Justin Trudeau won’t directly say whether he’s asking Canadians for a majority

Liberal Leader gets a shot in the arm from former U.S. president Barack Obama

Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau makes a campaign stop in Montreal on Thursday. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick)

By Morgan Lowrie
The Canadian Press

MONTREAL — Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau said Thursday it’s his goal to send as many MPs to Ottawa as possible, but stopped short of directly asking Canadians for a majority.

Trudeau has repeatedly declined to give a clear answer in recent days when asked whether he’s asking Canadians for a majority, as he did in 2015.

He told reporters in Montreal on Thursday that more Liberal voices are needed in Ottawa to defend science and vaccination, but once again did not use the word “majority” in reference to his party’s hopes.

“What I want is to have the most strong MPs from Quebec and all over Canada within a Liberal government,” he said. “We have the right plan. We have the proven approach to protect Canadians during this pandemic.”

Trudeau added that he’s “confident” Canadians will choose his party based on issues such as child care, housing supports, climate change policies, and pandemic response measures.

Trudeau’s re−election pitch has won over at least one high−profile supporter in former U.S. president Barack Obama, who tweeted his endorsement of the Liberal leader on Thursday.

“Wishing my friend @JustinTrudeau the best in Canada’s upcoming election,” Obama’s message read. “Justin has been an effective leader and strong voice for democratic values, and I’m proud of the work we did together.”

Obama also expressed support for Trudeau during the 2019 campaign.

Trudeau has faced criticism for calling an early election during the fourth wave of the COVID−19 pandemic, which opponents such as the NDP have branded a power grab.

The Liberal leader has said the election is about giving voters a say on the decisions to be made as Canada emerges from the pandemic, and not about increasing his party’s seat count.

Trudeau was asked directly earlier this week why he appears to avoid the word majority altogether.

“Why do you refuse to say the word that starts with m, the word majority?” he was asked at a campaign stop in Quebec on Sunday.

“It’s not a question of refusing, it’s a question of saying why we’re in a campaign, because whichever government is elected next week, that government will have enormous decisions to make,” Trudeau replied.

At least one other senior Liberal has been more direct.

Dominic LeBlanc, Trudeau’s Intergovernmental Affairs minister, told reporters at a campaign stop in New Brunswick on Wednesday that he remains “very confident” in the Liberals’ chances of returning with a majority of seats.

“I’ve said from the beginning of the campaign that we’re campaigning to win a majority government, and there’s a reason why that’s important,” LeBlanc said. “I think Canadians want to be able to have a prime minister that can stand up for things that are important to them,” such as requiring air and rail travellers to be vaccinated, he said.

Trudeau himself has not shied away from asking from a majority in the past. In 2015, Trudeau made headlines the first time he appealed directly to voters to give him a strong mandate.

“Am I asking Canadians to vote for us? Yes. Am I asking them to vote for us across the country? Yes. Am I asking them for a majority government? Yes,” he said at the time. Trudeau went on to win a strong majority, winning 184 of 338 seats.

In 2011, former prime minister Stephen Harper campaigned on asking Canadians for “a strong, stable, Conservative majority government.” He, too, got the majority he sought.

Polls have suggested that the Liberals and Conservatives are running neck−and−neck, with neither party in a clear position to win the 170 seats needed to form a majority in the House of Commons.

At dissolution, the Liberals had 155 seats, the Conservatives 119, the Bloc Québécois 32, the NDP 24 and the Greens two. There were also five Independents and one vacancy.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept 16, 2021.


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(8) Comments:

  1. Posted by Sunny ways to cloudy days on

    Trudeau’s campaign pitches didn’t win over Obama, they are friends, and this endorsement was forthcoming regardless.

    Whether he admits it or explicitly asks for it or not, it is obvious any party leader would prefer a majority, that he hasn’t explicitly asked is an interesting fact. Does he realize his “sunny ways” have become a little less bright and a little cloudier over the years? Does he realize the cynicism with which this election has been rightfully greeted?

    Let’s be clear about this, there would be no election campaign right now if not for a Trudeau’s desire for a majority; that is, to rid himself of accountability and the pestering need to work with the other parties, especially the NDP who has given him, to this point, a de-facto majority anyway.

    This is an unnecessary election that the country does not need, made worse by the fact that the PM is willing to expose us all to the risks that come with the pandemic, simply to consolidate power.

    Let’s not reward him for this.

  2. Posted by Rehash on

    So you’re rehashing Canadian Press articles that have nothing to do with the north? That’s disappointing.

    • Posted by Why So Edgy? on

      Come on, don’t be so afraid to look beyond that wee horizon you’ve drawn for yourself. To think the election has no consequence on the North is obviously false.

      • Posted by Rehash on

        That’s not why I think dumping Can Press filler in Nunatsiaq is a bad thing.

        Despite the remoteness, Northerns are constantly blasted with southern media: TV, radio, news websites, social media.

        Communities outside the regional hubs are neglected by northern media, and now Nunatsiaq is going to take away a few pages of northern content for CP headlines that we’ve heard and read from a bunch of other sources?

        It looks like a slippery slope. I give Nunatsiaq 5 years before it’s bought just like News North.

        • Posted by Going to disagree on

          I think the idea that something is being taken away, by adding something new, is real the fallacy here.

  3. Posted by Frodo’s Parka on

    It’s telling to me that Justin, during this campaign, has continually gone on about what he is going to do, and hardly a word about what he’s done; after six years, no less. Telling indeed.

  4. Posted by Why on

    Doesn’t anyone find it disturbing that American politicians are making public comments supporting some of our party leaders? According to the media, Obama and Clinton have made comments supporting Trudeau and Sanders has done the same for Singh. American politicians should mind their own elections.

    • Posted by Northern Guy on

      Clinton and Obama aren’t politicians anymore, and as private citizens they can say, do and endorse whomever and whatever they choose, Sanders on the other hand is a sitting US Senator so his endorsement of Singh is a little problematic.

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