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Editorial: Snap election

Have the past two years changed your opinion on the party/candidate you chose in 2019?
The House of Commons in the Canadian Parliament Building, in Ottawa, Ontario.

Prime minister Justin Trudeau has taken heat for calling a snap election during a pandemic. BC premier John Horgan endured the same ire in the early stages of the 2020 provincial election, which also saw a government forgo a fixed election date.

Many BC voters were upset then, as are many Canadians now, but British Columbians eventually moved onto issues of the day, which will likely be the case for the electorate in Canada over the coming week.

COVID-19 will be around for years, election or not, and the election is happening, like it or not. Having an opportunity to voice your opinion is always a good thing, especially when deciding who will represent our riding in Ottawa, and/or which party leader will be prime minister. If voting during a pandemic is a problem for anyone, it doesn’t get much safer than applying for a mail-in ballot, checking a box and sending it back.

With COVID-19, opioid-related overdoses, climate change, child care, infrastructure, taxes and the economy (to name a few) to talk and hear about, let’s set aside the fact that most citizens were not in the mood to go to the polls and embrace the dialogue and promises now coming at us in full force, via multiple mediums, from every party and candidate stepping forward to voice their opinions. Be informed, and voice yours, too.

In the upcoming federal election, five parties already have candidates named to contest the North Island-Powell River riding.

Rachel Blaney (NDP), who won the riding in 2019 and Port McNeill councillor Shelley Downey (Conservative Party), who finished second, will vie for the seat again. Comox human rights lawyer Jessica Wegg will run for the Green Party, Jacob Adams has entered the race for the People’s Party of Canada, and Stacey Gastis, a veterinarian from the Comox area, has joined the race as the Maverick Party candidate. The Liberal Party has yet to announce its candidate.

The September 20 election comes less than two years after the October 21 vote in 2019. Blaney won the riding with 37.8 per cent (23,481) of the votes, five percentage points ahead of Downey (20,131).

The Green Party’s Mark de Bruijn came third, earning 8,899 votes (14 per cent), and Liberal Peter Schwarzhoff came fourth, with 8,151 votes.

Trudeau asked governor general Mary Simon to dissolve parliament on August 15, triggering a 36-day campaign period.

When parliament dissolved, the Liberals held 155 seats, followed by the Conservatives (119). Bloc Quebecois held 32 seats, followed by the NDP (24) and Greens (two). Five MPs were sitting as independents, with one vacancy.

What will the breakdown be after September 20?

Who will you vote for? Have the past two years changed your opinion on the party/candidate you chose in 2019?