PORT ALBERNI, B.C. — NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh has been unequivocal in saying he would not help the Conservatives to form a government in the event no party wins a majority, but he won’t say if that means he’d be willing to trigger a snap election.
Opinion polls suggest many progressive voters remain undecided with only three days left until election day. They also suggest the Liberals and Conservatives remain locked in a tie among decided voters, and that Singh’s New Democrats remain in third place but have made significant gains since the election began.
The numbers look increasingly like there could be a minority government.
Singh has been firm in saying he would be unwilling to prop up a Conservative minority government. He reiterated his stance while campaigning in British Columbia on Friday, saying he would be willing to work with any of the other parties in a potential minority scenario, including the Liberals, but never with the Conservatives.
“We’re not going to support a Conservative minority government. We’re not going to support in any way Mr. Scheer being put into the prime minister’s seat,” Singh said today in Port Alberni.
“That’s something that we’ve ruled out entirely, unequivocally.”
However, when questioned by reporters today and on Thursday whether this means he would be willing to trigger a snap election if the Conservatives win the most seats but not a majority, Singh remained vague.
“People should know that New Democrats aren’t going to work with putting in a Conservative government. We’re not going to do that,” he said.
“What they should know is the Liberals have let you down and the more New Democrats you vote for in this election... we’re going to form government. But if you vote for enough of us either way we’re going to fight for the priorities we put forward.”
The Liberals have often argued that voting for the NDP or Greens would split the progressive vote and let the Conservatives, who have promised to eliminate the carbon tax and cut federal spending, take power.
Singh has used every public appearance — rallies, stump speeches, whistle stops, media interviews — in the last week encouraging voters not to fall for this push for strategic voting, calling them Liberal scare tactics aimed at retaining power.
He has also added an additional detail in his messaging over the last 24 hours — expressing disappointment at Green Leader Elizabeth May for saying she would be willing to work with the Conservatives in a minority government.
May’s riding includes the southern tip of Vancouver Island, and some polls suggest her party has been doing well in a number of ridings in the province that the NDP hope to capture.
On Friday, Singh pointed to abortion and same-sex marriage — issues Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer has struggled to stickhandle around politically due to statements he’s made saying he is personally against both — as key reasons he has absolutely ruled out working with the Conservatives.
“Ms. May hasn’t done that and that’s one of the big differences,” Singh said.
“We don’t think you can negotiate with a woman’s right to choose, with same-sex marriage, with services.”
Conservative views on abortion and same-sex marriage also landed Singh an unexpected ally on Friday.
Alberta’s NDP Leader Rachel Notley says she’ll be voting for the NDP candidate in her riding, despite disagreements with the federal party on energy policy.
Notley released a statement saying she was not planning to take a public position on the federal election, but the prospect of a Conservative minority government backed by the separatist Bloc Quebecois has her deeply concerned for the future of the country.
She criticized Scheer’s plans to roll back action on climate change and cut spending, as well as anti-choice, homophobic and xenophobic views within his party.
That’s why she says she’s endorsing the NDP candidate in her riding of Edmonton-Strathcona, Heather McPherson — the only candidate she believes can beat the Conservatives there.
Notley, a former Alberta premier, has clashed with Singh over the Trans Mountain oil pipeline and his energy policy and Notley acknowledges they still don’t see eye-to-eye on these issues, “nor has my resolve to challenge him on these matters,” Notley said Friday.
″`However, it is also my view that there is no parliamentary makeup that will allow Mr. Singh to assert those views.”
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 18, 2019.
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