KINSELLA: Beware of a fall election, Justin Trudeau – Toronto Sun

Author of the article:

Warren Kinsella

Publishing date:

Jul 25, 2021  •  4 hours ago  •  3 minute read  •  140 Comments

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau meets with Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi (not pictured), in Calgary on July 7, 2021.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau meets with Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi (not pictured), in Calgary on July 7, 2021. Photo by REUTERS /Toronto Sun

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Pay attention, Justin Trudeau.

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It’s an election no one wants and no one needs.

But Trudeau is lusting to call one anyway — as early as Aug. 9. How come?

Now, the Liberal leader famously ignores critical mainstream and social media. It’s how he maintains his sunny days ways, among other things.

But, as he travels across Canada, spends money that isn’t his, Trudeau should reflect on a few things. The seeds of a defeat, or a near-defeat, are there. Five reasons.

One, the numbers.  If Trudeau could tear his eyes away from his bathroom mirror, he would see ominous trends. While many pollsters prognosticate that the prime minister is on the cusp of a Parliamentary majority — and his principal opponent, Erin O’Toole, may well lead his party to a distant second place (or worse) — there’s danger ahead.

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As in, Canadians really, really, really don’t want an election now.

Consider the latest Nanos, for example. The polling firm recently found nearly 40% of Canadians are “upset,” quote unquote, at the prospect of an election. That’s a quote: “upset.”

Just over 30% were “unsure” about the need for an election now — not exactly a ringing endorsement — and a mere 26% were OK with the idea.

Two, in yesterday walks today. David Peterson and Jim Prentice, two brilliant and decent Premiers, learned that the hard way.

In 1990, Peterson’s Liberal government was far ahead of its rivals in Ontario.  The Progressive Conservatives were broke, and the leader of the NDP — Bob Rae — was actually on the verge of retiring from politics.  So Peterson called an election less than three years into his mandate — as Trudeau is also now considering.

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He was pummelled and punished for it. Rae’s NDP won a huge majority.

Years later, in Alberta, Jim Prentice — now sadly gone — suffered the same fate. Even after winning the post of Alberta premier in a landslide party vote, and even though he didn’t need to, Prentice called an early election in 2015.

That decision led to the end of the Alberta PC’s 44-year term in government. Rachel Notley’s NDP seized a majority.

Take note of history, Liberals.

The third thing Trudeau should consider is this: the pandemic.

The variants are surging in the United States and Europe.  While vaccines indisputably help prevent more serious illness and death, COVID is still on the march.  And the experts say a fourth wave of infections in the fall is “inevitable.”

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“We know this is going to happen,” said the Toronto General Hospital’s Dr. Isaac Bogoch. “We can’t ignore that.”

But is Trudeau ignoring it? And what if the fourth wave happens in the middle of an election few want, and no one needs?  Trudeau risks a tidal wave of anger — for putting his political livelihood ahead of the lives of millions of Canadians.

Fourth point: Jagmeet Singh.

With the exception of Jack Layton’s extraordinary Orange Crush in 2011 — an electoral phenomenon that propelled Stephen Harper into a majority government — the federal New Democrats tend to be political parking lots. That is, people park their votes with the NDP between elections — and then stampede to the Liberals on voting day.

New Democrat organizers say the enthusiasm for Singh and the social democrat option is real, this time. They are seeing huge turnout at their rallies. And the numbers reflect newfound NDP strength — which is a clear and present danger to Trudeau, in urban battlegrounds across English Canada.

Fifth and finally: having an election now is so, so unnecessary.

The pandemic has transformed Trudeau’s minority government into a majority.  No opposition party dared defeat him in a confidence vote.  So he regularly got his legislative way without very many exceptions.

Be careful, Justin Trudeau. The polls, history, the pandemic, the surging NDP — and the current political reality — all suggest you should wait.

But Trudeau, being Trudeau, won’t.

He doesn’t ever pay attention to the warning signs until it is too late.

— Kinsella was former prime minister Jean Chretien’s Special Assistant

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