Canada: Protesters attend Justin Trudeau rally in Bolton
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In April 2017, former UK Prime Minister Theresa May called a “snap” general election in an attempt to strengthen her hand in Brexit negotiations, which shocked the nation as it came just two years after her predecessor David Cameron had won the previous nationwide poll. Under the Fixed-Term Parliaments Act, another general election had not been due until 2020. Early polls had suggested a Tory landslide and showed 20-percentage point gap between the Conservatives and Labour but it ended in disaster when the Conservatives saw their overall majority disappear after losing 13 seats.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who had comfortably led most major polls for more than a year and was praised by many for his handling of the Covid pandemic, finds himself facing a similar predicament and behind the rival Conservative Party.
The 49-year-old leads a minority Government following a humiliating election in 2019 and called a snap election in a daring attempt to force a stronger mandate to take Canada through the pandemic.
But a sharp surge in Covid cases and a contraction in the country’s economy has led to fierce criticism of Mr Trudeau, while many are also unhappy with his handling of the Afghanistan crisis after being accused of leading a sluggish evacuation of Canadian nationals and refugees.
The Prime Minister’s gender equality minister Maryam Monsef also recently sparked fury after calling the Taliban “brothers” at a press conference on the evacuation efforts.
Born to Afghan parents, she attempted to defend her comments, describing it as a “cultural reference”.
Increasing pressure on Mr Trudeau was all too evident last weekend when he was forced to suspend campaigning after unusually vocal protesters disrupted his election rallies.
Polling from aggregator 338Canada only gave the Prime Minister’s Liberals a 14 percent chance of winning a majority in the upcoming election – far below the 34 percent chance of a Conservative minority government, which would bring the curtain down on Mr Trudeau’s six years in power.
Recent polls have seen Canadians asked who they believe is the best person to lead the country out of the Covid pandemic.
Mr Trudeau gained just 23 percent of the vote, well behind New Democratic Party leader Jagmeet Singh on 33 percent and Conservative leader Erin O’Toole second on 31 percent.
The Prime Minister’s liberals have attempted to paint itself as the party of climate action but is so far failing miserably to control Canada’s carbon emissions, with greenhouse gas emissions rising 1 percent between 2015 and 2019, according to Government data.
The Conservatives have piled the pressure on Mr Trudeau, accusing him of making arbitrary” decisions that will hurt the economy.
Canada is the only G7 nation to record a slowdown in its respective economy over the previous quarter.
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The emergency financial relief measures that were introduced increased the federal deficit to an eye-watering C$343 billion, while debt will surpass C$1 trillion for the first time.
Conservative Party leader Erin O’Toole raged: “These reports give us a sobering reminder of the fragility of our economy.
“It confirms what Canadians already knew: under Justin Trudeau, Canada’s economy is getting worse, not better.”
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