Politics

Scheer, Singh make confident pitch to voters, Trudeau targets both as polls move to favour Conservatives

Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer is asking for a mandate to govern with increasing confidence as shifting polls favour his party to win the most seats for the first time in this campaign — while Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau pivots his attacks to the NDP and a resurgent Jagmeet Singh.

Trudeau targets NDP, says 'only way to stop Conservative cuts' is to vote Liberal

Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer films the media as they arrive to the campaign plane at the airport in Vancouver on Saturday. (Jonathan Hayward/The Canadian Press)

Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer is asking for a mandate to govern with increasing confidence as shifting polls favour his party to win the most seats for the first time in this campaign — while Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau pivots his attacks to the NDP and a resurgent Jagmeet Singh.

"I believe that Canadians are going to be very happy with that choice to vote Conservative," Scheer told supporters on Saturday in British Columbia.

The Liberals and Conservatives have been trading minuscule leads in the polls since the campaign kicked off in mid-September, with the Liberals favoured to win the most seats. Now, the CBC's Poll Tracker, an aggregate of publicly available polling, projects the Conservatives could snatch 140 seats, compared to 135 for the Liberals. It's still short of the 170-seat benchmark needed for a majority, but Scheer is capitalizing on the apparent movement. 

"We're feeling very optimistic, very confident as to where we're at in this campaign," he said. 

Asked what needs to happen to break into majority territory, Scheer reiterated some of the differences between himself and Trudeau, namely reducing deficits through eliminating "frivolous spending." 

The Liberals have criticized Scheer for proposing a plan that could result in cuts to services and for his pitch to reduce spending on foreign aid by 25 per cent.

The Conservative leader also made a considerable pledge when a reporter asked him if he'd commit to keep every promise he's made in his platform. 

Scheer responded, "Absolutely."

The Conservative leader has been campaigning on affordability, tax cuts and support for the country's natural resource sector, and says he's confident that message is resonating. 

Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer says he is optimistic heading into the final stretch of the campaign. 0:50

"I'm very optimistic that Canadians are going to give us the mandate to implement that agenda," he said. 

Scheer was announcing the names of the leaders for his proposed Commission on the Reduction of Government Subsidy Programs to Corporations — the first announcement hinting at the Conservatives' priorities for the first 100 days if elected — while he was in Singh's riding of Burnaby South on Saturday.

NDP 'can't stop Scheer': Trudeau

While Scheer and Trudeau have been primary opponents throughout the campaign, the Liberal leader pivoted his attacks on Saturday toward the newly boosted NDP at a rally near Toronto.

Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau and his wife Sophie Grégoire Trudeau walk across the tarmac to a photo-op after arriving at Pearson airport in Toronto on Saturday. (Frank Gunn/The Canadian Press)

"The NDP couldn't stop Stephen Harper," Trudeau said in Mississauga. "They couldn't stop Doug Ford. And they can't stop Andrew Scheer."

The Liberal leader turned the onus back on Canadians, saying the final choice rests with them in little more than a week.

"The only way to stop Conservative cuts is to vote Liberal."

During a campaign rally in Mississauga, On., Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau takes aim at the NDP. 0:45

Singh: You can vote orange

The NDP leader, who was campaigning in Brampton, Ont., asked voters to elect as many NDP candidates to Parliament as possible in an effort to push forward a progressive policies such as universal pharmacare, dental care and environmental protections.

NDP leader Jagmeet Singh greets supporters during a campaign stop in Brampton, Ont., on Saturday. (Nathan Denette/The Canadian Press)

The Liberals are proposing different versions of many of the NDP's platform promises.

"You can choose orange this time," Singh told the crowd.

A vote split between progressive left parties — New Democrats, Liberals and Greens — could be a factor in Canadian elections, and the NDP is trying not to fall victim to strategic voting at this time.

"I believe people should never be voting out of fear," Singh said later in the day. 

Singh has never wavered in his goal to become prime minister, but acknowledged on Saturday it's a lofty one.

NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh says his party can hold the balance of power in a minority government situation and push for NDP commitments such as pharmacare. 0:25

"I want to make it clear I want to be your prime minister so we can fight ... But either way, whatever Canadians choose I want Canadians to win no matter what."

The NDP has said it will only work with a minority government if that government supports health care, climate action and housing. Singh reiterated he would narrow the options further. 

"We will not be working with the Conservatives."

Polls showed nothing but bad news for the NDP at the beginning of the campaign, but have reflected an uptick of support for the party after strong performances from Singh in the debates.

The party is now polling solidly in third, have edged away from a tight race with the Greens in recent days. 

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