10/16/2015 12:43 EDT | Updated 10/16/2016 05:12 EDT

Canada Election 2015: Parties Target Each Others' Ridings As Campaign Nears End

NDP Leader Tom Mulcair said Thursday that "the only way to defeat or replace Stephen Harper next Monday is to win the Conservative ridings.


OTTAWA — With only a handful of campaigning days left in the election, the three major party leaders are largely spending the day targeting their opponents' ridings.

NDP Leader Tom Mulcair said Thursday that "the only way to defeat or replace Stephen Harper next Monday is to win the Conservative ridings."

That's why Conservative ridings were his focus Thursday and that's why they will continue to be today, he said.

Mulcair starts his day in Lac-Megantic, where he will likely attack the Conservatives' record on rail safety. The town was the site of explosions in 2013 that killed 47 people when a train carrying crude oil derailed and caught fire.

The NDP leader then takes his campaign to Edmonton Centre, which the Conservatives have held since 2006, for an evening rally. He'll also meet with Alberta Premier Rachel Notley.

Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau spends his day in the so-called 905 region that surrounds Toronto. The suburbs are an important battleground, largely between the Conservatives and Liberals, as they are home to many swing ridings. In the 2011 election the Conservatives took many of those seats away from the Liberals, who are hoping to win them back.

Trudeau hits Mississauga East-Cooksville, Brampton North and Aurora-Oak Ridges-Richmond Hill, which are all new ridings but ones in which a Conservative incumbent is running.

He finishes his day in the riding of Markham-Unionville, which has been held for years by Liberal John McCallum, but he is running this time in the new riding of Markham-Thornhill.

Conservative Leader Stephen Harper heads into NDP territory in Quebec City. The Conservatives hold four ridings south of the provincial capital, but are aiming to win back some more support in the region. In 2008, the Conservatives took almost all the seats in and around Quebec City.

Though raising their seat count in Quebec has been a goal for the part since the start of the campaign, some say it's been given new life specifically because of the issue of niqabs at citizenship ceremonies — both the NDP and Liberals oppose the Tories on this front, but the Conservative position has proven popular in Quebec.

Harper will also visit Fredericton, N.B., in the early evening to deliver campaign remarks.

Green party Leader Elizabeth May will kick off the final weekend of the campaign with a three-day bus tour of Vancouver Island. The tour begins today in Sidney and will end at the Victoria Conference Centre on Sunday afternoon.

Bloc Quebecois leader Gilles Duceppe will make campaign stops today in Gatineau, Ville-Marie and Roberval.


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