Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was asked last week whether or not he planned to call a federal election in the coming months.
His answer neither confirmed nor denied the speculation-but actions by players on each side suggest something is brewing behind the scenes. Just looking at the local political picture, just last week two candidates declared their intentions to run in the next federal election. That brings that total count up to three for the 44th federal election, which as it stands right now is scheduled to take place in October-of 2023.
The smart money is starting to suggest Canadians may well be headed back to the polls in October, though 2021 is starting to sound a lot more likelier than 2023.
Canada’s Senate adjourned for summer break just before Canada Day (must be nice) and many political analysts are suggesting an election will be called before Parliament resumes in late September. Much debate has been held over whether or not the country should have an election in the middle of a pandemic-so much so that Bill C-19 was developed that outlined proposed amendments to the Canada Elections Act in order to make the voting process more COVID-19 friendly. Political tactics on both sides of the floor have prevented the bill from passing but the good news is if COVID-19 numbers keep headed in their current direction, the bill won’t be necessary.
Speaking of improving COVID-19 numbers, those same numbers may well be a driving force behind the sudden push for an election. The Liberals will certainly want to boast about Canada’s high vaccine rate and dropping case counts. From undecided voters it’s often a ‘what have you done for me lately’ mentality that factors in who they ultimate mark an ‘X’ for and a return to a sense of normalcy this summer could leave a good impression. It would be a stark contrast to the winter months when Canadians looked across the border with envy as Americans were rolling up their sleeves for a second dose while up north there were nothing but delays in shipments. It also doesn’t hurt that the Liberals have polled steadily throughout 2021, hovering tantalizing close to the magic ‘majority’ mark. CBC’s political poll analyst Eric Grenier has the Liberals with a 46 per cent chance of winning a majority, 43 per cent chance of winning another minority while place the Conservative’s chances at winning the most seats at 10 per cent.
The catch in all this is that the current minority government means the Liberals can’t just call an election at the drop of a hat. They’d need support from someone across the aisle and that’s unlikely to come unless their opponent saw a benefit. The Conservatives or NDP aren’t in a hurry to help Trudeau to another majority.
In the meantime we Canadians can expect a summer of unofficial campaigning by party leaders and local candidates. They’ll be work shopping their ideas, trying to get a feel or what might swing votes their way. Probably not what most of us were looking for this summer, but perhaps there a small token of solace to be taken from it. Politicians campaigning is just another sign that we’re moving back to the way this were-whether we like it or not.