JUSTIN Trudeau’s decision to call a snap election could spell his downfall, experts have said.
Having lost his commanding majority in the 2019 federal election, the Liberal Prime Minister framed the September 20 polling day as a chance for Canadians to decide who will lead them at a critical moment in the pandemic.
However, recent polling suggests that the Conservative Party of Canada (CPC) has now overtaken the Liberal Party in the eyes of voters.
It means Trudeau could have signed his own resignation warrant, according to some experts.
“The consensus among commentators is that the election was motivated by the desire to win a majority,” Professor Max Cameron of UBC told Redaction Report.
“It was a gamble, and so far it appears that Trudeau miscalculated.
“The Liberal campaign has struggled to define the race and justify the decision to drop the writ now.
“It looked at first like the Liberals had a big advantage in the polls but that appears to have vanished.”
Though it has played catch-up to other developed nations on vaccine distribution, recent figures show almost three-quarters of Canadian adults have received at least one jab.
With cases and hospitalisations down – so much that the British government moved Canada to its ‘Green List’ for travel – Trudeau had hoped to ride a wave of vaccine-inspired optimism and gain the 15 seats he needed for a majority.
Instead, however, he could be knocked back into opposition.
It wasn’t a decision necessarily based on pride or ego, however, but tradition, according to Professor Kathryn Harrison.
“It is common in Canadian politics for the leader of a minority government to seek an election after about two years in hopes of winning a majority,” she told Redaction Report.
“They’ve typically been successful in doing that, including Justin Trudeau’s own father.
“That said, it’s a trade-off between winning support by passing some popular measures quickly and voters’ invariable complaints about another election too soon.
“It’s also the case that it’s challenging for the party in government running on recent legislative accomplishments to make the case that they need a majority for Parliament to work.”
The timing may have been all wrong, however. Canada may be recovering from the pandemic and its subsequent knock-on effects, but it is also on the cusp of a fourth wave – something Conservative leader Erin O’Toole brought up in last week’s debate in Quebec.
“Unless he can win a majority, I think Trudeau may have done himself in.”Professor Max Cameron, UBC
But as Trudeau relies on the debates to wrestle back the lead, the end could be in sight.
“Unless he can win a majority, I think Trudeau may have done himself in,” Professor Cameron concluded.
“If he is returned with the same or fewer seats, there will be questions about his leadership for sure.”
The outcome was even more defined for Professor Richard Johnston, also of UBC, if Trudeau underperforms expectations.
He told Redaction Report: “I think he would be finished.”
You can also keep up with our video content on YouTube.
Redaction cannot survive without your help. Support us for as little as $1 a month on Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/RedactionPolitics.