By Laura Payton, CBC News
Canada’s federal party leaders are facing questions about their futures as they make a final frantic push for support before Monday’s vote.
What many predicted would be a boring election, with little change in the balance of the House of Commons, took a dramatic turn with polls suggesting a major shift on the opposition side.
Recent polls have shown the NDP overtaking the Liberal Party nationally for second place, and ahead of the Bloc Québécois as front runners in Quebec.
With that change in fortunes come questions about the leaders’ next steps.
Asked whether he’d remain Conservative leader if the party won another minority, Harper says he’d be honoured no matter what mandate voters give him.
“We’re Conservatives. We don’t believe we have an entitlement to govern,” he told Craig Oliver in an interview broadcast Sunday on CTV’s Question Period.
Harper repeated his assertion the other parties will try to form government if the House returns with a minority.
“If we don’t get a Conservative majority, I think there is a high risk Canadians will wind up with some kind of other government. A coalition arrangement between the three parties, not just the NDP and Liberals, but the Bloc Quebecois as well,” he said.
“Sooner rather than later. I think Canadians realize that we’ve had too many elections. We’ve actually got to focus on governing.”
Bloc leader reserves comment
Bloc Québécois Leader Gilles Duceppe wouldn’t talk about his future when asked about his own seat and the NDP’s newfound popularity in Quebec.
“I’m always concerned about results as long as they’re not known. Otherwise it’s a kind of contempt towards the electorate,” Duceppe said at his Montreal campaign office.
“I’ve had very different campaigns during all those years. I commented on them after they were over. Each time. So I won’t change this time,” he said.
With the Liberals seeing historic lows in the NDP public opinion polls Michael Ignatieff faced repeated questions from reporters about whether he’ll continue as party leader.
“This is a democratic party. I’m committing to stay, I’m committing to work, I’m committing to fight. And I’m here to win on the 2nd of May,” he said.
Pushed for a yes or no answer, he gave an emphatic, if exasperated, “Yes.”
“I want to stay, I want to fight, I want to win,” he said.
“In every case, my fate is in the hands of democratic institutions.”
As to whether he wants to continue, given the repeated personal attacks he’s taken from the Conservatives, Ignatieff suggested reporters not talk about him like he’s a victim.
“That’s not what I’ve lived,” Ignatieff said in French. “Don’t forget how inspiring it is to do the work that I do.”
“Sometimes Canadian families have more hope for their country than the political class does … it’s because of that that I would like to continue,” he said.