Oct. 20 (UPI) — In the fight for his political life, polls this weekend showed Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his party edging ahead of the Conservatives going into Monday’s election, but the Liberal Party will likely lose its majority.
The latest CBC Poll tracker released Saturday showed the Liberals winning 31.8 percent of the popular vote, compared with 31.4 percent for the Conservatives, led by Andrew Scheer.
More importantly, Liberals are projected to win 141 seats in the Canadian Parliament while Conservatives are projected to win 121 seats. A party needs 171 seats for a majority. If that holds, the Liberals will get the chance to form the next government but will have to build a coalition with smaller parties to get anything accomplished.
Bloc Quebecois, which is dedicated to Quebec nationalism and the promotion of Quebec sovereignty, is expected to win 39 seats while the New Democrats, which often sits to the left of the Liberal Party, is expected to win 34 seats.
If the Conservatives win the popular vote, though, that can complicate matters, said one pollster.
“We could have the Conservative Party win the popular vote by one or two percentage points but not be able to form a government and the Liberals forming the government,” Canadian pollster Nik Nanos of Nanos Research, said. “It’s possible for the winner to be the loser and the loser to be the winner in the Canadian election.”
While healthcare and climate change tops the list of concerns for Canadians, it has been the recent scandals connected to Trudeau that have helped make the race so competitive.
In the latest hiccup last month, Trudeau apologized not just for wearing blackface during a school event almost two decades ago, but then embarrassingly admitting he did not know many times he did it.
A Canadian government watchdog group charged in August that Trudeau violated ethics law by trying to influence his attorney general to stop the criminal prosecution of SNC-Lavalin, a large Liberal Party-linked engineering firm. Trudeau again apologized, saying was trying to save Canadian jobs.
Despite the controversies, former U.S. President Barack Obama, who remains highly popular in Canada, tweeted his support for Trudeau last Wednesday.