Will Trudeau gamble on a 2021 election?


in Canada, Politics, The environment

For weeks, the press has been full of reports about a potential election, with the Trudeau Liberals potentially hoping to replace the 147 seat minority which he won in the 2019 election with another majority like in 2015.

Speculation has reached the point that a prominent potential Liberal candidate has told the media that he won’t be running this time because of other commitments.

There is a common view that the ongoing implosion of the Green Party may be part of the rationale for going to the polls.

Presumably, Trudeau’s team at the Prime Minister’s Office has encouraging interal voter models, since they have allowed widespread speculation on an election and encouraged it with the traditional statements that the current Parliament isn’t working. Nonetheless, it may be a risky prospect. A Nanos poll found that only 26% of Canadians want an election. Furthermore, there is good cause to worry about another big new wave of COVID cases as protective restrictions are scaled back, people change their behaviour, and variants continue to spread within populations around the world where far too many people have refused vaccinations in the places where they are available. That could leave the government punished on both sides, first from those who support strong public health policies and feel let down by the government’s willingness to contain the pandemic, and also from the mega-libertarian crowd who have hated the precautions which have been taken and will rage if they are reimposed.

From a climate change perspective, it’s hard to know what to hope for. The Liberal government’s climate change policies have been deeply inadequate and sometimes counterproductive (insisting that fossil fuel development can continue, building long-lived infrastructure to that effect, refusing to set targets that are within the time period where the government will be accountable and which are compatible with a 1.5–2.0 ˚C limit and Canada’s fair share). The Conservatives would clearly be worse, as a central part of their pitch is dismantling the carbon pricing system which has been the Liberals’ main contribution with some notion of wooly support for technological development, The NDP and Greens might theoretically be better but (a) they can’t win given first-past-the-post and the preferences of Canadians and (b) it’s not clear their climate change policies would be better. The NDP has been perhaps the most inconsistent party, torn both by anti-environmentalist union sentiment and the party’s hope of replacing the Liberals on the centre-left, making them chiefly critics of that party. The Greens have far too little support to plausibly form a government, and tend to be riven anyway by campaigns to posture for moral purity. Ironically — at a time when people are opening up to the idea that climate change is the defining challenge of our time — the focus of the Greens is elsewhere.

Perhaps the best outcome would be an election that produces little change: a similar seat count, another Liberal minority, and a continued need to cooperate with other parties to stay in power. There is a case that a majority would let them act more boldly on climate, but I would say there is a stronger case that having to maintain support from other parties pushes them to do more than their status quo backers in the finance and resource industries would prefer.


{ 24 comments… read them below or add one }

. July 21, 2021 at 12:48 pm

If Justin Trudeau doesn’t win a majority in the next election, Jagmeet Singh may be the reason

The Conservatives have offered no clear plan for how they would have handled the pandemic – and will handle the recovery – differently. They are not a party associated with fighting climate change, combating racism or improving Indigenous relations. We do not live in Conservative times.

But Mr. Trudeau is not a terribly popular prime minister. A recent Abacus poll has about an equal number of people saying they have a positive or negative impression of him, and Mr. O’Toole is quite unpopular. The only national party leader with a positive approval rating is Mr. Singh.

All recent polls have the NDP sitting at around 20 per cent, well above the 16 per cent they garnered in the 2019 election. If that number holds, the NDP should pick up seats: in B.C.’s Lower Mainland, in Toronto, elsewhere in Ontario, maybe here and there in the Prairies.

. July 28, 2021 at 3:05 pm

Fall election likely as Trudeau bets big on COVID-19 rebound, reopening: sources – National | Globalnews.ca


anon August 16, 2021 at 2:42 pm

Whatever mistakes Justin Trudeau makes, bigger errors from
his opponents may win him more power. He just
needs to shift the frame from whether his party has handled the pandemic well to whether the cons would notionally handle it worse

. August 17, 2021 at 2:27 pm

However, oil and gas made an early appearance on the second day of the election campaign with the release of the Conservative platform on Monday.

It calls for revamping Bill C-69, the Impact Assessment Act, which industry groups contend will scuttle major new pipelines in the country, and the repeal of Bill C-48, which bans oil tankers off the northern coast of B.C.

According to the document, the Conservatives would over five years earmark $5 billion to programs in areas to advance small modular reactors, electric vehicles and hydrogen developments, with the investment managed by a new Canada Advanced Research Agency based in Calgary.


. August 17, 2021 at 2:27 pm

The party’s plan also calls for implementing a liquefied natural gas export strategy, a hydrogen energy plan, providing a tax credit for CCUS, and pledging to make oil export pipelines a priority.

“We have an energy policy that would ensure we have the ability to get projects completed in this country and get our products to export markets, as opposed to trying to do everything they can to prevent them,” said Conservative candidate Blake Richards, the incumbent who’s running in Banff-Airdrie.

. August 20, 2021 at 2:09 pm

How Justin Trudeau bought himself some peace from Quebec’s culture wars, and what he paid for it

The race in Quebec is about much more than a duel between the Liberals and the Bloc Québécois

. August 20, 2021 at 2:11 pm

Conservative opposition to mandatory vaccinations is ‘irresponsible’ and ‘dangerous,’ says Trudeau

Liberal Leader says Canadians need to re-elect his government to protect the country’s health

. August 26, 2021 at 2:50 pm

Conservatives take lead in popular support, but Liberals would still eke out a diminished minority win today: poll analysis


. August 27, 2021 at 3:26 pm
. August 30, 2021 at 4:41 pm

Canada’s Conservatives make gains weeks ahead of vote, polls show

Surveys show Conservatives with a slim lead over Justin Trudeau’s Liberal Party as Canada readies for September 20 vote.


. September 3, 2021 at 2:00 am

In first leaders debate, Trudeau hints at another election in 18 months if denied majority


. September 3, 2021 at 2:02 am

Most skirted the question or insisted that parties need to “work together” except Trudeau, who threatened that it was possible that Canada be back in an election in 18 months if another minority government is elected on September 20.

During a press conference after the debate, Trudeau specified that he was referring to the notion that 18 months is the average historic lifespan of a minority government in Canada.

“The current minority government is the fifth longest lasting in Canada’s history,” he noted.

. September 12, 2021 at 4:26 am

Liberals bristle at Legault’s suggestion he would prefer a Conservative minority government


. September 12, 2021 at 7:20 am

Cindy Blackstock, executive director of the First Nations Child and Family Caring Society, which filed the original human rights complaint over 14 years ago, says rectifying the Indigenous child-care system was a top call to action from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. Watching the debate in real time Thursday, she says she was “gobsmacked” by Trudeau’s statement.

“These calls to action were the survivors’ priorities for the country, and one of the first things they wanted to see is their grandchildren not suffering like they were, not being taken out of their families unnecessarily like they were,” Blackstock told CTVNews.ca on Friday.

“And for the federal government to falsely claim that they are not litigating against First Nations kids… I’m just so gobsmacked by this.”

Blackstock called Trudeau’s debate remark a “self-inflicted injury,” noting his statement stands at odds with what is on the public record – something The First Nations Caring Society maintains a detailed timeline of on its website


. September 15, 2021 at 10:56 am
. September 17, 2021 at 4:06 am

Paul said that her party does not support vaccine passports but cannot raise that issue at the federal level right now because Parliament has been suspended for the election.

“This is one of these things that, first of all, we should have been in Parliament right now talking about because this is the next phase,” she said.

Paul did not suggest an alternative to vaccine passports but said that creating a panel to work “between levels of government” to craft clear messaging would help people understand the importance of getting vaccinated.

The Green leader said her party does not support mandatory vaccination and does not require its candidates to be vaccinated. Paul said she was not sure how many Green candidates are fully vaccinated.


. September 18, 2021 at 6:05 am
. September 19, 2021 at 5:37 pm

Liberals, Conservatives in two-way race in final polls


. September 19, 2021 at 11:43 pm

Canada Preview: Trudeau’s Liberals Returned, Minority Likely


. September 20, 2021 at 12:14 am



. September 20, 2021 at 12:15 am

Final polls show deadlocked race, but Liberals favoured to win more seats


. September 20, 2021 at 12:16 am

Probability of the Liberals winning a majority

Probability of the Liberals winning the most seats but not a majority

Probability of the Conservatives winning the most seats but not a majority

Probability of the Conservatives winning a majority

. September 20, 2021 at 2:03 pm

Long lineups are forming outside some polling stations across the Greater Toronto Area after the number of voting venues in several Toronto-area ridings were slashed amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Eleven GTA ridings, including the downtown ridings of Toronto Centre, Spadina-Fort York, and University-Rosedale, saw a more than 50 per cent reduction in the number of polling stations this year compared to 2019 and another four GTA ridings have more than 40 per cent fewer polling sites.

In Toronto Centre, which saw the biggest cut, there are just 15 polling stations for election day this year, compared to 91 during the last election.


. September 30, 2021 at 1:09 am

“Thank you, Canada,” Trudeau wrote on Twitter after the vote, “for putting your trust in the Liberal team.” In fact fewer than a third of voters had put their trust in his team. The Liberals had won a plurality in Parliament with a lower share of the popular vote than any other winning party in history. This odd feat of efficiency extends some impressive trends. The Liberal share of popular vote has declined in six of the seven elections since 2004: only Trudeau’s first win, in 2015, saw the party’s share of vote leap upwards, so it could start drifting downward again. The Conservative Party of Canada has won more votes than the Liberals in five of the last six elections. We count seats in Canada, not only votes, so the Conservatives have been out of power since 2015 fair and square. But “trust in the Liberal team” is hardly the only thing going on here.


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