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Canadian snap election unlikely despite opposition threats, expert says

A voter marks a ballot behind a privacy barrier in the riding of Vaudreuil-Soulanges, west of Montreal, on election day, Monday, Oct. 19, 2015. THE CANADIAN PRESS IMAGES/Graham Hughes

Expert says it's unlikely Canadians will actually have to vote in a federal election this fall

The leader of the Bloc Québécois has threatened to force an election over the WE scandal

Liberals are still well ahead in the polls and other opposition parties simply aren't prepared for an election: expert

OTTAWA – While an opposition party is threatening to try and take down the Trudeau government this fall, political observers say Canadians shouldn’t worry about a the possibility of a physical distance vote any time soon.

You can never say “never” in politics, but some experts say it’s highly unlikely Canadians will have to line up at the polls in the next few months.

The Bloc Québécois has threatened to move a non-confidence motion against the Trudeau Liberals unless the prime minister and finance minister resign over the WE Charity controversy.

Stephanie Plante, a political analyst teaching at Carleton University, says the Liberals are still well ahead in the polls and other opposition parties simply aren’t prepared for an election.

“The NDP doesn’t really have the momentum, the numbers, or the finances right now to go into an election,” Plant explains, adding while the Conservatives will have a new leader at the end of this month, that person will need time to boost support, build a team, and develop strategy.

“Their leadership campaign, it’s getting some headlines but it’s not exactly front-page news all the time, so they’re going to want to build some momentum behind their leader, whoever that is, and October’s not the time to do it.”

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Current Tory Leader Andrew Scheer is slated to step down from his position at the end of August.

Plante notes the Bloc teamed up with Stephen Harper and Jack Layton in 2005 to take down the Paul Martin government, but says that situation differs from the current one.

“That was because of the sponsorship scandal and I agree that it is noteworthy that we have this WE Charity scandal, but in the end, what the Liberals’ big card will be is that there wasn’t actually a scandal,” Plante explains. ”

There could have been one, but they recused themselves, they cut the contract short, they had open debates about it in Parliament, so if they are going to force an election on the issue, it’s not comparable to the sponsorship scandal in the sense that the money wasn’t spent.”

She adds polling on the COVID-19 pandemic has found repeatedly that many Canadians believe the Liberals have handled the health crisis well, and that a second wave is likely coming.

“That will make people even more reluctant to head physically into polling stations and physically vote in an election. We already see what’s happening in the U.S. with those options,” Plante says.

The Liberals need the support of just one opposition party to survive any confidence test.