Canadians Could Dash Trudeau's Dream Of Decisive Win
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau may cling to power in Monday's election, but he is likely to lose his bid for a parliamentary majority after a tough campaign that dashed his ruling Liberals' hopes for a convincing win, Steve Scherer and David Ljunggren reported for the Associated Press (AP).
Photo Insert: Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is hard at work on the campaign trail as his bid for parliamentary majority seems to be in jeopardy.
Trudeau heads a minority government that relies on the support of other parties to pass legislation. With opinion polls last month showing him far ahead of his rivals, the Liberal leader triggered the vote two years earlier than necessary, saying voters needed to weigh in on his left-of-center Liberal government's handling of the COVID-19 pandemic.
But as the public's unhappiness about the early call grew, the 49-year-old prime minister saw his lead evaporate. Liberal strategists now concede it will be hard for the party to win a majority of the 338 seats in the House of Commons.
In recent days, Trudeau, whose government racked up record debt fighting COVID-19, focused on the need for Canadians to get vaccinated against the coronavirus. He backs vaccine mandates, while Conservative leader Erin O'Toole, 48, opposes the mandates and prefers a combination of voluntary vaccinations and rapid testing to stop the spread of the virus.
"We need clear, strong leadership that is going to continue to unequivocally push vaccines, and that's what we will do. Mr. O'Toole, he can't, and he won't," Trudeau told supporters in Niagara Falls, Ontario, on Sunday during a frantic last day that saw him travel 2,800 miles (4,500 km) across Canada.
If Trudeau does fall short of a majority, it would represent a defeat that is certain to raise questions about his political future.