign

Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer sat for a televised interview with CTV's Chief National News Anchor Lisa LaFlamme on Wednesday night. (Adrian Wyld/The Canadian Press)

Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer says he expects that all parties "will respect the fact" that whoever wins the most seats on Oct. 21 will be the one to form government.

Speaking to CTV's Chief News Anchor Lisa LaFlamme on Wednesday, Scheer said "we would expect that other parties would respect the fact that whichever party wins the most seats gets to form the government and that they will understand that if Canadians — when Canadians endorse our platform, we will have the right to implement it." 

With the Conservatives and the Liberals locked in the polls this week, a minority government is looking like the most likely scenario.

 While the last three federal minority governments have seen the party that won the most seats on election night go on to form government, that's not exactly how Canada's parliamentary system works.

Scheer has spent the past week talking about the need for the Conservatives to win a majority government to stave off a Liberal-NDP coalition. But Scheer has fewer options in a minority than his Liberal counterparts, having firmly rejected the notion of negotiating with the Bloc Québécois — something he re-iterated in his interview with CTV News.

"We're not going to ask other parties for support," Scheer told LaFlamme.

Singh spurns Conservatives

NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh, who is currently experiencing a surge in the polls, has said he is open to working with every party except Scheer's Conservatives.

Under Canada's parliamentary system, the incumbent prime minister remains prime minister until he or she formally resigns or is dismissed by the Governor General.

If no party wins a majority of seats on Monday and the Liberals come in second to the Conservatives, Justin Trudeau could continue to govern by trying to gain the confidence of a majority of MPs in the House of Commons. 

If he decided to do so, Trudeau would have until mid-January to recall the House. He could also enter a coalition or an informal agreement with other parties. NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh has already opened the door to such a deal.

In recent years, the second-place leader — even the incumbent — has usually conceded defeat on election night and allowed the leader with the most seats to try to form government, as then prime minister Paul Martin did when Stephen Harper won the most seats in 2006.

During his tenure, Harper espoused the view that "Losers don't get to form coalitions. Winners are the ones who form governments."

About the Author

Michelle Ghoussoub

@MichelleGhsoub

Michelle Ghoussoub is a journalist with CBC News in Vancouver. She has previously reported in Lebanon and Chile. Reach her at michelle.ghoussoub@cbc.ca or on Twitter @MichelleGhsoub.

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