L. Ian MacDonald: Events have conspired against Trudeau and his early election gambit


Your response to a poll always depends on the question, but timing is also important, and the context looking forward is often unforeseeable. For example, seven respondents in 10 told pollster Nik Nanos at the end of July they didn’t want a summer election, but more than eight in 10 surveyed by Abacus Data in early August said that wouldn’t influence their vote. Well, “events, dear boy, events,” as Harold Macmillan famously said. And as it happens, events may be conspiring against Justin Trudeau, not for having dropped the writ when he did at the beginning of last week, but for what has been going on since. The Liberals’ “internals” evidently portended a majority, which is why they’ve limited the campaign to the minimum of five weeks. They could not have foreseen that only three days before the call, Dr. Theresa Tam, the federal government’s chief public health officer, would declare the official arrival of the fourth wave of the pandemic, driven by the Delta variant. In the last 18 months, she has become not only a familiar face to most Canadians, but a highly regarded and authoritative figure.

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