CANADA – Canadians will head to the polls Monday, Sept. 20 for the 44th federal election.
In the morning hours of Sunday, Aug. 15, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau headed to Rideau Hall to request the dissolution of government from Gov. Gen. Mary Simon. Approval from Simon triggered the issue of election writs, giving Canadians 36 days before they will cast their vote; the shortest period allowed by Canadian law for an election campaign.
Having just won a minority government in 2019, the next federal election should have taken place in October, 2023, but in a speech outside Rideau Hall on Sunday morning, Trudeau said due to the pandemic, much of what his government wants to do going forward are items the Liberal party did not campaign on, and Canadians deserve the choice to decide what they want going forward. In the most basic terms, the Trudeau Liberals are looking to create a largely new mandate, and are likely gambling on a majority win to accomplish the task.
Accused of being “tyrannical” by other party back-benchers, Trudeau responded Sunday by saying “the answer to tyranny is to have an election.”
“It’s been a big couple of years,” said Trudeau. “The last 17 months have been like nothing we’ve ever experienced, and we’re all wondering what the next 17 months, not to mention the next 17 years will hold. “
The move to call an election has been condemned by the other parties, all citing a lack of need, and pointing to the current crisis in Afghanistan as warranting the focus of the Canadian government, not an election.
During a campaign, the federal government goes into a maintenance only roll, where big decisions cannot be made until the new government is formed.
Polls show the Liberal party in the lead with just over 33 per cent, with the Conservatives trailing with just north of 28 per cent. The NDP is sitting just above 20 per cent.
Currently in the House of Commons, the Liberal party holds 155 seats, Conservatives 119, Bloc Quebecois 32, NDP 24, the Green party holds two, and five seats are held by independents. To be a majority government, a party would have to hold 170 or more seats.
In our local riding of New Brunswick Southwest, Conservative John Williamson is the current Member of Parliament, and will be vying to hold the title in the Sept. 20 election. The Liberals are putting forward a new face with Jason Hickey, John Reist will stand for the Green Party, and Meryl Sarty will once again put his hat in the ring for the People’s Party of Canada. The NDP have a potential candidate, but had not made a formal announcement at press time.
“This is a really important moment in Canada’s history,” said Trudeau.
From Conservative leader Erin O’Toole came promises of 1 million new jobs, new medical contracts for the Canadian manufacturing sector, and a balanced budget.
NDP leader Jagmeet Singh reminded Canadians the Liberal government hasn’t provided its plan to recapture funds spent on COVID relief programs, and the NDP proposes a tax on the ultra-rich rather than the tax hikes or financial claw backs he believes the Liberal party has in store for Canadians.
Green party leader Annamie Paul pushed the party’s green agenda, reminding Canadians that the green sector will be the new economic boost in the coming years, and will be the source of new jobs for Canadians.
Watch the Courier for ongoing election coverage.