Trudeau says Canada may see an election this year
By Jessica Berget, Assistant Editor
If the opposition parties take a vote of non-confidence, then Canadians will have to be ready to hit the polls.
Despite the protests from PM Justin Trudeau saying he is “not eager” about the possibility of a snap election for Canada he says that it could still happen this year. The Liberal government currently holds a minority government in the House of Commons, and this means that they need the support of the opposition parties to govern and the current government can be taken down if the opposition rally against him.
Trudeau had previously avoided questions about a snap election for Canada this year saying one could be “theoretically possible,” but is now saying it is not a vote he wants and that his main priority is dealing with the pandemic and ensuring that everyone is vaccinated against COVID-19. “Our priority as a government is going to be helping people get through this pandemic and I hope the different opposition parties will help us… it’s not in our interests to have an election, people want us to work together to help them,” Trudeau told a Montreal radio station. According to the Canada Poll Tracker, data from aggregated publicly available polls shows that while Liberals are ahead of the Conservative party, they would still fall short of a majority government.
If the opposition parties take a vote of non-confidence, then Canadians will have to be ready to hit the polls. The Conservative, Bloc-Québécois, NDP, and Green parties have been against the Liberal government’s handling of the pandemic but have also supported the pandemic relief agenda, allowing spending bills for individuals, small businesses, and sectors hit hard by lockdowns to pass quickly through parliament. Conservative leader Erin O’Toole has also said he is ready for an election if it comes up, but that it is not his top priority currently—and NDP leader Jagmeet Singh echoes this response.
Before the House of Commons took their winter break, they introduced Bill C-19, which would temporarily allow Elections Canada to make changes to their electoral process. If the legislation passed, the bill would allow the voting to take place over a three-day period and allow votes to be casted by mail while also creating voting centres in long-term care homes.
On January 13 of this year, Trudeau also shuffled members of his cabinet—meaning he switched or moved the composition of ministers in his cabinet which is a committee of senior members who control government policy—and this is a move many argue is foreshadowing a snap election this year. The shuffle was prompted by Liberal MP Navdeep Bains who said he will not be running next year to spend more time with his family.
This would not be the first snap election Canada could face during this pandemic; in October of last year the NDP party called for a provincial snap election which worked in their favour as they were able to secure a majority government.