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Tight race as leaders ramp up tours in final days of election campaign

Last Updated Oct 15, 2019 at 9:48 am PDT

File photo. (Courtesy Jagmeet Singh/Twitter)

The election campaign is kicking into high gear with less than a week to go before the federal vote

Federal party leaders are adding as many stops as they can in order to squeeze out every possible vote before Oct. 21

The latest polls show the Liberals and Conservatives are still in a dead heat

OTTAWA – We’re well into the home stretch of this election campaign and leaders are ramping up their campaigns in a very tight race.

Instead of one or two stops in a day, leaders are adding as many locations and communities as they can in order to squeeze out every possible vote.

In Fredericton, Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau promised to rescue an abortion clinic that could be closed due to provincial funding cuts.

“We will use all tools at our disposal, including tools that exist under the Canada Health Act,” he said. “Ensure that the New Brunswick government allows access, paid for access, to clinics that offer abortion services.”

Clinic 554, a family practice that also caters to transgender and LGBTQ needs, has become a flashpoint in New Brunswick, where the Progressive Conservative government is refusing to fund surgical abortion procedures at private clinics.

Trudeau appealed to older voters by pitching a re-elected Liberal government as the best way to ensure all Canadians have access to a family doctor. He said his party would also improve access to mental health services and home care for the elderly, and establish a pharmacare program to provide cost-effective access to critical medications.

Trudeau, whose party swept the region in 2015, is widely expected to lose seats this time around, so he’ll spend the day shoring up Liberal support in New Brunswick before closing it out with a rally in Halifax.

He also urged voters to elect a progressive government while in New Brunswick on Tuesday, as talk of a possible coalition grows. The NDP’s Jagmeet Singh first raised the idea before pulling back. In Toronto, he said he doesn’t regret discussing the option.

“Not at all, I’m proud of the fact that I’m ready to fight Conservatives no matter what, and however I can,” Singh said on Tuesday. “The majority of Canadians don’t vote Conservative. The majority of Canadians want a progressive government.”

Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer has been warning against a possible Liberal-NDP coalition. He brings his campaign to Quebec today, where he announced on Tuesday that he would have a meeting with premiers to push for an interprovincial free trade agreement within the first 100 days if he becomes prime minister.

Scheer said that if he were to win the election next week, he will host a meeting of premiers in Ottawa on Jan. 6 to discuss whether provincial laws and regulations that differ from each other are reasonable areas of provincial jurisdiction or are unnecessarily preventing trade.

He said the International Monetary Fund estimates that interprovincial trade barriers cost Canada’s economy as much as $90 billion a year.

The former Conservative government started working with the provinces on the Canadian Free Trade Agreement in 2014, and the negotiations were completed and the agreement came into force under the Liberals in 2017.
Some of the biggest struggles between provinces include acknowledging professional qualifications for workers, and cross-provincial alcohol sales.

Meantime, Green Leader Elizabeth May is talking about her party’s tax plans in Kamloops.

With less than a week to go before election day, the polls are too close to call with the Grits and Tories still tied. This comes after advanced polling saw record turn out over the long weekend — a 25 per cent jump compared to the last federal election in 2015.