Next month, international leaders will elect two new countries to the United Nations’ Security Council (UNSC). Canada’s campaign for one of those spots has occupied a considerable amount of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s time, and taxpayer money, at a moment when many would argue domestic issues should be the sole priority.
A global pandemic, record unemployment and ballooning debt are enough to make even the most tuned-in Tories forget about the big news happening within its own Party: the forthcoming Conservative leadership election. But even in the midst of a generational crisis, it’s hard to shake the feeling that the race would still be a snooze in the absence of these events.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is riding high in the polls, the Opposition is disorganized, and we’re in a minority Parliament, which means it is time to start Ottawa’s favourite parlour game: Election Speculation.
After weeks of federal politicians getting along for the greater good, the swift, sneaky introduction of changes to firearms ownership in Canada has proven that political collaboration has its limits.
If you’re a believer that everything is political (even a pandemic), it is hard to ignore the healthy polling bump the crisis has created for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. With support high for the Liberals, it seems increasingly likely that the government’s minority mandate will edge effectively into majority territory as Opposition parties are forced to think carefully about challenging a popular prime minister with an election.
With Ottawa indicating many weeks more of isolation are in store before reopening Canada’s economy, some of Canada’s provincial leaders are content to go it alone, threatening to reignite tensions between the Trudeau government and the provincial premiers.
Nimble isn’t a word many would use to describe Canada’s parliament. But a silver lining to the COVID-19 crisis may be a modernized federal government, which should persist post-pandemic.
Government institutions around the world including Canada are grappling with the logistical challenge of governing while also physical distancing. In a parliamentary democracy that depends on opposing sides fiercely debating ideas, this is easier said than done. And while the challenges posed by moving processes online isn’t new to the Government of Canada (Phoenix pay system, anyone?), COVID-19 has brought a new urgency to bringing Parliament up to speed.
The federal government has announced a flurry of government programs in the last two weeks, all designed to support Canadians and businesses during the COVID-19 storm. The intention to help is clear, but the hoops through which families, workers and business owners need to jump are anything but. The resulting confusion has seen businesses – from start-ups to restaurants – unable to get the financial assistance required to continue operating.