OTTAWA (Reuters) – The leader of Canada’s opposition Liberals said on Wednesday that he is “unequivocally opposed” to forming a coalition government with the left-leaning New Democratic Party following an election set for October.
Recent polls show a tight race between the governing Conservatives and Liberals in the run-up to the election, opening the possibility of a minority government that would need support from opposition politicians to stay in power.
NDP leader Tom Mulcair has previously urged the centrist Liberals to consider a coalition to defeat Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s right-leaning government, which has been in power since 2006. The Conservatives won a majority of seats in the Canadian Parliament following the last election in 2011.
Trudeau made his latest comments after he was asked in an interview on Tuesday with the Canadian Press whether he would consider a coalition if Mulcair was not leading the New Democrats. The article quoted Trudeau as saying he did not want to get into hypotheses but that he replied “maybe, but maybe not.”
The Liberal leader told a news conference on Wednesday that he was not interested in a coalition.
“What I said during that interview, what I’ve said for the past three years, is that I’m unequivocally opposed to any sort of coalition,” Trudeau told reporters in Halifax. “I trust Canadians’ capacity to determine who will sit in their Parliament and let parliamentarians serve them in the best way that they can.”
(Reporting By Mike De Souza; Editing by Jeffrey Hodgson and Cynthia Osterman)