BURNABY, B.C. — NDP Leader Tom Mulcair isn’t having any talk of second or third place, insisting that after Canadians visit the ballot box Monday, he’ll be on his way to 24 Sussex Drive.
He campaigned in Burnaby, B.C., as he made his way to Vancouver for a rally later Saturday, Mulcair was asked repeatedly about what the NDP strategy would be if his party is unable to form a government.
He insisted — as he has done from the outset — that his sole focus was to defeat the Conservatives.
“My job as leader of the New Democratic Party of Canada, is to take on Stephen Harper, to defeat him on Monday, Oct. 19, and replace him with an NDP government,” Mulcair said.
“That’s my only priority between now and Monday.”
The Conservatives have been lining up newspaper endorsements across with the Postmedia group being the latest to advocate for Stephen Harper’s return to power.
The Ottawa Citizen became the latest of the network’s publications to endorse the Conservatives in a Friday editorial, joining the Edmonton Journal, The Province, the Saskatoon StarPhoenix, and at least five other papers.
Separately the Toronto Sun has also given the thumbs up, along with the Globe and Mail, which endorsed the Conservatives, but not Harper.
“What a surprise! I’m shocked!” Mulcair joked on Saturday.
“What I do know is this: The same papers and the same pundits and the same observers and the same pollsters have been trying to spin the same story for far too long.”
Referring to some of Postmedia’s ownership and the Conservatives, Mulcair said: “I know they have their connections. I want the people in this riding to have their connection with an NDP government. We’ll be their connection to power and to good decisions for them and their families in Ottawa.”
He also repeated his message that the election remains a three-way race, and Canadian voters fed up with being forced to choose between either the Liberals and the Conservatives has another choice this time around.
“This time there is a three-way race; this time there is hope,” Mulcair said. “This time we will put in an NDP government.”
Mulcair was also asked how long he thought would be appropriate for whichever party does achieve a plurality of seats Monday to wait before meeting Parliament.
He said the winner — him, of course — would have an obligation to do so “very rapidly.”
Given that both the NDP and the Liberals have made it clear they would not support a Harper government, speculation has been rampant that a Conservative minority win would likely mean a long delay before the House of Commons resumed.
The resignation of Liberal campaign co-chair Dan Gagnier over advice he was giving to TransCanada Pipeline over the Energy East project continued to provide fodder for the NDP.
“The fox is trying to get back into the hen house,” Mulcair told his audience.
“The Liberals are convinced if they wait long enough they can hide the fact that the gang that brought you the sponsorship scandal is right back in the war room, right back on the campaign bus, right back in the campaign plane sitting right beside Justin Trudeau.”
Murray Brewster, The Canadian Press