Regardless of where you are in North America, we can likely agree on one thing: COVID-19 has changed how we behave, and politics is no exception.
Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, there have been numerous provincial elections across Canada; and as the federal budget release looms closer, it has many asking whether an election will be called or not.
So where are we at when it comes to our political climate? Meagan Murdoch of National Public Relations (National PR) says it’s varied. A recent white paper published by National PR, titled A complete overview of Canada’s key political conversations in 2021, shows just that.
“The white paper was a project of at least two dozen consultants from across Canada,” explains Murdoch. “That’s the number of people that it takes to put together something like this. To actually analyze province by province what is happening, who are the key players, what questions will be asked in the near and medium term. So looking at the climate, it’s very much mixed, and takes a lot of hands and minds to figure out what is happening across the country right now.”
Part of understanding the climate, is also understanding the shift that is currently occurring, explains Murdoch. From around April/May of 2020, till the end of the calendar year, political parties were riding the “we’re all in this together” motif. Many were surprised with how long — and well — different ideologies worked together.
“Here in Ontario, it was pretty surprising really, how well Premier Doug Ford, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, and Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland have been getting on this past year. It was remarkable. And it was needed. It was required. There wasn’t a choice. To be partisan, I think Canadians wouldn’t have stood for that given what we were going through,” Murdoch notes.
However, that level of cooperation is beginning to change as COVID-19 changes as well.
“I do feel a changing tide now though: vaccines are here, the immediate threat — particularly in our long term care facilities — has been mitigated with vaccination distribution to those homes. So people are starting to go back to their ways, and those partisan ways to be like ok, we’re getting through this, now what. So I feel like we are seeing a reversal in that aspect,” she explains.