A motion by the opposition for “elections during the pandemic” was carried in the House of Commons, resulting in the suspension of federal elections indefinitely.
The motion, which Bloc MP Alain Therrien initially put forward, stated: “Holding an election during a pandemic would be irresponsible. It is the responsibility of the government to make every effort to ensure that voters are not called to the polls as long as this pandemic continues.”
Canadian parliament carried the motion with 327 - 1 to suspend elections during the pandemic. On May 25th, MPs adopted the Bloc Quebecois’ motion to suspend elections, citing that it was irresponsible to hold elections during the Covid-19 pandemic. Ontario Independent MP Derek Sloan was the only vote against the motion.
Part of the argument included that since the outbreak of Covid-19 in Canada, more than 1.3 million Canadians have contracted the virus, with nearly 25,000 people dying as a result. Canadians, MPs have decided, are not in the mood to vote.
Liberals attempted to amend the motion to state that it was the responsibility of “all parties” to avoid a pandemic election, but the Bloc rejected the amendment.
Jagmeet Singh, NDP leader, has stated that if the Liberals were provoking an election, it would be because they “want more power.” Singh also clarified that an election in the country’s current state would not benefit the Canadian people and provinces still suffering from rising Covid-19 cases. “It would be irresponsible and unsafe for Canadians,” he stated on May 25th.
A general election was held in October of 2019. The next and 44th scheduled general election is to take place in October 2023. The current motion, however, would see this postponed amid a prolonged Covid-19 situation. MPs agreed on the suspension of an election until after the pandemic, but the “ending” of the pandemic and what that means was not specified.
Justin Trudeau’s response to whether or not they would wait until getting the green light from the World Health Organization was: “nobody wants an election before the end of this pandemic.”