Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau triggered an election Sunday as he seeks to capitalize on Canada being one of the most vaccinated countries in the world.
Trudeau announced that the elections would take place on September 20 after visiting the governor general, who holds a mostly ceremonial post representing Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II as head of state.
“We support you and now is the time to hear your voice,” Trudeau said. “Canadians must choose how we end the fight against COVID-19.”
Trudeau seeks to win the majority of seats in Parliament. His Liberal Party did not achieve that two years ago and must rely on the opposition to pass the legislation.
The choice comes as Canada is experiencing a new wave of COVID-19 cases, fueled by the delta variant of the coronavirus. Trudeau called it “the fourth wave among unvaccinated people.”
Trudeau is not as popular as he once was, but his government’s handling of the pandemic has been widely viewed as a success. After a slow start, Canada now has enough vaccines for all citizens. More than 71% of eligible Canadians are fully vaccinated and more than 82% have received at least one dose. The government has spent billions to prop up the economy amid lockdowns that have now been lifted.
But if the result is another minority government, “the knives will start to come out,” said Robert Bothwell, professor of Canadian history and international relations at the University of Toronto.
“Trudeau is not to everyone’s liking. He’s what the Liberals have, so they’ll stay behind him, but if he loses, he’s fried, ”Bothwell said.
“Not that it is unpopular, but there is no affection there. Liberals behave as if he is this beloved figure, but he is not. The novelty is gone. But there is still enough and the performance in COVID was pretty strong, so I think people will balance these things before the election and vote for Trudeau. “
Trudeau, son of the late Liberal Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau, became the second-youngest prime minister in Canadian history when he was first elected with a majority of seats in Parliament in 2015. The Liberal’s victory ended almost 10 years of Conservative Party rule in Canada, but scandals combined with high expectations have damaged Trudeau’s position.
His father served as prime minister from 1968 to 1984 with a brief hiatus.
The leader of the leftist opposition New Democratic Party, Jagmeet Singh, said it is “selfish” for Trudeau to call elections in a pandemic. Ontario, Canada’s largest province, reported more than 500 cases for the fourth day in a row.
Conservative opposition leader Erin O’Toole did not respond when asked whether her candidates should or should be vaccinated. He said he’s disappointed that Trudeau is trying to divide people over his health.
“Liberals will keep beating conservatives on this and it will happen when the fourth wave of the pandemic is gathering steam,” said Nelson Wiseman, professor of political science at the University of Toronto. “The fourth wave could hurt the liberals if the blockades are reimposed.”
Wiseman said many Canadians will resent having elections they consider unnecessary, but said Liberals will win the most seats.
“Trudeau is considered to have administered vaccines and there has been broad support for government income and employment support programs to counter the economic consequences of COVID,” Wiseman said.
“Canadians compare their situation to that of the US The current peak in the US contributes to conceited complacency among Canadians. This sentiment benefits liberals today. “
Trudeau began his press conference on Sunday talking about the Taliban’s takeover of Afghanistan. Canada closed its embassy in Kabul and staff have fled the country. “The current situation poses serious challenges to our ability to ensure the safety and security of our mission,” Trudeau said.
Canada has pledged to host 20,000 refugees from the country and Afghans who have assisted Canada over the years.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism