Ottawa – February 9, 2021 – Since last fall, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has been anxious for a federal election. His attempts to bring down the House of Commons failed due to NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh, but Trudeau is intent on trying again this spring.
Let it be known, now is not the time to fight a divisive election. COVID-19 continues to ravage the country with hospitals stretched near capacity and significant numbers of deaths continuing to devastate long-term care homes.
There was a feeling of hope when vaccines arrived and deployment underway, but we now know roll out plans were patchy and have since descended into chaos.
Despite plenty of time to prepare, the provinces have failed to implement accordingly with Canada’s vaccination rate dismally low, well behind many developed nations.
Companies like Pfizer recently announced a delay in new doses and the European Union is threatening protectionist measures, damaging vaccination efforts further as supplies dwindle.
People continue to struggle as the pandemic exposes the inequities of Canadian society with women, Indigenous and racialized peoples bearing the brunt of its economic fallout.
The lack of paid sick days forces many to work, even when ill. Due to pressure from NDP leader, Jagmeet Singh the Trudeau government made changes to EI that gives $500 per week, for a maximum of two weeks, to individuals unable to work due to COVID-19 illness or exposure. However, paid sick days supplemented by the provinces is still a critical missing link.
The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated the need for affordable housing, universal childcare, pharmacare, increased mental health services and an end to for-profit long term-care.
Minority governments are difficult, but they can work. NDP leader Jagmeet Singh has demonstrated how to effectively leverage political support in a minority government that put people and small businesses first.
We do not need an election where political parties focus on attacking each other or give opportunities for Trudeau to rehash unkept commitments like universal childcare or ending boil water advisories on First Nation reserves.
What we need is an all-party focus on making parliament work by addressing these important issues: then and only then, can we talk about elections.