Ready, set, election!

The last federal election occurred on October 19, 2019. Canada formed a minority government with no party having the majority of seats in the House of Commons. Speculation soon expected that the government would be hard pressed to last a year. The leader of the opposition Andrew Scheer, resigned in early 2020 and Erin O’Toole replaced him in August 2020 as the leader of the Conservative Party.

Under Canada’s election rules the next election is set for October 16, 2023, or until the government lead by Justin Trudeau is defeated in a vote of confidence. Most minority governments last less than 24 months.

Times have changed. Covid-19 has had all the parties working on keeping Canadians safe from the virus and politics have been put on the back burner simmering away. As the number of Canadians vaccinated against the virus grows, the simmering pots will begin to boil. Canadian political parties are raising funds, nominating candidates and are in full preparation for a summer or fall election.

All parties are waiting for 75 per cent of Canadians to have their first vaccine dose and would like 50 per cent of Canadians to have their second dose. In a 2020 year-end interview, Justin Trudeau Canada’s prime minister and leader of the Liberal Party mused that he might call an election in late summer or fall 2021.

A poll in March found that 77 per cent of Canadians did not want an election in the summer months but would be comfortable with an election in the last three months of the year.

The survey suggests that 49 per cent of Canadians think it is time to change governing parties. The numbers differ on which party respondents support. Of Conservatives, 88 per cent favour a change as do 39 per cent of New Democrat voters. Only 17 per cent of Liberal voters are ready for a change. Of all voters 35 per cent do not favour a change of government. Currently Liberals are leading the other parties with 35 per cent support.

The campaigning this year will be different than past. Social media may play a bigger role with individual voters being targeted with messages directed directly at them. Lawn signs will continue to be used, but voters will be spoked directly to the tablets, laptops, and cell phones. Based on their social profiles, the messages will be individualized, matching voter’s preferences, lifestyles, and biases.

It will be a new style of electioneering. You might not hear a lot of electioneering presently, but the backrooms and basements of political strategists in Ottawa are mining every piece of data about you, preparing your individualized message to capture your vote beginning the day the election is called.

From the Publisher’s Pen

Jim Cumming

Former Publisher

Fort Frances Times

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