HALIFAX — When Justin Trudeau stepped to the podium at the suburban Toronto Hindu temple, he asked the crowd to give him a boost — just like the last time he paid them a visit. He reminded his audience that at that time, a few years ago, he was campaigning to win the leadership of the Liberal party. This time he's running for prime minister, with the vote only a few days away. "A lot has happened since the last time I came here," Trudeau told a couple of hundred people Friday night at the Sanatan Mandir Cultural Centre in Markham, a city in the critical "905" electoral battleground that surrounds the country's most populous city. "But I have to say that your blessings, your encouragement, your support helped me win that race then, so I'm hoping that being here tonight as I start the last days of this campaign will bring me just as much luck." Trudeau was clearly among friends inside this building in the tightly contested area, where his Liberals are trying to use their late-campaign momentum to wrest seats away from the rival Conservatives. His words were followed by chants from the crowd of "Trudeau, Trudeau, Trudeau." Trudeau enters the final weekend of the campaign coming off a week in which he ramped up his daily events. The late-campaign blitz rolled through important Quebec and Ontario ridings — none of which were held by Liberals in the last Parliament. It's easy for the Liberals to find themselves on enemy turf — they only held 36 seats at Parliament's dissolution. But the push into their opponents' territory shows they are confident. They need to win at least 170 seats Monday to form a majority. "We've been in ridings we lost by tens of thousands of votes ... so, we are really reaching out to ridings which nobody would have even thought conceivable not so long ago," said veteran Liberal John McCallum, who's running in the new district of Markham-Thornhill. "Well, the last thing we want to do is to be cocky, but in short things are going very well." This weekend, the pace of his tour will intensify with stops across the country, from the Atlantic to the Pacific coasts and then back to Montreal for Monday's election. On Saturday alone, Trudeau will hold events in Halifax, Saint John, N.B., Thunder Bay, Ont., and Winnipeg. He will break for the night in Edmonton. Recent public opinion polls have suggested the Liberals have been enjoying some late-campaign momentum, although apprehension has set in in the wake of the departure this week of campaign co-chairman Dan Gagnier, who resigned over his ill-conceived advice to a pipeline company about how to lobby a new government. All week, Trudeau tried to lure voters on the left by saying the Liberal have the "most-progressive platform." He also attempted to woo those on the right by insisting to red Tories that Harper's Conservatives had abandoned them. "I like Justin Trudeau — I like his young spirit," said Beth Evans, who attended a Trudeau rally early in the week in the Ottawa suburb of Nepean, an area that supported the Conservatives in 2011. Evans said she's voted for the Tories in the past, but this time she likes the Liberal plan to help the so-called middle class. "I do not want to be blue anymore, it's been too long," she said. Later in the week, following a Trudeau event at a restaurant in Welland, Ont., supporter Rick Breton pointed to a closed factory nearby and the shuttered shop across the street. Breton said he supports Trudeau's plan to run budgetary deficits in each of the next three years as a way to raise money to re-invest in infrastructure projects. "A balanced budget doesn't do anything for us here," Breton said of the pledges to balance the books made by Conservative Leader Stephen Harper and NDP Leader Tom Mulcair. "Everybody knows, to make money you've got to spend money." His riding of Niagara Centre voted for the NDP four years ago. The Liberals finished a distant third, nearly 15,000 votes behind. Later in the week, Trudeau made another bold statement in Montreal by appearing Thursday at a Liberal event in Outremont, where Mulcair is running for re-election. Trudeau concluded the week Friday at the Markham temple, where the president of the Hindu centre wished him well in a short speech. Jayendra Thakkar also reminded the audience that Sunday marks the birthday of the Liberal leader's late father, former prime minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau. "Many of us remember your father," Thakkar said. "Please note that you have an open invitation to come and visit us any time."
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