Trudeau’s Fall Election “Cold Feet” Could Prove Fatal

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau made a big mistake in not calling a snap Fall federal election.

His next opportunity … although the next scheduled federal vote isn’t until 2023 … will come in the Spring. He will have a much tougher time with voters then as compared to now.

Spring is a time of house-cleaning; Spring is a time to renovate; Spring is a time of new growth; and, politically, Spring will be a time when many voters will be ready, willing and even enthusiastic about putting every memory of 2020 behind.

And even express their dissatisfaction with the ongoing negative impacts (long-term by then) Covid-19 has had on their lives, their kids, their families, their jobs, their businesses, their recreational opportunities and their vacation travels.

While Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole will likely be much better known by Canadians; will no doubt have a lot more to criticize in the government’s handling of Covid; and, the NDP and the Greens will both have had a chance to renew and redevelop their own policies to appeal to Canadians.

Trudeau, like Horgan, as I wrote in June, was clearly maneuvering towards a possible Fall vote, as polls consistently showed he would likely win … despite the WE scandal.

Trudeau lost his nerve! And decided not to ask Canadians for a vote of confidence.

Bad mistake!

All three provincial premiers and governments that did call Fall elections, despite the pandemic … B.C., Saskatchewan and New Brunswick …we re-elected, handily.

Voters from coast to coast have clearly been satisfied with how provincial and federal officials have dealt with the pandemic and managed public business despite the challenges of 2020.

In fact, a new poll just out by Ipsos shows the federal Liberals at 38 per cent public support, UP 2 per cent from September and still leading the pack with voters: Conservatives at 32 per cent; NDP 17 per cent; Greens 7 per cent.

BUT Trudeau’s personal popularity is starting to slip:

” Six in ten (59%) approve (18% strongly/41% somewhat) of Justin Trudeau’s performance in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, which is down 15 points when compared to April,” says the Ipsos poll, done for Global News.

You can read full details of the poll here: http://Six in ten (59%) approve (18% strongly/41% somewhat) of Justin Trudeau’s performance in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, which is down 15 points when compared to April.

And how’s this: the Prime Minister’s personal rating was highest in BC:

” The Prime Minister’s performance rating on COVID-19 is highest in British Columbia (69%), Atlantic Canada (63%), Ontario (60%), Saskatchewan and Manitoba (60%), Quebec (60%) and Alberta (44%). “

Time will tell … but I’ll be surprised if the federal Liberals and Trudeau are still so popular by Spring.

So Trudeau will regret NOT going to the people this Fall.

Harv Oberfeld

(Reminder: Follow @harveyoberfeld on Twitter for free First Alerts to all new postings on this BC-based blog.)

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13 Responses to Trudeau’s Fall Election “Cold Feet” Could Prove Fatal

  1. D. M. Johnston says:

    Not a Liberal and definitely not a Conservative and will not vote for the current incarnation of the NDP, all I can say is that Borat, the movie, did Trudeau in; he is now an international laughing stock.

    The Liberals are tired and many are tired by Trudeau. The Conservatives are tired and after Harper and his religious zealots, many are tired of them. The NDP, more than a national joke at the moment and nothing more.

    We might see a larger edition of the BC election where the Conservatives are based on the BC Liberals and the Liberals are based on the NDP and maybe a case to vote for the idiot we know rather taking a chance on a Conservative we don’t know.

    The American election also may play big in Canada’s upcoming election, if Trump decides to stay calling the election “fake”, as pundits are now voicing concern. Political unrest may compel voters to stick with what they have, especially with the conservatives so tainted with Trumpism.

    If Biden wins and there is a peaceful transfer of power, then all bets are off, but if not and social unrest happens, it could be the Conservatives worst nightmare, Trudeau’s blackface or not.

    The big question, not discussed is the large tax increases needed for the covid-19 safety net and like BC, no politician is talking about that.

    I just watched a movie Totally Under Control……

    …. and it left me gobsmacked and makes me think, all those big C Conservatives will be greatly concerned being tainted with the same brush.

    All I know, is that voting for Mr. Peanut is just as good an option than anyone else at this point in time!

    (Response: O’Toole and the Tories have a real opportunity in the next six months to build his image, their brand and their message …and get rid of those in their midst who turn off most Canadians, who I believe are socially liberal, but could be won over to more conservative fiscal views. We’ll see if they do that. But remember, if they do … Trudeau could delay again: he has until Fall 2023 to the scheduled election, unless he is defeated in a motion of non-confidence. Should be interesting! As for the NDP .. I don’t think Singh will sell nationally, especially in Quebec, next Spring or next Fall or the year after. Period. h.o)

  2. harry lawson says:


    The ideal time was a mid october vote, 6 months is a long time in politics . Otoole and his party needs to be working harder than ever . Trudeau has turned the NDP into a impediment broke and almost irrelevant political voice.

    How many more scandals can Trudeau handles until he is pushed out.

    (Response: You’re right. He should have gone when the going looked good. Several polls showed he was still favored by Canadians despite even the WE scandal. It was an opportunity missed … that in time could prove to be his Achilles heel.

    And by the way, Justin, if you want to give us a full explanation to the Blogosphere of why you did NOT go to the people this Fall, I’ll give you full space here to do so. 🙂 h.o)

  3. DBW says:

    While the policies of the Liberal government during covid have been popular I am not sure that they will translate into the votes needed to regain the majority they lost just a year ago. The New Brunswick election was after a vote of non-confidence. The Saskatchewan election was the result of their fixed election date. And Horgan can be excused (not by me mind you) because they had governed for 3.5 years and they wanted a new mandate to move beyond covid. In Trudeau’s case none of those applied.

    I am not going to argue your analysis. Maybe he would have got a majority. Maybe a minority. Doesn’t matter. Whatever you think would have happened I will agree with you.

    What bothers me and I said this before about the BC election is how much I disagree with the politicizing of the election date. Trudeau’s Liberals were elected with a minority because the country didn’t trust any of the parties with a majority.

    I believe a ruling party has an obligation to make that minority work. The only way an election should result is through a vote of non-confidence. Trudeau dared the opposition with a phony vote of confidence over the formation of a committee. The NDP and I guess we can toss in the inconsequential three Greens didn’t buy it. Who knows if Trudeau was hoping for an election or if the Conservatives really wanted an election. (I would rather armchair Kevin Cash pulling Blake Snell.)

    To the politicians I just say “get to work”. And I am talking specifically to the Liberals who prorogued parliament to bring in a new Throne Speech. Do your job. If the opposition doesn’t think it is a good enough job then a vote of non confidence sends us to an election. And that’s OK. But as long as the government has the confidence of the house – even lukewarm confidence – we don’t need any unnecessary election.

    (Response: I find your objectives quite laudable: governance without politicization and governments meeting their obligations to make minority situations work. Unfortunately, when exercise power, furtherance of ideology and policies, control over the spending of HUNDREDS OF BILLIONS of dollars and the handing out of HUGE contracts are all involved, politics and gaining and/or retaining the trappings of government is WAR! So those in power, trying to stay in power, strike when their enemies are weak and when they believe conditions are right to defeat … even wipe them out. And they all do it! In fact5, it was quite laughable when Horgan said he called the snap election “to put politics behind”. LOL! He did it when he felt he could win, when all the polls told him he could win, when he felt the Liberals had a lousy, weak leader and when the Greens were internally divided .. and yes, the Greens on the Vancouver Park Board hrt their image with many, especially the Lower Mainland. And it worked for Horgan. Which raises the question why, and feeds my own conclusion that Trudeau made a BIG error in not going in the Fall. By Spring, the debt and deficit will be even higher, people will be even more tired and fed up with Covid, more and more will be bored and unhappy with him, and O’Toole/Tories (unless they blunder their opportunity) will be beter known and maybe even impress the voters. h.o)

  4. Gilbert says:

    I’m so glad PM Trudeau didn’t call a fall election. Despite all the scandals and corruption committed by his incompetent government, he has very capable advisors.

    The Conservatives have one advantage this time, though. Their leader is not a social conservative, so the Liberals and the media can’t use that to scare voters.

    It seems to me that the prime minister isn’t enjoying the job as much as before. He isn’t travelling so much, isn’t speaking to adoring fans and his beloved WE charity has left the country.

    Though not widely reported, his promise to plant millions of trees hasn’t been fulfilled. If I’m not mistaken, he has yet to plant a single tree. I don’t think Greta can be pleased about that.

    I hope voters will wake up and finally fire our poor excuse for a prime minister. We really need a qualified prime minister. In other words, we need a change.

    (Response: Well, the freshness and the enthusiasm certainly seems to have dissipated … both on the part of Trudeau AND the public’s view of him. I think that’s fairly normal for most democratic leaders who have been in power for five years or more and don’t have the penchant or gift of emotional rabble-rousing rhetoric. h.o)

  5. nonconfidencevote says:

    Prime Minister Politically Correct’s message is beginning to grate.
    Personally I’m quite happy to have him wait.
    The WE scandal, SNC Lavalin contracts, on and on and on….
    The Liberals cant help themselves.
    Let’s see how the economy is doing in 6 to 12 months as more people are out of work and the national debt zooms past $1 TRILLION dollars, our Dollars is plunging, the govt printing presses are running out of ink, CERB isnt enough for the millennial basement gamers.

    Voters will be looking for blood.

    (Response: I agree. In government, familiarity indeed very often breeds contempt, and both boredom and disenchantment … while the Opposition promises the world of improvement, new ideas and perhaps evokes desire for change. h.o)

  6. Chuckstraight says:

    2015 will be the last election with first past the post.

    (Response: No )

  7. DBW says:

    Dear Harvey,

    I didn’t call a fall election because I felt obligated to do the best I could with a minority government. The government and public should be focused on solving problems both with the immediate effects of covid and the aftermath rather than dealing with an unnecessary election that may very well result in another minority.

    While you may be right that our popularity is at a peak right now, we believe that our plan in the Throne Speech will get us through the next three years and we feel confident that the public will be pleased with the results and reward us then. If the opposition doesn’t feel that we are doing an adequate job then it is certainly their right and responsibility to say they have no confidence in us which would trigger an election. We feel confident that the public will see that our plan is right for the country and we will be win the election at that time. And if the public doesn’t feel that way, then we will respect the democratic process and turn our attention to holding the new government accountable.

    Love JT

    I am not questioning your assessment of the Liberals popularity and whether politically it would have benefited them to call an election three years early. I just want clarity from you on this question.

    Do you think a fall election would have been good for Canada or are you just speculating, Monday morning quarterbacking so to speak? If it is the latter, then I would much prefer we discuss Kevin Cash and Blake Snell or a covid positive Justin Turner getting his picture taken with his teammates.

    (Response: Thanks. I enjoyed that. As for whether a fall election “would have been good for Canada” I’m ambivalent. Canada is a strong democracy with fairly middle of the road major parties: an election or not would make BIG differencein our daily lives or national direction. When I say I believe Trudeau made a mistake that could come back to haunt him (Halloween theme!) I’m referring to the art … or war … of politics, reflecting my own background (my B.A. was in political science), my long experience in covering governments at all levels for three decades and my own personal view as a Canadian, a blogger and an observer. Time will tell .. and when it happens, I will surely remind everyone if I’m correct, and not mention it if I’m wrong. 🙂 h.o

  8. hawgwash says:

    I will never forgive Trudeau for the sleazersize around Wilson-Raybould and SNC, but I fear that will be long forgotten by many voters.

    WE is another one.

    Between those and the possible implosion of Trans Mountain on the taxpayer’s dime, if the Conservatives can muster some real strength, they should have a field day.

    (Response: Many voters have short memories … especially if goodies and promises start to flow in the setup to a new election. Although a general persistent stench does tend to linger! h.o)

  9. frozentundra says:

    Trudeau should have pulled the trigger. The Lower Mainland, metro Toronto and the Maritimes are infatuated with his words and most Canadians in those areas think the Conservatives are akin to the Klan or Donald Trump, old white men with crewcuts who are 50 years out of date, who dont like immigrants or coloured people and think that spending money is a horrible thing. As long as Trudeau is spending money like water , has the NDP in his hip pocket and people believe the Conservatives are bogeyman, he is safe. The ROC cannot turf Trudeau without the Maritime, Toronto and Vancouver vote and that aint going away soon. I think he is destroying the country but I am an old white man and my opinion does not matter in modern Canada.

    (Response: No doubt the Conservatives have a couple of problems with many Canadians: both image (which you cite) but also policies that clearly did not sell last time with Canadians. Trudeau has now given them a lot of time to work on both … at least until Spring and possibly even longer. Will be interesting to see what O’Toole comes up with in that time. h.o)

  10. e.a.f. says:

    IF Trudeau goes for an election in the spring, in my opinion, he will be re elected. Majority. The Conservatives simply are not competitive. O’Toole doesn’t have what it takes. He is a tad better than the last leader, but still nothing to write home about.

    Canada continues to do well with COVID. If you don’t think so, have a look at europe and the U.S.A. Unemployment may have gone up, but back in the 1970s I can recall areas of B.C. where it was officially 15% and the first food bank in Canada was established on Vancouver Island. As long as Trudeau manages to keep the country afloat or rather the people who live in it, they will re elect him and his party. You’ll hear more of the, “whose going to pay for all of this”, but those in receipt of the money are going to vote for Liberals. The Conservatives aren’t going to do much of anything when it comes to social programs in this country. We just need to look at their record.

    If Trump is re elected, we can expect Americans to arrive in droves as refugees. That might be the election issue which may or may not be the major issue.

    Alberta isn’t doing that well and if Kenny keeps it up, especially with his intent to fire 11k health care workers, all the Liberals will have to do is point to them and ask Canadians: do you want this for the whole country. COVID is going to be with us for some time and as long as Trudeau keeps the country afloat and ahead of others, he’ll stay in office. Until the Conservatives come up with a better leader, the Liberals are here to stay. The NPD will continue to support them because they know, if the Conservatives are elected, things will not go well in this country.

    For those who don’t think so, go have a read of Stevie Cameron’s “On the Take, the Mulroney years”. Then have a look at some of the blogs discussing the Harper years and how he passed 8 pieces of legislation which contravened the Constitution and were over turned by the Supreme Court of Canada. With the Supreme Court of the U.S.A. now stacked against people, Canada may not want some P.M. to do the same, well Harper did try………..

    I’m a tad left of the Liberals but if I had to make a choice and vote strategically, I’d be voting Liberal if an election were held now or in the spring.

  11. nonconfidencevote says:

    @ e.a.f.
    “and as long as Trudeau keeps the country afloat and ahead of others, he’ll stay in office.”

    Isnt that the issue?
    Trudeau has blown HUNDREDS of BILLIONS on the first phase of Covid CERB cash give aways and here we are in round two…
    Is a trillion dollars acceptable to the hand wringing socialistas out there?
    Does Venezuela ring a bell?
    No need for Jenny Craig when there’s no food on the shelves.
    Trudeau’s economic policies have been a disaster because ” the budget will balance itself”.

  12. e.a.f. says:

    nonconfidence, have a little faith in this country. We are not Venezuela nor do we have their problems. have a little faith in this country. comparing us to Venezuela is not a good comparison. Venezuela had problems decades ago and once their former Pres. died, things were going to go into the shitter regardless. The country was never well managed. Our country, has always been if not well managed, managed to the extent we could continue on in a normal fashion and yes I include the P.C. and Conservative P.M.s in that. May have disliked Harper and Mulroney, but they did a decent enough job to keep the country going. Venezuela was never in our league.

    what do you think would have happened in this country had the Liberals/Trudeau not sent out all those cheques? Don’t know where you live or who you know, but my neighours, friends adult children were all laid off. those cheques kept them afloat until they could go back to work. When the lock down came, I phoned a friend who owns her own business. She was crying, well sobbing. She was worried about all her staff who were laid off and could she ever open again. The cheques came, her staff survived and paid their rents and mortgages. She was able to qualify for the loan from the feds and re opened. Yes, she is paying back the loan, but she is in business and surviving. That is what Trudeau/Liberals did. Have a look at other countries to see how they did. O.K. some western European countries handed out way more money, but other countries, didn’t offer the programs Canada did.

    If you aren’t aware about 40% of Canadians are about a couple of pay days away from being out of money, i.e. bankrupt. Now if no cheques had been sent out, what do you think we would have looked like? More like the U.S.A. were the food banks had cars lined up for huge distances to get food. I watched it on the news. We didn’t have that here. People went to grocery stores and were still able to afford to buy groceries. Grocery and drug Stores remained open and people were able to purchase things, which in turn kept staff at work.

    Yes, we’re going to have a big deficit but in my opinion, its worth it. People didn’t suffer the way they did in the U.S.A. So back to an election, if Trudeau calls on in the spring, my money says he will be re elected. O’Toole won’t have a plan any where near what Trudeau has. Have a look at Alberta and what the “conservatives’ have planned there. Not a good thing. 42% of the doctors want to leave and 11K health care workers are going to be fired. Yes, they’ll be replaced with private contractors and we know how that turns out. If you’re going to be a Conservative, at least Alberta could do what Ontario is doing. Ford actually looks like he has a game plan and is doing a fairly decent job of things. Never thought I’d be saying/writing that, but he is rated as No. 2 Premier in the country. No. 1 is Horgan. The national parties will use these provincial parties in their attack ads. My expectation is that O’Toole will lose the next election, resign and then Ford may run for the leadership of the Conservatives and take it back to a P.C. party, which in my opinion is much more acceptable to Canadians. At that point perhaps Trudeau will either take a walk in the snow or loose an election, 2028.

  13. nonconfidencevote says:

    @ e.a.f.
    “If you aren’t aware about 40% of Canadians are about a couple of pay days away from being out of money, i.e. bankrupt. Now if no cheques had been sent out, what do you think we would have looked like?”

    I’m well aware of the Canadians that are ONE pay cheque from living on the street.
    I work with most of them.
    A 66 year old co worker spend her last RRSP money on….wait for it…. a motorcycle….she has zero savings.
    Another coworker just mortgaged a new house at 66 and he is in terrible health….
    A few examples of friends, family, coworkers that never save a dime and are SHOCKED, SHOCKED when the money tree withers and dies…….
    Their fiscal intelligence is about as high as their debt loads.
    Essentially they NEVER save because , “someone” (govt, friends, family, whatever) will bail them out.
    Perhaps its time to let these people hit rock bottom to realize THEY are RESPONSIBLE for their own bad ( insert stupid here) decisions.
    My god!
    Is this country supposed to bankrupt itself and enter tax purgatory because the majority of people are too stupid and too lazy to save a few thousand dollars?
    We MUST bail out the spendthrifts?
    They created their own financial Hell, let them figure it out.
    Covid was unexpected but ANYONE that doesnt have at least a few months worth of salary stashed away for a rainy day is a fool.
    Oh. Right.
    I dont know how hard it is to be a single parent, or a student, or an elderly person.
    They all had choices to make and obviously they made the wrong ones.
    Thats MY problem to solve?
    Deal with it and dont bitch when a taxpayer like me actually complains when the Liberal socialistas give away billions to ( gasp!) buy votes.
    All while ruining the economy at the same time.
    Next year when the unemployment rate is 15% and climbing……I’ll still be doing ok…because unlike the fools that squander their savings because they “Need” a vacation every year or “need” a new car every year or “Need” a boat or a cottage…… on and on and on with the excuses……..

    I will be waiting with lots and lots of money to vulture the lazy, the stupid, the bankrupt

    Sorry if the cold cruel reality of our economic system offends you.
    I for one…….. embrace it.

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