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Canadian political parties' election preparations well underway

Last Updated Aug 9, 2021 at 2:02 pm EDT

A sample ballot box is seen ahead of the 2019 federal election at Elections Canada's offices in Gatineau, Que., Friday, Sept. 20, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang

Federal political parties are already preparing their election campaigns

A possible fourth wave of COVID-19 means parties have to be nimble in their plans and leader tours

Justin Trudeau could call an election any day

OTTAWA (NEWS 1130) – Canada could be just days away from a federal election call, and political parties are already working behind the scenes to make sure they’re prepared for the campaign fight.

Planning an election is a major logistical challenge according to Duane Bratt, a political scientist with Mount Royal University, and parties have to spend weeks preparing before the writ is dropped.

“It’s millions of dollars,” he said. “You’ve got large numbers of staff, you’ve got leaders’ tours that are mapped out, you’ve got ground wars and air wars and signs.”

Parties also have to make sure they have candidates nominated and vetted for as many of the 338 ridings they can manage.

“You need to get leases for offices and every single riding, you need to nominate all your candidates, they need to make sure the financing is in place with the local riding association,” said Stephanie Plante, a political scientist with Herizon Democracy.

Political parties will try to finalize dates and locations for their leader’s tour as well as landing contracts for online, TV, and radio ads, all while putting the finishing touches on the policy promises, Plante says.

Possible fourth wave of COVID-19 to complicate campaigns

With a fourth wave of COVID-19 on the horizon, there are more uncertainties that could lead to parties producing more contingency plans than normal and developing better strategies to reach voters due to fewer in-person events.

“Candidates are going to be doing a lot of things virtually. It’s definitely going to be a different election from what we saw in 2019,” Plante said.

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Bratt adds no party is fully prepared when the call comes and campaigns are a work in progress until voting day.

“There’s a lot of moving parts and nobody’s going to be ready completely,” he said.

There are currently more than 10,000 active cases of COVID-19 across Canada. To date, more than 50.5 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines have been administered in this country, with 62.1 per cent of the population fully vaccinated.

Earlier this month, federal Health Minister Patty Hajdu reiterated an election could be held safely, despite the threats of a fourth wave of COVID-19. She said every province and territory’s pandemic situation is unique and political parties must take that into account on the campaign trail.

The minister wouldn’t speculate on the timing of a campaign. There was speculation Trudeau would ask the Governor General to drop the writ this past weekend, however, as of Monday, there had been no news from Rideau Hall.

Early polls put Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s Liberals in the lead, however, experts warn it is likely too early to know the outcome of an upcoming election. The Liberals hope to secure a majority, after they failed to secure enough seats in 2019 to gain full control of the parliamentary agenda.