Prime Minister Justin Trudeau referred to "next year's election" in a Sunday morning interview with CBC's Rosemary Barton.
The Prime Minister immediately corrected himself, rewording his answer to Barton by saying "potential election," but the comment nevertheless gives observers yet another reason to expect an election in 2021.
The Liberals have maintained a consistent lead in polls since the beginning of the year despite the Conservative Party winning a popular vote plurality in the most recent election. The Liberals gained a considerable boost in support in the spring which observers attributed to the "rally around the flag" effect, a phenomenon whereby the population rallies in support of their leader in times of crisis.
This coronavirus-induced spike in support largely collapsed by mid-July with the WE Charity scandal. Since the beginning of August, the Liberal Party has still maintained a lead in the polls, although according to 338Canada, their support has largely been hovering slightly below what is needed to attain a majority in Parliament.
This is not the first time that speculation has emerged of a 2021 election. Sources close to the Prime Minister told Reuters earlier this month that Trudeau is looking towards a 2021 election, largely because the longer he waits, the less likely he is to secure a victory. Conservative leader Erin O'Toole was only inaugurated to lead the party in August, and with the coronavirus pandemic dominating Canadian politics, he has had little ability to introduce himself to many Canadians.
The NDP has also seen incremental yet steady gains in the polls throughout the year, and could potentially split the left-wing vote in many swing ridings to the benefit of the Conservatives. The Bloc Quebecois, meanwhile, has been suffering in recent polls, providing the Trudeau Liberals a chance to make inroads in Quebec, which, aside from Montreal, they largely lost to the Quebecois nationalist party in 2019.
Ultimately, however, the question comes down to how Canadians, and other parties, react to the spring budget. The Trudeau government has spent exorbitant amounts of money during the pandemic, raising to deficit to unprecedented levels as the federal debt verges on surpassing $1 trillion for the first time in Canadian history.
The government has also put forward a number of radical proposals as the end of the pandemic nears. The Trudeau government recently proposed a massive increase in the federal carbon tax, which would raise the cost of living for millions of Canadians. The government has also continued to propose greater funding for social programs, and some new social programs all together, with some questioning their economic efficacy.
Trudeau, however, does not believe that opposition parties desire an election in the near future. "I am reasonably confident none of the opposition parties wants an election right now," Trudeau said at the beginning of December.
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