Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who looks set to lose his parliamentary majority after an election on Monday, said this week he needs a strong government to keep standing up to US President Donald Trump.
Trudeau’s remarks were unusually forceful, especially since the two leaders looked to have patched up relations after Trump accused the Canadian last year of being weak and dishonest.
Opinion polls put Trudeau’s Liberals even with the Conservatives of Andrew Scheer and suggest the ruling party will lose its majority in the House of Commons. That would leave the Liberals relying on smaller parties to govern.
Trudeau, campaigning on the Canadian Thanksgiving holiday, noted the Liberals had overseen the successful negotiation of a new US-Mexico-Canada trade agreement last year. The talks were tough at times and Trudeau said Scheer had favoured capitulating to the US side.
“We need to continue to have a strong government with a clear focus on standing up for Canadians, standing up to Donald Trump, standing up to the forces of populism and chaos around the world,” Trudeau told reporters in Windsor, Ontario.
A recent poll put the Liberals at 32.3 percent support and the Conservatives at 32.1 percent. The left-leaning New Democrats of Jagmeet Singh, the most obvious choice of partner for a Liberal minority government, were at 19.2 percent.
Singh wants more spending on social programs and higher taxes on the wealthy. Scheer called on Canadians to give him a majority, saying the alternative was a coalition between the Liberals and New Democrats that would generate massive budget deficits.