Column like I see 'em - Losers playing politics during a pandemic


By Eoin Devereux

Neepawa Banner & Press

Hey Canada, who’s ready for an unwanted and potentially pointless federal election? Anyone?… Well, too bad, because we’re likely getting one anyway and a lot sooner than any of us might like.

It seems as though all our nation’s political pundits think it’s not a question of if, but rather when the election will formally be called. Many point to it possibly happening right after the federal government tables the 2021 budget on Apr. 19. It’ll be the first official budget issued in over two years and is expected to include a full accounting of the country’s finances amid some historic spending during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s Liberal Party only controls a minority of seats in the House of Commons, which means he needs the support of opposition parties to pass the budget. Not many are all that confident right now that he’ll get it. Some national analysts even go so far as to suggest that the upcoming budget will be “built to fail”, in that it will be sure to contain a few items that the opposition simply cannot support, thus ensuring a snap election.

While it seems increasingly likely that there will be a federal election in Canada some time this year, not many of us really have the stomach for it right now. In a recent Angus Reid Institute poll of just over 5,000 Canadians, 77 per cent of respondents consider a spring election to be too soon. A fall election was much more acceptable, with 67 per cent of those surveyed feeling positive toward casting a ballot as the leaves turn.

The average Canadian, it seems, has no desire for an election right now. So why are we here talking about it like it’s a foregone conclusion? Short answer on that: It’s because according to recent Abacus Data surveys, the Liberals are surging ahead of the Conservatives in the polls. These polls suggest that Team Trudeau are the “clear favourites” to preside over a majority. That type of temptation of power just might provoke them into triggering an election, whether we like it or not.

Whatever impatience the Liberals have with the current minority Parliament is of little concern to most Canadians. All we want  right now is for our government to please focus on the task at hand, returning Canada to some  version of normal. The COVID-19 pandemic is getting worse in some parts of the country and the threat posed by the faster-spreading variants is frightening.

Under those circumstances, an election prior to the summer is not only unnecessary, but irresponsible... So I guess that’ll mean I’m be seeing you all at the voting booths sometime in May... Please wear a mask and don’t cough on the pencils.

Disclaimer: Column like I see ‘em is a monthly opinion piece  for the Neepawa Banner & Press. The views expressed are the writer’s and are not necessarily to be taken as being the view of the Banner & Press.