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Trudeau musing about majority


OTTAWA—Justin Trudeau mused yesterday about a majority government as his Liberals ride high atop polls that suggest they have the all-important momentum heading into next week’s election—a surge that has them squarely in the Conservative cross-hairs.

As he has done all week, Stephen Harper spent his entire public appearance attacking Trudeau, warning Canadians that there is “a lot at stake” in Monday’s vote and painting the Liberal plan as a path to higher taxes—and economic ruin.

“The time has come to be extremely clear about the risk Canadians take when they endorse that Liberal approach,” Harper said.

To be sure, the Conservatives weren’t pulling their punche—least of all in a jarring series of ads in Chinese and Punjabi media depicting Trudeau as a champion of pot-smoking children and neighbourhood brothels.

The Conservatives are “playing the politics of fear and spreading falsehoods about the Liberal plan,” the Liberals countered.

Also entering the fray yesterday was Hazel McCallion, the 94-year-old former mayor of Mississauga, Ont., who appeared in a Liberal ad refuting Harper’s claim that Trudeau intends to eliminate income-splitting for seniors.

“It’s like one of those phone scams seniors get because Harper thinks we’re scared,” McCallion said in the ad.

“Stephen, do I look scared to you?”

With polls suggesting the Liberals are in striking distance of forming government, Trudeau was asked yesterday about the possibility of a Liberal majority.

“Am I asking Canadians to vote for us? Yes. Am I asking them to vote for us across the country? Yes,” he replied during a campaign event in Hamilton.

“Am I asking them for a majority government? Yes.”

It was the first of Trudeau’s four whistle-stops in ridings the Liberals hope to take away from their opponents.

Trudeau was to finish his day with a rally in Ajax, Ont., in what may be one of the most closely-watched ridings of this campaign.

Former Liberal MP Mark Holland is looking to unseat Conservative Chris Alexander to win his way back to the House of Commons.

The Conservatives and the NDP, meanwhile, are focusing on shoring up support in ridings they held at dissolution.

Harper took his campaign yesterday to southwestern Ontario, where the Conservatives still are considered front-runners in some of the more rural ridings despite a concerted push by the NDP and Liberals.

Later yesterday, Harper headed to the Toronto area for a rally in Brampton, Ont.—a key region for the Conservatives, who swept the area in 2011 and are trying to keep the seats from veering back to the Liberals.

NDP leader Tom Mulcair—anxious to elbow his way back into the conversation—insisted his party still is very much in the mix, and that he remains the best bet to topple Harper.

“Whatever the polls have shown, I’ve said the same thing,” Mulcair noted.

“For the first time in Canadian history, we have a three-way race.”

But like Harper, Mulcair also spent the day shoring up existing support—first taking his campaign to Nova Scotia, where at least one of his three incumbents in the Halifax area is locked in a tough fight.

Later in the day, Mulcair was off to campaign in Quebec—a province that gave the New Democrats 59 seats in 2011 and helped elevate his party to Official Opposition status for the first time.

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