One of the worst-kept secrets of the summer is days away from becoming a prime-time, coast-to-coast show, set against the backdrop of a pandemic.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is expected to trigger an election Sunday, by asking Gov.-Gen. Mary Simon to dissolve Parliament. A senior Liberal Party of Canada source, speaking on condition of anonymity, confirmed Thursday the prime minister’s plan, with the election expected to take place Sept. 20.
Election winds have been blowing steady and hard in Winnipeg over the last several weeks, with federal MPs making it rain money in their ridings — doling out tens of millions for projects, including three announced Thursday alone.
Winnipeg North MP Kevin Lamoureux and Crown-Indigenous Relations Minister Carolyn Bennett were at Ma Mawi Wi Chi Itata Centre's Gathering Place for Truth and Reconciliation, promising $180 million for new programs across Canada as part of calls to action from the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls.
Winnipeg South MP Terry Duguid was at The Forks to announce $519,600 in federal funding to support 10 new projects under Environment and Climate Change Canada’s Lake Winnipeg basin program.
Later in the day, Duguid was in Waverley West to announce $31.6 million in federal funding to build the long-awaited $80-million South Winnipeg Recreation Campus. The facility is to serve a community of 50,000 — roughly the population of Brandon.
Among the flurry of funding announcements in recent weeks was $1.2 billion for child care in Manitoba, announced Monday by federal Families Minister Ahmed Hussen, joined by Duguid and Winnipeg South Centre MP Jim Carr.
On Tuesday, Lamoureux joined Hussen on the roof of the Misericordia Health Centre parkade to announce $25.8 million from the National Housing Strategy’s co-investment fund to help build Misericordia Terrace, a 97-unit assisted-living centre under construction at 691 Wolseley Ave.
When asked Thursday about the timing of the pending election, Duguid said he couldn't comment on the date.
"In a minority government situation, an election can happen at any time and we have to be prepared," said Duguid, adding he's already been out door-knocking, as have "many others of all political stripes."
"I've lost a lot of elections in my time, so I've got to be ready — by being ready, that is doing good constituency work like I'm doing today," he said at the site of the South Winnipeg rec campus expected to begin construction in 2023.
An election can safely take place during a pandemic, Duguid said, noting he wears a face covering when door-to-door campaigning. "The chief public health officer said that an election can be conducted safely, as it has in other provinces over the last year."
The last general federal election took place Oct. 21, 2019, which resulted in a Liberal minority government. The Liberals have been in government since 2015.
The Liberals currently have 155 seats in the 338-seat House of Commons.
The Conservatives have 119 seats, Bloc Québécois has 32, the NDP 24, and the Greens have two. There are also five independents and one seat is vacant.
— with files from The Canadian Press
After 20 years of reporting on the growing diversity of people calling Manitoba home, Carol moved to the legislature bureau in early 2020.