With the end of the crisis will come the time to settle scores. And there, the government will have to answer for its actions, will have to answer for the size of the deficit.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Chrystia Freeland have repeatedly said they are prepared to do whatever is necessary to help Canadians, for as long as it takes, until the pandemic ends.
The aid programs were generally well received by the population, and continued into the new year. Stéphanie Chouinard, assistant professor in the department of political science at the Royal Military College of Canada, argues that these cannot last forever, and the federal government will then have to make choices.
If he decides to terminate these programs too quickly, then he could lose popularity, but if the bill turns out to be too high, then voters could make him pay. So it’s gonna be tough choices one way or another, analyzes the expert.
What is special is that we have not had a real federal budget since 2019. In terms of budgetary control, for me, there is a problem. I would say that the challenge, we will see it during the first budget of this government since the election, underlines Eric Montigny, professor in the political science department at Laval University.
The delicate situation of the opposition parties
The task will not be easier in the new year for the opposition parties, who will have to try to make their mark against a federal government that was omnipresent in 2020.
Geneviève Tellier, from the School of Political Studies at the University of Ottawa, believes that the challenge will be all the greater for Conservative leader Erin O’Toole, who will have to define his vision of tax issues. without alienating voters.
For me, I find the biggest challenge is for the right, she believes.
How do I say: I am fiscally responsible, but I am not cutting into the essential services that the population needs? That will be complicated to articulate, she analyzes.
The Conservatives, in particular, are not able to say what they would have done differently, and I think people in their minds have the impression that the Conservatives would not have been as generous as the Liberals.
For her part, Ms. Chouinard believes that the challenge will be just as great for the New Democratic Party (NDP), which will have to stand out in the new year.
Jagmeet Singh, his days may be numbered, especially if he is unable to defend the existence of the NDP party at a time when it is being eaten up on its back by both the government in place, and by the Green Party and its new leader, she believes.
The vaccination campaign
These political reflections, of course, will be conditional on the success of the vaccination campaign.
It is certain that the reception of the few thousand first vaccines, it is not the panacea. We will have to see in the medium and long term, how long it will take before a critical mass of Canadians is vaccinated and until then, we are not out of the woods., warns Ms. Chouinard.
Even if the provinces are in charge of vaccinating their populations, Mr. Montigny predicts that the Liberal government of Justin Trudeau will be judged on the success of the vaccination campaign in Canada compared to its allies.
A fundamental issue, I think, will be Canada’s ability to come out of the crisis quite similar to that of other countries. If, for example, the United States is out of the crisis two months before us because it has a vaccine production capacity, there is political pressure that will increase significantly., he said.
Depending on the success of the vaccination campaign and the outcome of the crisis that will follow, 2021 could also be synonymous with an early federal election. This scenario is to be expected if the opposition parties bring down the government or if it judges that it is time to visit Julie Payette.
Ms. Tellier foresaw that an election sooner rather than later would benefit the incumbent government.
Political scientists, we are talking about myopic voters.
That is to say, we just look at the short term, we do not see the long term. So what happened a long time ago, we remember less than now. And the further we move away from crisis management, the less we will be interested in the government that managed the crisis, she predicts.
We will see it with the budget if they really want to go to an election. There, they will put measures in the budget that will be more difficult to get other parties to accept., she concludes.