Justin Trudeau wants an election sooner than later.
Because, you know, he could win it. Big.
But, but, but: a fourth wave is coming. Jagmeet Singh’s NDP is surging. Canadians don’t like Summertime elections. The don’t-go-early examples provided by David Peterson and Jim Prentice.
And, most of all, it may make voters really mad at Trudeau. The polling agency Nanos says nearly 40 per cent of Canadians are “upset” at the prospect of voting anytime soon.
So, given all that, why is Trudeau jonesing for a vote now? Ten reasons.
1. His opponents. Trudeau thinks he’s a better campaigner than his opponents, and he’s not wrong. He’s beaten two Tory leaders (one a majority Prime Minister), and he’s convinced himself Erin O’Toole will make it a hat trick.
2. The polls. He’s ahead in them, across the board. In some cases, way ahead. The Conservatives, in fact, may be as much as 12 points behind the Trudeau Liberals – which would see O’Toole resigning on election night, among other things.
3. WE forget. He made vaccine acquisition a fiasco, sure, and the WE scandal cemented the perception that he is corrupt. But voters generally have a memory span of minutes: they’ve forgotten much of that stuff. Besides, it’s a pandemic: most of us can’t recall what day it is, let alone what Trudeau did last year.
4. Dishonesty abounds. The good news for Trudeau haters: Canadians tend to agree that Trudeau is dishonest. The bad news: they think everybody involved in politics is a liar. Hollering that Trudeau is corrupt gets the Opposition nowhere, because voters believe none of them would be any better.
5. Midstream horses. There’s an old cliché about changing horses midstream. And it particularly applies to pandemic politics. Canadians may not be enthusiastic about Justin Trudeau‘s performance – and slightly more than half aren’t – but they’re even less enthusiastic about big political changes in the middle of a global public health crisis.
6. The aforementioned fourth wave. The experts say it’s not a question of if, but when. So when the fourth wave happens, Justin Trudeau would prefer it happens after his unnecessary, half-a-billion-dollar election. Not during or before.
7. The Liberal war room. Trudeau Liberals may be terrible at governing, but they’re pretty darn good at campaigning. They are prepared to say and do anything to win. Anything. If they have an ideology, in fact, it’s winning elections. Their opponents, meanwhile, I think losing is principled.
8. The media. We ink-stained wretches know that Trudeau is corrupt and dishonest leader. But, when Conservative partisans continually call us in the media similarly corrupt and dishonest, we have a tendency not to write nice things about them. All evidence to the contrary, reporters are human too.
9. Incumbency. With the notable exception of Donald Trump, incumbent governments have greatly benefited from the pandemic. Challengers haven’t. In government, Trudeau controls announcements, spending and decision-making. Power and the pandemic are his friends.
10. His ego. That’s what this election is all about. Justin Trudeau wants another majority because he wants another majority. He’s obsessed with his size, you might say, like adolescent males tend to be. And that’s why he wants an election now. Period.
Could he change course? Could he put off a trip to the residence of the newly-installed Governor General? Sure. Of course.
But my money is on an election now.
[Kinsella was special assistant to Jean Chretien.]