Liberal leader Justin Trudeau took a risky political gamble, triggering a snap election during the fourth wave of the pandemic in pursuit of a new majority mandate.
But late in the evening on election day, it was speculated that the Liberals would form another minority government.
Mr Trudeau, who won a strong majority in 2015, was reduced to a minority government in 2019. A majority was expected in this election based on the handling of the pandemic by his government. Liberals also hoped to capitalize on Conservative leader Erin O’Toole’s failure to gain traction with voters early in the campaign.
On 15 August, when Trudeau met with Governor-General Mary Simon to start the election, Kabul fell to the Taliban. The timing invited questions about whether the federal government would be able to focus on the deteriorating situation in Afghanistan while in caretaker mode during the election. (At the time, Mr Trudeau said he was regularly briefed on the matter, and that Ottawa was committed to bringing Afghans to Canada.)
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Peter Donolo, vice president of Hill+Nalton Strategies Canada and a top lieutenant to former prime minister Jean Chrétien, said Mr Trudeau never articulated a compelling reason for an early election. Mr Donolo said the real reason the election was called was because Mr Trudeau thought he could win a majority.
The question of election timing has never gone away, as it has become a distillation of many criticisms of liberals, Mr Donolo said.
“Canadians are still vulnerable to the pandemic and its effects on their lives,” Mr Donolo said.
“They want the government to rule. The inconsistency of an election campaign, while they were still struggling to get their lives back to normal, was for them a daily reminder of the separation between liberals and their own reality. “
When a reporter asked Trudeau at the end of the campaign if this was his last election, the Liberal leader responded by saying that he was not going to engage in speculation, but to work more on key issues such as child care. need to. Accommodation. He added that he is “nowhere near yet.”
With the Liberals failing to win a majority, Mr Trudeau’s leadership could be questioned. Other potential leadership aspirants – such as Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland, Innovation Minister François Philippe Champagne and former Bank of Canada and Bank of England governor Mark Carney – await his retirement.
Trudeau’s former principal secretary, Gerald Butts, told CBC News that he sees no reason for Trudeau to resign because of his inability to call an election and win a majority.
He said, “I think the farthest thing that Justin Trudeau will have in his mind right now is to retire from politics…
Former Liberal Party whip Andrew Leslie said in an interview before Monday’s vote that there will be consequences for him within the caucus and the party if Trudeau does not secure a majority.
“The prime minister called this election during a pandemic, and yet several months ago he said he would never do it. So now that he has called an election during a pandemic that has cost the country $600 million, I wonder what the prime minister is going to think if the results are not what he promised his party? said Mr Leslie, who did not run in the 2019 election.
Polster Nick Nanos, founder and chief data scientist at Nanos Research, said Mr Trudeau could not survive as leader under a conservative minority government. But, he said, the Liberal leader’s political capital and brand would be diminished regardless of the outcome of the election.
Mr Trudeau’s decision to send Canadians to the polls was heavily criticized by other parties, who called it unnecessary and selfish amid growing concerns about the delta version of the coronavirus in Canada. Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam confirmed in August that the country was in the fourth wave of the pandemic.
Mr Trudeau defended his decision to speed up the election, saying Canadians need a chance to choose how to end the fight against COVID-19, and how to “build better” while recovering from the pandemic to be done.
The Liberal leader tried to convince Canadians that they needed a new mandate to deal with the pandemic and the impending economic challenges. He accused the opposition parties of making laws.
On his last day of campaigning, Mr Trudeau attacked the premiers of Alberta and Saskatchewan for backtracking on their earlier decisions to loosen COVID-19 restrictions amid a surge in infections, and warned the nation that Mr. Were not serious about facing the toll. Epidemic.
Mr Donolo said the “anti-vax mobs” present in this election, as well as Alberta Premier Jason Kenney’s abrupt reversal of his government’s loose pandemic approach, would have helped liberals under any circumstances. But, he said, these things were made even more helpful by Mr O’Toole’s refusal to ensure his candidates were vaccinated, which turned into a symbol of the Conservative leader’s “overall weakness” on the vaccine file.
During the 36-day campaign, Mr Trudeau repeatedly criticized Mr O’Toole that all Conservative candidates should be vaccinated, and for not supporting the Liberal government’s promises such as travel on planes, trains and cruise ships. Activities require vaccination. Mr O’Toole said he instead supported the use of rapid COVID-19 tests.
The Liberal leader also highlighted her party’s key promises, including $10 a day child care and action on climate change. And he took pains to remind voters of the Liberal record on the pandemic response, including the government’s decisions to create an economic aid program to help unemployed Canadians and small businesses.
Another defining factor for the Liberal campaign was COVID-19 security. Mr Trudeau’s team tried to organize as many campaign events outside as possible to reduce the risk of spreading the virus. But holding the event outside posed security challenges, as Mr Trudeau was repeatedly forced to stop angry protesters.