Trudeau Calls Early Election, Banking on Pandemic Record

Polls show Canadians support government's handling of COVID fight
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 15, 2021 10:55 AM CDT
Trudeau Calls Early Election, Hoping His Popularity Holds
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, left, speaks in Ottawa last month.   (Paul Chiasson/The Canadian Press via AP)

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has called a national election for Canada to take place in September, though the next vote wasn't required until 2023. Trudeau went through the formality of requesting an election be held in a visit Sunday to Canada's governor general, the representative of Britain's Queen Elizabeth, the Wall Street Journal reports. Mary Simon agreed, setting the vote for Sept. 20. Canada is one of the most vaccinated nations in the world, and the prime minister is using his record on battling the coronavirus as a selling point. "We've had your back, and now it's time to hear your voice," Trudeau said Sunday, per the AP. "Canadians need to choose how we finish the fight against COVID-19." Although his popularity has dropped, a majority of Canadians still approve of the job he's done on the pandemic.

Trudeau also wants a ruling majority in parliament, which his Liberals lost two years ago. Not only does he need support from other parties to pass legislation, but committees in parliament are run by the opposition. That power has been used to investigate Trudeau's connection to a youth charity with government contracts and his actions concerning sexual misconduct allegations in the armed forces, per the Journal. Polls show Trudeau running ahead of everyone before the election, with support for big government spending to help people hurt by the pandemic and help the economy rebound. Canada's neighbor makes it feel better about its handling of the pandemic, analysts say; more than 70% of Canadians over age 12 are fully vaccinated. "Canadians compare their situation to the US," a political scientist said. "The current spike in the US contributes to smug complacency among Canadians. This feeling benefits the Liberals at present." (More Justin Trudeau stories.)

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