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Back to the Future! As the nation lurches ever closer to a widely expected election call, the COVID-19 pandemic appears to be quickly receding in our collective rearview mirror. Traffic clogs our highways like bad cholesterol. Dogs howl with anxiety as their owners mysteriously disappear. A million sourdough starters have been left to die. Pre-pandemic life is back, baby, and Canadians are hell-bent on living it. What does this mean for our politicians? With a clean shave and rolled-up shirtsleeves, Justin Trudeau might well be channelling a little old-school Michael J. Fox — and with reason. According to a new poll by Ipsos, Canadians’ top concerns are health care, affordability and cost of living, climate change and the economy — the same issues they listed before COVID upended their lives in early 2020. “I think a lot of strategists were thinking that the government’s performance during COVID would be the big feature element of this campaign,” opined Ipsos President Darrell Bricker. Instead, “what was previously urgent is now being displaced by what was previously most important.” For the Liberals, this is both good and bad news.

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