After months of speculation, the 2021 Canadian federal election is officially going ahead.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau confirmed on Sunday that he spoke with the new Governor General, Mary Simon, earlier in the day and asked her to dissolve parliament.
Election Day will be September 20th 2021, meaning the campaign will be five weeks long.
“We are experiencing a historic moment and you have something to say about it. You have the right to chose the future of our country, whether it’s to pursue our vaccination efforts or to continue our support programs,” Trudeau said when speaking to the press.
Conservative Leader, Erin O’Toole, spoke shortly after Trudeau and quickly criticized the decision to send Canadians out to the polls in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, especially with the newly declared fourth wave.
However, when faced with questions from the press about his views on vaccine passports and mandatory vaccinations within his own party, O’Toole did not answer or gave vague answers at best.
If the Liberal Party win the upcoming election, it plans to require vaccination for some federal workers and will put new rules in place requiring anyone who wants to take a commercial flight or train within Canada to be fully vaccinated as of October. Plans are also being drawn up to implement mandatory vaccine passports, similar to those in Quebec.
Nothing is surprising about Trudeau calling an end to his minority government and going to the polls. This was long expected and logical given his current lead in public polling.
However, if O’Toole stands a chance of winning this election, he needs to come out strong and take a stand for conservative principles. So far, his responses to questions about vaccine passports – among many other issues – have been nothing but watered down talking points designed specifically to tow the line in the hope of offending no one.
This may work to gain support from Liberal voters on smaller issues, but when talking about a major constitutional infringement to Canadians’ rights, O’Toole needs to come out fighting and stand with his core base.
If he chooses to continue down his current path of “neither here nor there”, Liberal voters will remain with Trudeau and conservative voters will tie their allegiance to a party that will stand for them in the loudest voice (enter Maxime Bernier).
It’s time for O’Toole to stand up for conservative values and abandon his failed tactic of political fence-sitting.
(Photo credit: Blair Gable/Reuters)