Every federal election, left-leaning Canadians have a justifiable fear their collective vote will split between the Liberals and the NDP, That could allow the Conservatives to fail to convince a majority of the electorate that a ring-wing government is the way to go but still take enough of the vote to form that right-wing government that only a minority wanted.
Yesterday (October 13), however, NDP leader Jagmeet Singh appeared to tell those voters, fear not.
Answering questions in Surrey, the South Burnaby candidate was asked if the NDP would support a coalition government led by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and the Liberals.
“Absolutely, because we’re not going to support a Conservative government,” Singh replied.
“We’re going to fight a Conservative government,” he continued. “We’re going to fight it all the way. So we’re ready to do whatever it takes. I don’t know what’s going to happen, so that’s a hypothetical situation. But I can answer it in a direct way. In any scenario that happens, whatever Canadian’s choose, I’m going to make sure Canadians get the best deal, I’m going to make sure that we fight hard for the things that are our priorities, I’m going to make sure we deliver those things, and I’ve made it really clear, I’m going to fight Conservatives. Because they cut and services worse for people.”
Asked for his thoughts on the idea during a press conference in Windsor today (October 14), Trudeau answered in a way that was less than direct.
“My focus is on electing a progressive government and stopping Conservative cuts.”
That left journalists unsatisfied. “Straight up, yes-or-no answer, would you be willing to form a coalition government?” one asked again.
“My focus is on electing a progressive government and stopping Conservative cuts,” Trudeau replied.
In Winnipeg today, Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer took Singh’s warm response to the suggestion and ran with it.
“Canadians now have a crystal-clear choice between a Trudeau–NDP coalition that will raise taxes, run endless deficits, and make life more expensive, and a Conservative government, majority government that will live within its means, lower taxes, put more money back in your pockets,” Scheer said.
Last month, Green party leader Elizabeth May stated that Trudeau’s intent to expand the Trans Mountain oil pipeline rules out any possibility of her party supporting the Liberals in a situation where they could form a minority government.
"If the positions of the other parties were cast in stone and they would never budge, none of them would be supported by Greens," May told CBC News. "It is not about politics. It's about a very clear imperative that global average temperature increase going above 1.5 degrees Celsius is so dangerous that the survival of a healthy biosphere is in the balance."
Questions about a coalition government followed Singh as he campaigned in Vancouver today.
“My focus is not on a coalition, my focus is on this: if you vote New Democrat, you’re going to get someone on your side,” he said. “I want to be very clear: we’ve got a lot of momentum, there’s been a lot of folks coming to us because they’ve seen us champions for them. And I’m honoured by that and I want to be prime minister because I know I can deliver an incredible government that’s going to make people’s lives better. But whatever happens, I want Canadians to know that they’re going to win and I want them to win and they’re going to win with a New Democrat on their side.”
Canada’s 2019 federal election is scheduled for October 21.