Newly elected Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole delivers his winning speech following the Conservative party of Canada 2020 Leadership Election in Ottawa on Aug. 24. (Canadian Press photo)

Whispers of elections on the wind

Carolyn Grant is editor of the Kimberley Bulletin

The chattering politicos are whispering, and the sound on the wind is…. election.

I know!

We just had a federal election last fall, yet with Prime Minister Trudeau’s move to prorogue Parliament and ‘reset’, he is taking a risk that his government could fall. In fact, to hear Trudeau tell it, he would welcome an opportunity for a confidence vote, which is… shall we say risky?

He says the prorogation of Parliament is very different than when Stephen Harper and the Conservatives did the same. They prorogued Parliament to shut it down, and avoid a confidence vote, Trudeau says. His government is doing it to force a confidence vote.

The fact that proroguing Parliament also shuts down all the Parliamentary committees investigating him on ethics charges is just a happy coincidence, I guess.

Trudeau does make some good points in that his government does need to lay out a new vision for the way forward, because the throne speech delivered eight months ago did not anticipate the COVID crisis and all the accompanying deficit spending.

It’s quite tricky. He has a new finance minister, Chrystia Freeland, who is pretty much the Minister of Everything. This doesn’t give her a lot of time to prepare a new financial vision.

On the other hand, the Conservatives just got their leader in place yet after the world’s longest leadership race. So new leader Erin O’Toole will have to hit the ground running.

And who wants to be the party responsible for triggering an election during a pandemic, especially if a predicted second wave does arrive this fall? Trudeau may be banking on that.

O’Toole has said that he and his party would topple Trudeau at the “right time”, but fall may not be it. But if Trudeau keeps wavcing the flag in his face, daring him to bring his government down, how will he respond?

Apparently the Bloc Quebecois will try to take the opportunity to topple the Liberals. But they don’t necessarily have the votes to do it on their own. It very much depends on what the Liberals come up with in the Throne Speech. Stay tuned.

The other potential for an election is right here at home in British Columbia.

Many opposition MLAs are pretty sure Premier John Horgan will call one this fall. Rumour has it they are quietly nominating candidates in all ridings.

The next election doesn’t have to be called until October 2021, but Horgan may want to take advantage of pretty stellar approval ratings, and get a majority, rather than carrying on with his agreement with the Green Party. Especially now that Andrew Weaver is no longer the Green Leader.

According to the Insights West poll in July 2020, 68 per cent of respondents approved of the work Horgan is doing, up 17 points from the last poll. Support for the B.C. NDP has risen to 47 per cent, an increase of 12 points.

In the same poll the BC Liberals support is down to 29 per cent.

Based on those numbers, and other polls, Horgan could very well sit with a massive majority after a fall election.

It may be a temptation Premier Horgan cannot turn down.

However, he would be triggering an election during a pandemic, and could face the same backlash whoever triggers the federal election is risking.

It’s a big risk all round. Especially for voters.

Carolyn Grant is editor of the Kimberley Bulletin.

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