Only weeks ago, Canada was on the verge of a Federal election. If the NDP had stood beside the Conservative party, they could have toppled the Trudeau government. Our Member of Parliament, Rachel Blaney, explains why they didn’t and what she thinks the prospects are for a Federal election in 2021.
The ‘WE scandal’
Shortly after the management of a $900 million student grant to WE Charity was announced, the Federal government came under fire for WE’s alleged connections to both the Trudeau and Morneau families.
Every Canadian party with at least 12 MPs is allotted times to propose motions, for discussion and a vote.
So, Blaney explained, the NDP proposed, “that we should have a special committee set up to address the We scandal. We could take it out of all the other committees and have one committee come together for a short time, do that work and come back to the House of Commons.”
Expanding on an NDP motion
“The Conservatives took that idea and expanded upon it quite substantively. First of all the language around it was about studying the corruption in the Liberal Government. Of course, the Liberals were not a fan of that title. But it also gave the committee a lot of power. The committee would have been able to call the Prime Minister, or any minister, whenever it felt like – without consulting with them to find out a date that would work for them. It would have really put this committee in a place to decide how everything worked at all times.”
“No Government would ever support that. So we had conversations with the Conservatives and said, ‘Come on, you gotta tone down the motion. We really want to see this work happen, the important part is to address the We scandal and what happened there. It should be addressed. Let’s put it in a special committee … so it doesn’t get in the way of all the other committees and the important work that those committees have to do.”
A confidence motion
“The Conservatives did not want to back down and when they formally put forward the motion, the Liberals said this is a confidence motion. If all the opposition parties support this motion, we will go to an election.”
“The NDP had already told the Conservatives,’If you cannot make this a motion that makes sense, that really deals with the issue of we and doesn’t make it a political power grab, we’re just not interested in supporting it.”
The Conservative motion was defeated, 180-146, with the NDP, Greens and Independent MPs all supporting the Liberal governments.
Will there be a Federal election next year?
Since that vote, there has been some speculation about a possible 2021 election. A Global News poll found that 47% of Canadians want Trudeau to wait until his term his over. CBC’s poll tracker’s latest projection (Nov 17th) is for another Liberal victory, though not necessarily a majority. There were several references to a possible Spring election in a recent ZOOM call of the North Island Powell River Greens.
Cortes Currents asked Rachel Blaney, what do you think about the probabilities of our having an election in 2021?
She replied, “When you are in a minority government, you’re always waiting to see if there is going to be an election around the corner,” she replied.
“ … Usually when there is a minority federal government, they last about a year. We’ve just passed the year mark … So I expect there will be an election next year, I’m just not certain when, and I certainly have not heard any gossip yet.”
Top photo credit: The House of Commons by Scazon via Flickr (CC BY SA,2.0 License)
This program was funded by a grant from the Community Radio Fund of Canada and the Government of Canada’s Local Journalism Initiative.