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Canadians don’t seem to like early elections, at least not those called just for the political advantage of a sitting government. I offer as exhibits David Peterson’s Liberals in Ontario in 1990 and Jim Prentice’s Tories in Alberta in 2015. In both cases, parties with strong majorities looked at the polls, thought they could increase their power, so dropped the writs well before the customary four-year interval. In both cases the incumbents were surprised with resounding defeats to the NDP. Maybe the no-early-elections axiom doesn’t apply the same way to federal politics. Or perhaps voters are more forgiving of minority governments that go to the polls early. Either way, Justin Trudeau’s father, Pierre, pulled the plug early on his minority government in 1974 and was rewarded with a majority. A strong lead in the polls, though, does not always hold throughout an entire general election campaign, so government election strategists have to look for other factors before deciding whether voters are ready. In that regard, 2021 is even more favourable for the governing Liberals than 2019.

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