COLIN MACKAY: No need for election at this point in time

Colin MacKay

Share Adjust Comment Print

Governor General Julie Payette will read the Throne Speech today outlining the federal government’s plans for the near and distant future.

At the moment, the Liberal government is 15 seats shy of a majority. In Canada there are 338 ridings or seats across the country, including the Bay of Quinte riding. Our MP is Neil Ellis, Liberal. All 338 MPs will vote as to whether on not to accept the Throne Speech. Should there not be a majority voting in favour, this would be a non-confidence vote and a federal election would be called. However, Erin O’Toole, leader of the CPC party, and Yves-Francois Blanchet have tested positive for COVID-19 (virus) adding a considerable amount of uncertainty as to what Parliament will look like. The odds of an election being called are slim, but remain a possibility. Most Canadians feel an election during a pandemic would not be wise. As well, the Bay of Quinte CPC’s are in the process of selecting a candidate to oppose MP Ellis between Tim Durkin, Ryan Williams, or Shelby Kramp-Nueman for our riding.

The speech is likely to focus on the tax system that, at the moment, favours the well-to-do and corporations. A wealth tax has been proposed and may be part of the throne speech. Locally, Ellis is all in favour of a guaranteed basic income. It could eliminate duplication of other government services. Ellis has pointed to the success of a similar program being run in Finland. Climate emergency will also likely be a topic of discussion. Certainly, the increasing debt and deficit will be highlighted. A deficit approaching $400 billion is a concern. During the pandemic the federal government came to the aid of the provincial premiers, especially in Ontario, advancing billions of dollars. Reigniting the economy for the short-term and long-term will be a key part of the Throne Speech. Opposition parties may disagree with proposals from the speech, but likely not enough to force an election.

Finance Minsiter Chrystia Freeland emphasizes, ‘The single most important economic policy of our government and the best thing we can do for our economy is keep coronavirus under control.’

Essentially, controlling the virus and eliminating community spread will eventually allow for businesses to open up. That sentiment is the opposite of our friends to the south who believe the virus is here to stay, accept a few deaths, but go ahead and open up the economy fully. How to control the virus should be outlined in the speech. There will be a lot for MPs and their leaders to consider when voting to accept or defeat what they hear from Payette.

Polling, which is always simply a snapshot in time, suggest if a vote were held, the Liberals would win a majority or minority government. They would receive roughly 36 per cent of the vote. For a majority that percentage would have to rise a few points higher, but it would remain a possibility. The odds of the CPC winning, according to the polls, would be about eight per cent. Polling is simply a guide for politicians. Campaigns do matter and the polls could change quickly. However, polling has stayed consistently in favour of the Liberals for months. With strictly polling in mind, opposition leaders would be unwise to call a federal election.

Eventually there will be a federal election but it is unlikely to be this fall. A more likely scenario is next spring, or, whenever the Liberals release their next budget. Will a second wave of the virus lead to shutdowns? The virus is an unknown. The Throne Speech will not mention WE or SNC-Lavalin or robust spending. However, the opposition will. Yet, a federal election at this time just doesn’t make sense or seem wise.

Comments