In 24 hours, it will be up to Canadians — but until then, the leaders vying for votes are making one last plea for unity behind their parties after a divisive campaign.
The contenders in Monday’s federal election are out today staging one final, frantic barrage of sales pitches before voters go to the polls, and they’re doing it in and around Vancouver, where a host of seats are still up for grabs.
Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer kicked off his day in Stanley Park, touting what he called his party’s “positive” campaign, before visiting a number of local ridings, culminating in a rally at a hotel near the city airport.
Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau is also on the West Coast, staging visits with voters and candidates at a blistering pace to show the party is taking nothing for granted.
Speaking to supporters, Trudeau called on voters to unite behind the Liberals, particularly in his home province of Quebec, by raising the spectre of separatism should the Bloc Quebecois have a large haul of seats.
“Canadians need to come together,” Trudeau said.
“The Bloc Quebecois came out and said its No. 1 priority is separation, is dividing the country once again — not even the fight against climate change, not even to stop Conservative cuts, but to revive old debates that we moved past. We need to work together.”
Speaking to reporters in Laval, Que., Bloc Quebecois Leader Yves-Francois Blanchet called the Liberal leader a liar — a comment made before Scheer also took aim at Blanchet over Quebec separatism.
Blanchet said separatism wasn’t a priority for his party, nor was a referendum on the matter imminent.
The NDP’s Jagmeet Singh, before mainstreeting in Vancouver and Surrey, B.C., said that any divisions in the country were a result of economic insecurity, exacerbated by the policies of successive Conservative and Liberal governments.
The NDP leader suggested his party’s platform commitments would bridge any divides when asked about specific actions he would take to bring the country together if elected prime minister after Monday’s vote.
“All these worries and fears create division, or worries and fears allow others to come in and to divide us based on things that are not the reason for the problems,” he said.
“I believe we can build a unified country if people see justice in their lives, if they see affordability in their lives, if they see child care and a health care system and housing that is affordable that is there for them.”
He also said he had no regrets about the campaign.
Green Leader Elizabeth May, who was also focusing on her home territory of B.C., made a plea to voters with a pledge to reform the voting system — something the Liberals promised in 2015, but ditched after a series of parliamentary and political missteps.
May was also heavily critical of what she called “dirty smears” from other parties, and the New Democrats in particular.
She said she believed she had a good relationship with Singh — May decided not to run a Green candidate in a byelection that gave the NDP leader a seat in the House of Commons — but that now appears to be in tatters.
“I didn’t think that this election would be so marred by dishonesty,” she said.
“Now all the media is covering this now that this was a dirty election and that people lied — the Conservatives lied about the Liberals, the Liberals lied about the Conservatives, the NDP continue to lie about the Greens. It’s one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to endure.”
People’s Party of Canada Leader Maxime Bernier wraps up his campaign in his Quebec riding of Beauce.
The Canadian Press