The scuttlebutt is that, on Sunday, Justin Trudeau will call an election. Tom Walkom writes the plan could backfire:
The Liberal government does not need a new mandate. The old one, as expressed just months ago in the throne speech and budget, is supported by a majority of MPs in the minority Parliament.
Certainly, the government’s minority status has not prevented it from taking bold action against the coronavirus.
Nor has it stopped the government from introducing one of the most significant new social programs in decades — a national child-care system.
With the support of the New Democrats and the Bloc Québécois, the Liberal minority government has spent billions.
The polls, however, say the Liberals have a not insignificant lead. And power attracts politicians as a flame attracts moths. That said, if Trudeau does go to the polls, there are two wild cards in the hand he draws:
In this campaign, the pandemic is the wild card. The Liberal government can argue convincingly that its strategy worked — that its procurement policy produced enough vaccines to inoculate every eligible Canadian.
But all that could go for naught if Canada is hit by another wave of COVID-19.
It will be hard to argue that the government’s pandemic strategy is a success when people are dying from the fourth wave. And if the experts are right, we are on course for that wave, one dominated by the virulent Delta variant of the disease.
The other wild card is Erin O'Toole:
O’Toole is the other wild card. Polls show him well behind Trudeau in popularity. The election call gives him the chance to reverse that.
Many have dismissed O’Toole, arguing that the Conservatives are too badly split to provide him the support he needs.
They forget that the desire to oust the hated Liberals unites Conservatives of all kinds. They also forget that in the last election, even when saddled with unpopular leader Andrew Scheer, the Conservatives came within striking distance of power.
O’Toole has been mocked for pitching to unionized workers. His critics forget that many rank-and-file trade unionists are already small-c conservative and thus open to such blandishments.
I have written that, if there is an election, I will make no predictions. I see no reason to change my position.