Conservative MP Dan Albas said he was surprised by initial feedback from some of his constituents favouring a federal election this fall.
Albas, who represents the Central Okanagan-Similkameen-Nicola riding, feels that opinion represents the level of frustration many voters have with Justin Trudeau’s scandal-plagued Liberal minority government.
“I was surprised given the pandemic we are in the interest there was in supporting a non-confidence motion going ahead,” Albas said.
“But I appreciate how our prime minister being so cavalier with our ethics laws really hits many Canadians in the gut…people face real concerns about daycare, schools reopening and income security while the Liberals seem more concerned about shuffling the chairs on the ‘Good Ship Government’ than actually doing their job.”
The possibility of a federal election was ignited last week when Bloc Quebecois leader Yves-Francois Blanchet said his party would introduce a non-confidence motion to bring down the government unless Trudeau, finance minister Bill Morneau and Trudeau’s chief of staff Katie Telford all quit.
Blanchet got part of his wish on Monday when Morneau announced his resignation from both cabinet and as a sitting Liberal MP.
Albas called Blanchet’s announcement political “grandstanding,” saying the Bloc was hoping to seize a potential opportunity to increase its support in Quebec at the expense of the Liberals.
“The We scandal has been very negative for the Liberals in Quebec and I expect the Bloc look at the poll numbers and see an opportunity to capitalize on that,” he said.
Albas said there are many factors that can bring down a minority government, not the least of which is the concern of holding a federal election in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic and a potentially crowded provincial election schedule.
“You can look at New Brunswick where the premier there has called for a fall election and due to the health risk circumstances, he said candidates will not be door knocking, or dropping off election literature due to COVID,” Albas said.
“And in B.C., John Horgan has not ruled out a fall election yet as well.”
Rather than a federal election, Albas takes the viewpoint the existing minority government should focus on “helping Canadians who face crippling financial issues and health concerns about their children returning to school in the fall.”
Albas said Parliament remains in a state of flux with Morneau’s resignation and the PM opting to prorogue the House of Commons until Sept. 23.
And there is the Conservative Party leadership race winding up with a winner announced by the end of August.
Albas declined to say which of the four leadership candidates he would vote for, noting his attention is focused right now on his committee duties and representing the wishes of his constituents.
“I believe each of the candidates are there for the right reason, and each brings different expertise to the table. Whoever wins, I believe we will come out of this as a united party,” he said.
The party leadership committee will announce the winner at the end of August.