Canada Odds of a minority government rise, Liberal chances drop as Bloc surges in polls
Party leaders out on campaign trail Sunday turn focus to Toronto
OTTAWA — Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau is focusing his attention today on the seat-rich region in and around Canada's biggest city as the country prepares to mix politics with holiday meals. Trudeau is set to blitz areas around Toronto, including a morning photo-op at a Thanskgiving food drive, before rallying supporters in Etobicoke, in the city's west end. The area is home to Ontario Premier Doug Ford's base of support, but also Liberal MPs seeking re-election, and Trudeau has used the Progressive Conservative premier as a foil this election, including at a large rally on Saturday night in Mississauga.
Who had a Bloc resurgence on their federal election bingo card?
The campaign has seen one bizarre twist after another without any apparent impact on the polls — until now. This latest twist is a little retro. The Bloc Québécois, pronounced all but dead after 2011, has been reanimated and could significantly upend the election plans of the Liberals and Conservatives.
The CBC Poll Tracker shifted suddenly in its latest update, with the Bloc's gains in Quebec erasing the solid seat advantage the Liberals enjoyed over the Conservatives.
Since the beginning of this campaign, the Liberals had been favoured to win more seats than the Conservatives, regardless of which party was ahead in the national polling average. This was being driven in part by the party's enduring edge in Ontario — but it was Quebec that made the difference.
Scheer in Quebec, fighting against rise in support for Bloc Quebecois
QUEBEC — Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer heads to Quebec today, a province where he's taking on not just the Liberals and NDP, but also the Bloc Quebecois. Scheer is now actively campaigning against the threat of a coalition Liberal-NDP government, bringing up the issue several times yesterday during campaign events in Winnipeg. But in Quebec, rising support for the BQ suggests that party could elect enough MPs to hold a powerful position in the event of a minority government.Scheer says the priority of the Bloc is to work towards another referendum on separation for Quebec, and discounts needing to work with them to advance the interests of Quebecers.
Liberal support in Quebec has hovered around the 36 per cent mark the party hit in 2015. Because of the wide gap separating the Liberals from the other parties in Quebec, however, they could count on winning about 50 seats in the province, a net gain of 10 over the last election's results.
But now, at just under 34 per cent, Liberal support is looking softer in Quebec. The Bloc, meanwhile, has picked up seven points in the last 10 days and has moved into second place in the province, with 27 per cent support.
That has dropped the Liberals into the mid-30s in the seat projection for Quebec, nearly tied with the Bloc Québécois. The Conservatives also have slipped and appear to be on track to win around 10 seats in Quebec, down from the 12 they took in 2015.
Bloc leader says Tories should have shown love to Quebec earlier in campaign
CANDIAC, Que. — Bloc Quebecois Leader Yves-Francois Blanchet says the recent Conservative push for votes in Quebec is too little too late as the prospect of a minority government looms. Blanchet compared Tory Leader Andrew Scheer today to a desperate boyfriend expressing his love for a scorned partner after they had already shown him the door. The Bloc leader was referencing Scheer's recent campaign stops in Quebec, where the Conservative leaderBlanchet compared Tory Leader Andrew Scheer today to a desperate boyfriend expressing his love for a scorned partner after they had already shown him the door.
Liberals tied with Conservatives in seats
From a high of 166 seats in the national projection in the days following the French-language TVA debate, before the fallout from that contest was being registered in the polls, the Liberals have plummeted nearly 30 seats to 139. That puts them just three ahead of the Conservatives.
The close race in the national polls has now become a close race in the seat projections — meaning this election has become even more of a toss-up.
There is also now only a 26 per cent chance that either party can win a majority of seats.
The Bloc has been eating into the support of the Liberals, Conservatives and Greens in Quebec, though the seat impact has primarily been felt by the Liberals. That's because the Conservative base of support in Quebec is concentrated around the Quebec City area, where polls suggest the party still holds a lead.
But in the rural regions of Quebec and the francophone areas in and around Montreal, the Liberals had been banking on winning seats with relatively low shares of the vote, benefiting from a vote split between the Conservatives, Bloc and New Democrats.
That logic no longer holds now that the Bloc has moved into first place among francophones and (as a consequence) in the regions that were being targeted by the Liberals. That has the potential to paint dozens of seats Bloc blue rather than Liberal red.
Not helping matters for the Liberals is the fact that the New Democrats appear to be building up some momentum of their own after a strong performance by NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh in Monday's English-language debate. After posting poll numbers that would have given them about 15 seats nationwide, they are now projected to win around 25 seats.
So the coming week could prove to be decisive. After nearly five sleepy weeks, voters are wide awake and feeling volatile. Blink and you might miss the next twist.
Bloc election strategy struck chord with appeal to Quebec pride, not sovereignty .
MONTREAL — Elyse Bodnar, a long-time Liberal voter, says she thinks Bloc Quebecois Leader Yves-Francois Blanchet is just "terrific." Bodnar, who was in the audience when Blanchet visited her Montreal seniors' residence this week, said she discovered the Bloc leader during the first French-language television debate. "He kind of got my attention," the 68-year-old said of Blanchet's Oct. 2 debate performance. "And then I saw the respect that others on the debate stage had for him, and I also respected him.
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