OTTAWA—Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says Canadas democratic institutions—including Parliament and Elections Canada—need to be fully functional even in the midst of a deadly pandemic.
But he insists that doesnt mean he wants an election this fall.
“I do not want an election. I dont think Canadians want an election,” Trudeau told a news conference Wednesday as he wrapped up two-and-a-half days of cabinet meetings.
“I think Canadians want politicians to work together to serve them, to build a better future for them and keep them safe during this (COVID-19) crisis.”
Parliament returns Sept. 23 with a throne speech that Trudeau promised will set out a path for getting Canadians through—and eventually beyond—the pandemic. The speech will be put to a confidence vote, which could theoretically bring down Trudeaus minority Liberal government.
Trudeau briefly seemed to fuel election speculation, declining to say it would be reckless for opposition parties to plunge the country into an election at a time when COVID-19 cases are on the rise across the country and public health experts are warning of a potential second deadly wave.
“I think its a little irresponsible to be talking about recklessness when it comes to elections. I think I should and we all should have tremendous confidence in Elections Canada to be able to bring forward strong measures to keep us safe and allow for the expression of the democratic will of the people,” he said, noting that New Brunswick safely held an election on Monday.
He added that “if there has to be an election, well figure it out.,”
But he bristled when it was suggested that sounds like hed welcome an election.
“I dont think thats what Canadians want. I dont think thats what opposition parties want and its certainly not what the government wants.”
When Trudeau announced last month he was proroguing Parliament, he spoke of returning with a throne speech that would lay out a bold, audacious plan to rebuild the shattered economy.
But talk of bold action gave way throughout the cabinet retreat as ministers emphasized the governments almost exclusive focus on protecting Canadians lives and incomes as the pandemic continues to rage.
For his part, Trudeau said Canadians “deserve an ambitious plan for a healthier and safer Canada, a Canada thats fair and inclusive, a Canada thats clean and competitive and, with the speech from the throne on Sept. 23, thats exactly what our government is ready to do.”
Still, he stressed: “At the same time, we have to remember we are not out of this pandemic yet” and said dealing with it remains “job one.”
With Conservative Leader Erin OToole, Bloc Quebecois Leader Yves-Francois Blanchet and most of the Bloc caucus in self-isolation due to exposure to individuals whove tested positive for COVID-19, Trudeau said its imperative that Parliament return in a hybrid format—with only a small number of MPs physically present in the House of Commons and the rest participating virtually, including voting electronically.
The Conservatives have balked at the idea of electronic voting but the government needs only one opposition party to support the idea. The NDP and Bloc appear to be supportive of the governments approach to the resRead More – Source