Is Canada Headed Toward Early Elections? Some Signs Point to “Yes”

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July 27, 2021
by John Boling

The next federal elections in Canada must be held on or before October 16, 2023, and several recent developments may indicate that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will call for them to be scheduled as soon as August 2021.

In Canada, the prime minister can request to dissolve Parliament at any time to trigger an election. Trudeau, who has been prime minister for nearly two years is a member of the Liberal Party, which is in the minority in Parliament. If a national election led to a Liberal majority, Trudeau would have a greater ability to advance his policy agenda.

According to commentators such as Zi-Ann Lum in , the following may be indicators that Trudeau might be considering an early election:

  • Trudeau’s behavior and appearance suggest that he could be in campaign mode: his cross-country travels and high-profile speeches have increased in recent weeks.
  • Recent national policy actions and announcements seem designed to appeal to key groups of Liberal-leaning and swing voters. For example, Trudeau recently announced a new C$3.2-billion agreement with British Columbia to cut the province’s childcare fees in half by 2022, and he has suggested that a national childcare and early learning plan will be a centerpiece of his forthcoming policy agenda. Also, Canada intends to reopen the US border to travel on August 9, and the Old Age Security program is issuing C$500 checks to eligible senior citizens in mid-August.
  • Members of Parliament in Trudeau’s Liberal Party have reportedly been advised to take vacation in July.

Trudeau has not admitted that he is planning to call for elections this year, but he may believe that the timing is right as Canada’s COVID-19 vaccination rates are increasing, and pandemic-related restrictions are easing.

IIBEC Director of Government Relations John Boling

Boling joined IIBEC in early 2021. He focuses on increasing IIBEC’s influence on federal, state, provincial, and local public policy, helping shape codes and standards, expanding IIBEC’s influence in the building industry, and increasing the relevance and value of IIBEC’s policy positions. You can reach him at jboling@iibec.org.