In a matter of days, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is set to present a throne speech after proroguing parliament for over a month to set a new direction for his government in these challenging times.
Since the pandemic started to wreak havoc in Canada, Trudeau has faced considerable personal struggles regarding his management of government and his Liberal caucus. Namely, the WE Charity scandal has all but become the defining factor of Mr. Trudeau’s dealings during the pandemic, failing to recuse himself from a massive private deal with the charity that he, and a then-member of his caucus have clear conflicts of interest with.
Beyond that, even before the pandemic, Justin Trudeau has consistently given the cold shoulder to some of Canada’s most influential premiers, namely Alberta’s Jason Kenney, Saskatchewan’s Scott Moe, and at times, Ontario’s Doug Ford. With exponentially rising demand for medical infrastructure across the country, Justin Trudeau has withheld potentially life-saving funds from the provinces while funnelling funds to unnecessary programs, garnering criticism from many, including anonymously from his own caucus and his own base of support. The Prime Minister’s spending habits have instilled fear into economists and financial observers as well as among the general public.
It must be acknowledged though that despite his recurring gaffes of which most people have lost count, Trudeau is still inching up in the polls, bringing forth the notion that he may call a snap election to try to secure a majority mandate, which in any time but now, would be considered ludicrous. It’s difficult to lose when you’re throwing money into people’s pockets by way of extravagant programs like the extended CERB. However, recent polling does show significant decreases in support for the incumbent Prime Minister, likely a product of his ethical infractions and financial irresponsibility.
Understandably, Liberal MPs have been quiet on what the new direction of their government may entail. There have been murmurs describing the new plan as ‘ambitious’, but since those reports came out, the word has been a lot more stable as not to disrupt the fragile political circumstances surrounding the government reset. It’s highly unlikely at this point in time that opposition parties would topple the government, considering that the Conservatives, Bloc Quebecois, and the NDP would have to vote non-confidence.
The NDP is still financially tied up and their polling hasn’t been great. While the Bloc has on several occasions outright called for Trudeau to step aside from his post at least temporarily during the WE Charity scandal investigations, they really don’t have much to gain from an election right now. The Conservatives are the only opposition who may have something of significance to gain from an election right now, but with a new leader needing to make a name for himself on the national stage, now is still not the time for them to topple the Liberals.
Because of the lack of preparedness for a federal election in the middle of a pandemic as well as political uncertainty regarding the volatile polls, it looks as though Mr. Trudeau will be given the chance to continue with his minority government in a new direction now with the impact of COVID-19. However, this support for the current government is clearly rather circumstantial and very unlikely to be sustained much longer.
Considering this somewhat reluctant support for Trudeau’s troubled government, it seems more likely that the administration will be toppled before the spring, given that at that point, he would’ve had over a year to do what he can in dealing with the pandemic. At that point, it will be up to Canadians to decide on Trudeau’s pandemic response which will undoubtedly be the most decisive voting issue in the next election, whenever that may come.