Trudeau Calls Sept. 20 Canada Election, Seeking Majority Win

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau called an election for next month, seeking to capitalize on polls showing his Liberal Party with a large enough lead to retake a majority in parliament.

The prime minister met Governor General Mary Simon, the Queen’s representative in Canada, on Sunday morning to request that parliament be dissolved. The vote will be on Sept. 20.

Public opinion polls show Trudeau’s Liberals, in power since 2015, hovering in the mid-30% range of support, which is near the threshold needed to regain control of the House of Commons in Canada’s fragmented political system. To reach his goal, he needs to win over voters in key suburban swing ridings around Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver.

“The decisions your government makes right now will define the future your kids and grandkids grow up in,” Trudeau said at a news conference Sunday. “Canadians need to choose how we finish the fight against Covid-19 and build back better.”

Trudeau Calls Sept. 20 Canada Election, Seeking Majority Win

Trudeau will campaign on the message that a steady hand is needed to fight the pandemic and continue the economic recovery. The Liberals released an advertisement on social media on Saturday with the slogan, “Forward. For Everyone.”

Half of Canadians believe his government has done a good job of managing the Covid-19 crisis, while 23% say it has done poorly, according to a poll by Nanos Research Group for Bloomberg News. Another 26% are neutral.

The poll also found that almost three in four Canadians believe their personal finances are better or no worse than they were two years ago. That’s in line with other surveys showing rising confidence by consumers and businesses as vaccines become widely available.

Since losing his majority in the 2019 election, Trudeau has needed the help of other parties to pass legislation, giving the opposition leeway to set the policy agenda -- though his pandemic fiscal packages have largely won cross-party support.

Vaccination Election

Trudeau emerged from the official residence of the Governor General seeking to cast this election as the most momentous since the end of World War II, trying to fend off accusations that he is being opportunistic.

He said the world has changed considerably since the 2019 election and the government needs a mandate to move forward.

One key message he’s pitching is that the pandemic is still a threat, and that Canadians can’t trust the opposition Conservatives to manage the crisis. He reiterated a promise, made only two days ago by his government, that Canada will impose a new requirement on air travelers to be fully vaccinated.

It’s a position that creates a wedge issue with the Conservatives, who oppose such a move. Trudeau also asserted the Conservatives will be quick to cut services if they are elected.

Opposition leaders are scheduled to speak after Trudeau.

©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

BQ Install

Bloomberg Quint

Add BloombergQuint App to Home screen.