- Polls show Trudeau's lead over Harper shrinking slightly
- Monday election result may hinge on seats around largest city
Justin Trudeau, who polls suggest is on pace to replace Prime Minister Stephen Harper, is appearing in Mississauga, Brampton, Richmond Hill and Markham on Friday -- all populous districts around Toronto where Liberal losses four years ago helped deliver a majority for the incumbent Conservatives.
The region is again a battleground, with Harper set to appear Saturday at a rally with Toronto’s controversial former mayor, Rob Ford, who admitted to smoking crack cocaine before leaving office. Votes in the city and its suburbs are particularly critical as a pair of polls show Trudeau’s lead narrowing slightly.
“We have made a straightforward choice. We think the Canadian economy -- and the people of Toronto specifically -- need investments,” the Liberal leader said, citing his platform of infrastructure spending and a middle class tax cut. “We have made very different choices from Mr. Mulcair and Mr. Harper when it comes to investing in Canada.”
Both Harper and NDP Leader Tom Mulcair are promising balanced budgets, while Trudeau has said he’d run three years of deficits to kick-start Canada’s economy.
A daily tracking poll released Friday by Nanos Research showed Trudeau’s Liberals with 36.5 percent support nationally, down slightly for a day earlier. The Conservatives were at 30.6 percent and the New Democratic Party was at 23.5 percent. Nanos also found the race tightening in Ontario, which contains 121 of the 338 seats in Canada’s legislature and where the Liberals hold a 10-point lead.
Ekos Research, meanwhile, found a “marginally significant” narrowing of the Liberal lead in a poll published Thursday. The Liberals stood at 33.5 percent, followed by the Conservatives at 32.6 percent and the NDP at 22.9 percent, the survey found. It also saw a tightening of the Liberal lead in Ontario.
Harper began Friday in Quebec City before heading to the eastern province of New Brunswick. Mulcair, who began the race as a front-runner but has slid to third, was campaigning in Quebec and Alberta.