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Trudeau’s Liberals take early lead after first Canadian polls shut


OTTAWA (Reuters) – Canada’s ruling Liberals took an early lead after polls closed in 4 provinces on Monday, as Prime Minister Justin Trudeau battled to stay in energy after two main scandals and a spirited problem by the opposition Conservatives.

The Liberals had been main or elected in 25 of 32 electoral districts in Atlantic Canada by 8:30 p.m. EDT (0030 GMT on Tuesday) regardless of a drop of their total common vote from the 2015 election, in accordance with the Canadian Broadcasting Corp.

Some Liberal losses had been anticipated within the area after Trudeau led the occasion to a clear sweep there 4 years in the past. Atlantic Canada makes up lower than 10% of the seats within the Home of Commons.

The nationwide race was anticipated to be nearer as Trudeau, who took energy as a charismatic determine promising “sunny ways,” battles Conservative chief Andrew Scheer for the possibility to type the following authorities.

Polls shut within the vote-rich provinces of Ontario and Quebec at 9:30 p.m. EDT (0130 GMT on Tuesday). Nationwide voting is scheduled to finish within the Pacific Coast province of British Columbia at 10 p.m. EDT (0200 GMT on Tuesday)

Trudeau, 47, the Liberal Social gathering chief, was endorsed by former U.S. President Barack Obama within the last stretch of the marketing campaign and is considered as one of many final remaining progressive leaders among the many world’s main democracies.

However he was shaken in the course of the marketing campaign by a blackface scandal and has been dogged by criticism of his dealing with of a corruption case involving a significant Canadian building firm. Trudeau, the son of the late Liberal Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau, has additionally needed to overcome a way of fatigue together with his authorities.

Trudeau, accompanied by his household, voted in Montreal on Monday after a marathon dash campaigning throughout the nation previously 4 days. Scheer voted in his Saskatchewan electoral district.

On Twitter, he repeatedly urged folks to get out and vote. Voter turnout is essential for the Liberals, who privately worry low engagement will have an effect on them greater than the Conservatives.

“The truth is it’s a coin toss right now,” Ipsos pollster Darrell Bricker mentioned.

A yr in the past, nobody would have predicted that Trudeau risked turning into the primary prime minister because the 1930s to safe a parliamentary majority after which fail to win a second time period.

The most recent opinion polls counsel he could narrowly avert that end result and will win a minority within the 338-seat Home of Commons. That may nonetheless go away him in a weakened place and needing the help of left-leaning opposition events to push by key items of laws.

“(A minority government) would force people to talk to each other, which is what we need,” mentioned Naomi Higgins, a 25-year-old voter in Toronto who supported the Liberals 4 years in the past however switched to the Greens on this election. “We need to … start doing what’s best for everyone instead of what makes one party or the other look best.”

Liberal marketing campaign strategists say 4 members of Trudeau’s Cupboard may lose their parliamentary seats, together with Public Security Minister Ralph Goodale, a veteran member of parliament who’s seen as one of many authorities’s heavyweights.

Goodale, 70, is the one Liberal member of parliament from the western province of Saskatchewan, the place anger at Trudeau is mounting over federal environmental insurance policies that the vitality business says will hurt output.

The oil business’s high lobbying group has blamed Trudeau’s insurance policies for throttling funding within the sector, and a few international vitality corporations have shed property within the oil sands area of Alberta, the nation’s primary oil-producing province.

Liberal chief and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, accompanied by his spouse Sophie Gregoire Trudeau, their sons Xavier and Hadrien, and their daughter Ella-Grace, votes within the federal election in Montreal, Quebec, Canada October 21, 2019. REUTERS/Stephane Mahe

Canada’s economic system, nonetheless, has been on a basic upswing in 2019. The Canadian greenback has been the best-performing G10 foreign money this yr, rising greater than 4% in opposition to its U.S. counterpart, because the economic system added jobs at a sturdy tempo and inflation stayed closed to the Financial institution of Canada’s 2% goal.

BUMPY CAMPAIGN RIDE

The six-week official marketing campaign interval has been a tough and meandering journey with soiled ways on each side.

The liberal picture of Trudeau, who has championed range as prime minister and whose father opened the nation to mass immigration, took a extreme blow when footage emerged early within the marketing campaign of him sporting blackface within the early 1990s and in 2001.

Trudeau had already been wrestling with the fallout from accusations he pressured his justice minister to assist defend engineering agency SNC-Lavalin Group Inc from corruption expenses. In August, a high watchdog mentioned Trudeau breached ethics guidelines.

Scheer additionally has confirmed to be a decided opponent.

“He can’t even remember how many times he put blackface on, because the fact of the matter is he’s always wearing a mask,” Scheer mentioned throughout a leaders’ debate. “Mr. Trudeau, you are a phony and you are a fraud and you do not deserve to govern this country.”

Scheer, 40, can be promising to steadiness the federal price range and get rid of a “carbon tax” on fossil fuels. He’s operating his first marketing campaign as occasion chief after successful a bitter management battle in 2017.

Given the truth that neither of the front-runners may come away with a parliamentary majority, it’s the smaller left-leaning New Democratic Social gathering (NDP) or the separatist Bloc Quebecois that might find yourself holding the steadiness of energy.

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“I am a lifelong Liberal voter and I am stumped on this one, mostly because I am really concerned about a Conservative win and just trying to figure out how to vote strategically,” mentioned Kristin Road, 33, a technique supervisor at a pc video games firm, in Port Moody, British Columbia.

EKOS Analysis pollster Frank Graves mentioned the Liberals wanted turnout to be just like 4 years in the past or in any other case the Conservatives could have an edge.

“We may well be waiting until the final vote tallies in British Columbia to see who will win on Monday,” Graves mentioned.

Reporting by David Ljunggren and Kelsey Johnson in Ottawa; ASteve Scherer in Ottawa and Jeff Lewis in Calgary, Alberta; Further reporting by Steve Scherer in Ottawa, Jeff Lewis in Calgary, Alberta, Allison Martell, Moira Warburton and Fergal Smith in Toronto; Writing by Steve Scherer and Paul Simao; Modifying by Amran Abocar and Peter Cooney



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