Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau is making his final pitch to voters with a whirlwind trip through British Columbia, where he is highlighting the need for local campaigns to get out the vote.
“It’s always important for people to get out and vote. We’ve got a great democracy and we need to make sure we are participating in it,” Trudeau said as he visited the campaign office of Patrick Weiler, the Liberal candidate for West Vancouver-Sunshine Coast-Sea to Sky Country.
“We are taking nothing for granted,” Trudeau said Sunday.
The riding is one of many battlegrounds in British Columbia.
Liberal Pamela Goldsmith-Jones, the former mayor of West Vancouver, won the riding in 2015. Previously, Conservative MP John Weston held the seat and before that Blair Wilson, a Liberal who switched to the Greens ahead of the 2008 election.
Goldsmith-Jones, who has been supporting Weiler’s campaign, said the Liberals, Conservatives, NDP and the Greens all have support in the riding. She said her 2015 victory came from a coalition of progressive voters.
She was asked what a loss for the Liberals here would mean.
“It could symbolize what I think we are seeing in this election across the country, which is difficulty choosing one way,” Goldsmith-Jones said.
The Liberals have urged progressive voters to rally behind their party as the only way to stop Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer from becoming prime minister.
The increased popularity of the NDP and Greens, as well as disappointment with the Liberals after four years in power, is threatening their hold on progressive voters. In Quebec, the Liberals are also contending with the rising popularity of the Bloc Quebecois.
Bloc Leader Yves-Francois Blanchet delivered a speech in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Que., on Saturday night, where he focused strongly on sovereignty.
Blanchet invoked the memories of former Parti Quebecois premiers Rene Levesque and Jacques Parizeau, who brought the question of Quebec sovereignty to unsuccessful referendum votes in 1980 and 1995, respectively.
Pierre Trudeau, the father of the current Liberal leader, was prime minister in 1980.
On Sunday morning, Trudeau seized upon the opportunity to slam his rivals on the other side of the country, suggesting Blanchet is favouring the fight for sovereignty over the fight against climate change.
“Canadians need to come together,” Trudeau said in a speech at a bakery in Port Moody, B.C.
“We just got a very clear reminder of that last night in Quebec, where the Bloc Quebecois came out and said that its number one priority is separation, is dividing the country once again,” Trudeau said. “Not even the fight against climate change, not even to stop Conservative cuts, but to revive old debates that we moved past.”
The Liberals argue that voter intentions do not always translate into ballots cast, which is one reason why their efforts to get out the vote in these final days could be crucial.
The Liberal campaign will make several stops in and around Vancouver today, including in ridings held by New Democrats, before heading to Victoria for Trudeau’s last rally before Canadians cast their ballots Monday.
Scheer, NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh and the Greens’ Elizabeth May are all spending the day in the province.
Trudeau, unlike his rivals, is not holding a news conference on Sunday.
The Liberals have faced criticism from progressive voters in B.C. over their decision to purchase the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project for $4.5 billion, but in Alberta, they have been accused of not doing enough for people who work in the oil and gas sector.
On Saturday night in Calgary, the Liberal campaign was greeted by protesters carrying signs accusing Trudeau of treason, as well as about 1,500 supporters who showed up for a late-night rally.
Trudeau told the crowd there are thousands of progressive voters in Alberta, where the Liberals won four seats in 2015 after having not won a single riding in the province since 2004.
“I know that there are thousands upon thousands upon thousands of progressive Albertans who do not feel that (Alberta Premier) Jason Kenney speaks for them,” Trudeau said.