Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is calling for an election on September 20, hoping that his Liberal Party can retake a majority in the country’s parliament. Trudeau lost his majority in the 2019 election, meaning he needs the help of other parties to pass legislation.
Trudeau’s liberal party has a mid 30% range of support, according to Bloomberg – enough for them to regain control of the House of Commons. Trudeau is tasked with winning over important votes in suburban areas surrounding Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver, the report says.
On Sunday, Trudeau said at a news conference: “The decisions your government makes right now will define the future your kids and grandkids grow up in. Canadians need to choose how we finish the fight against Covid-19 and build back better.”
He will try to being in votes by using his pandemic track record as a selling point and by positioning himself as a “steady hand” that will keep fighting the pandemic.
The 36 day window for the election is the shortest allowed by Canadian law. Nikita Nanos, chief data scientist and founder at Nanos Research, a polling firm, told FT: “The reality is that Canadians are just getting their first break from the pandemic.” While that may seem like an opportune time for Trudeau to push people to the ballot box (or the mail in ballot, of which “millions” are expected), the decision is still a gamble.
Nanos continued: “Now they’re starting to think about, what does it mean to go back to work? What does it mean for the kids to go back to school? And as a result, there’s just not a lot of enthusiasm for an election at this particular point in time.”
“Forward. For Everyone.” is the slogan the liberal party began using on social media Saturday.
About 50% of Canadians have said Trudeau has done a good job managing the pandemic thus far. About 23% of the country says he has done a poor job and about 26% of the country is neutral.
Almost 75% of Canadians have said their personal finances are “better or no worse” than they were two years ago, the poll showed.
Liberals have 155 seats in parliament, 15 shy of the 170 threshold.
Trudeau has proclaimed this election has the “most momentous since the end of World War II”, Bloomberg noted. He says the world has “changed considerably” since 2019, the report says, and he continues to pitch the pandemic as a continuing threat – a move we’re likely to see liberal leaders in the U.S. try to rely on for as many elections to come as the voters allow them.