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Canada Election 2021: Sit Back and Enjoy the Show

A Canadian federal election nobody asked for will take place on Sept. 20.

by | Sep 20, 2021 | Articles, International, Opinion

In what is being described as a federal election nobody asked for, Canadian voters will head to the polls on Sept. 20. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau called a snap election two years ahead of schedule, attempting to attain a majority government after arguing that the House of Commons had become “dysfunctional” and a place of “obstructionism and toxicity.” Will it be a gamble that pays off or will it backfire on the Liberal leader? The 44th election in the Great White North has many potential implications. That said, most polls suggest that nothing much will change following the electoral contest.

GettyImages-1235368621 Justin Trudeau

Justin Trudeau
(Photo by Cole Burston/Getty Images)

The Leaders

Justin Trudeau | Liberal Party of Canada

When Trudeau was first elected to parliament in 2008, it was inevitable that he would head the Grits and eventually become a prime minister, following in the footsteps of his father, Pierre Trudeau. For the third time in six years, the head of the Liberal Party is searching for another mandate from the Canadian people. Despite the myriad of scandals plaguing the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) since forming a government in 2015, he has developed a nickname: Teflon Trudeau.

Erin O’Toole | Conservative Party of Canada

Erin O’Toole has only been the Official Opposition leader for about a year, succeeding Andrew Scheer. O’Toole has played it relatively safe since the election was announced in August and is leaning left on multiple issues. Will he topple the prime minister after a year on the job, or will he fail to add more parliamentary seats? The key could be the possibility of vote-splitting on the right.

Jagmeet Singh | New Democratic Party

Jagmeet Singh was supposed to be one of the hottest names in Canadian politics. A social media-savvy progressive with a penchant for stylish suits and saying all the right things. But when you are competing with a Trudeau, it can be hard to stand out from the crowd. Still, by championing a $20 minimum wage, fighting climate change, and promising to tax the rich, can Singh trigger an Orange Wave as the late Jack Layton achieved for the New Democrats in 2011?

Annamie Paul | Green Party of Canada

The Green Party of Canada has been embroiled in internal strife that has captured more headlines than its policy proposals. Party brass went as far as trying to oust leader Annamie Paul, who replaced Elizabeth May last year. From financial issues to parliamentary floor crossing, the Greens have collapsed in the polls, signaling that this could be Paul’s only stint as the GPC leader in a general election.

Yves-Francois Blanchet | Bloc Quebecois

The Bloc Quebecois will not be forming any type of government, but the federal political party dedicated to Quebec nationalism has been gaining ground in the polls. The reason? A single moment in a recent English leaders’ debate that involved leader Yves-Francois Blanchet. The debate moderator asked why Blanchet supports “discriminatory laws in Quebec,” with the head of the Bloc Quebecois responding, “Those laws are not about discrimination. They are about the values of Quebec.” After the debate, he told reporters that it was “extraordinary” to begin the discussion with “a bunch of insults against Quebecers.” The Bloc will not manufacture even a minority government, but it could hold tremendous power for the next few years.

GettyImages-1235204215 Maxime Bernier

Maxime Bernier
(Photo by Artur Widak/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Maxime Bernier | People’s Party of Canada

The People’s Party of Canada (PPC) has gained tremendous momentum since the last election, thanks to a blend of social media growth and community building. Although restricted from participating in the debates, PPC leader Maxime Bernier has successfully captured headlines for being the only Canadian official slamming the country’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, including lockdowns and vaccine passports. The consensus is that the PPC is rising and could be a significant force in many years to come. It has also seemingly helped “Mad Max” that he talks extensively about liberty, Austrian economics, property rights for First Nations, and monetary policy.

The Polls

In what might be surprising to the prime minister, the polls show a neck-and-neck race between the Grits and the Tories. NDP support could see a boost in its seat count. The Bloc is gaining ground in Quebec, while the PPC is surging in Western Canada. The Green Party could lose a seat come Election Day. Here is a detailed look at the polling data:

Abacus Data | Sept. 15 to Sept. 17

  • Liberals: 33%
  • Conservatives: 32%
  • NDP: 21%
  • Bloc: 6%
  • PPC: 5%
  • Green: 2%

Mainstreet / iPolitics | Sept. 15 to Sept. 17

  • Liberals: 31%
  • Conservatives: 31%
  • NDP: 20%
  • Bloc: 7%
  • PPC: 8%
  • Green: 3%

Nanos / CTV-Globe and Mail | Sept. 15 to Sept. 17

  • Liberals: 31%
  • Conservatives: 29%
  • NDP: 21%
  • Bloc: 6%
  • PPC: 7%
  • Green: 4%

Léger / Postmedia-Journal de Montréal | Sept. 14 to Sept. 17 

  • Liberals: 32%
  • Conservatives: 33%
  • NDP: 19%
  • Bloc: 7%
  • PPC: 6%
  • Green: 2%

EKOS Research | Sept. 14 to Sept. 16

  • Liberals: 30%
  • Conservatives: 31%
  • NDP: 19%
  • Bloc: 7%
  • PPC: 9%
  • Green: 4%

Heading into the fall election, the top issues for Canadians have been the coronavirus, Indigenous issues, the economy, climate change, housing affordability, and childcare. In the end, the results might come down to a few key regions: the Greater Toronto Area, Quebec, and Atlantic Canada (particularly after a Conservative won the premiership in Nova Scotia).

The Narrative on Election Night

It was all for nothing. This could be the pundits’ conclusion on the morning of Sept. 21, should the political situation remain essentially the same. Whatever the result may be, the campaign trail unveiled the many skeletons in each party leader’s closet. The issues plaguing Trudeau (SNC Lavalin scandal and massive debt). The liberal-lite persona of O’Toole and the CPC. The anti-Semitism within the NDP. The Green Party’s inner turmoil, the rest of the country’s view of the Bloc Quebecois, and the PPC’s potential spoiler problem. Grab the maple syrup-flavored popcorn and hockey sticks on Election Night in Canada!

~

Read more from Andrew Moran.

Read More From Andrew Moran

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