After much delay, the House of Commons finally rose for the summer on June 23, with a scheduled return of September 20. However, as has been reported nonstop in the media, an election will likely occur before the House of Commons returns.
There are many reasons why an election is likely to be called before Parliament returns. First, Members of Parliament who won’t be running in the next election have already delivered their farewell speeches. This includes long-term members like Wayne Easter, who has been the chair of the Finance Committee since 2015.
Second, it has become more difficult for the government to pass legislation in the House of Commons. While Liberal members likely would have been happy to rise the week of June 14, opposition delay tactics made them sit a whole extra week. The government could get four pieces of legislation passed in the final week, but some of them will never become law if an election is called.
Third, every political party has been ramping up its internal efforts to be prepared for a snap election. Every party has been nominating candidates in earnest across Canada and fundraising daily. The Liberals have also begun to move some of their key staff from ministerial offices to their party offices. Members of Parliament have been asked not to take a vacation in August or September. Read into that as you will.
The two most significant factors affecting when an election might be called are vaccines and polling. So far, vaccinations across Canada have been delivered at breakneck speed, allowing Canada to rise in the world rankings of countries that have provided doses. With 68 million doses expected to be delivered by midsummer, most Canadians will be fully vaccinated by the end of the season.
Where the polls sit is also very important. The Liberals have been on the edge of majority territory for months now, according to numerous polls. The Conservatives haven’t been able to make many strides, but the New Democrats have been able to gain a little traction. Because of the internal turmoil of the Greens, they’ve lost much of the traction they’ve gained over the years. All of this means fertile territory for the Liberals to call an election and attempt to earn themselves a majority government.
Finally, the last days of the House of Commons displayed the difficulties that the government has had with passing legislation. Being required to work with opposition parties makes it harder for the Liberals to deliver on their priorities. Furthermore, when opposition parties use delay tactics, such as trying to adjourn the House of Commons for the day at 10:00 in the morning, the government’s leadership becomes more frustrated than ever. Leaders have already begun delivering election-style speeches. Expect more of this as we get further into the summer.