If there’s any question the current federal government’s days are numbered, look to North Vancouver.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was in Deep Cove on Thursday afternoon to film a campaign ad. Also on the makeshift set in Panorama Park was Burnaby North-Seymour Liberal MP Terry Beech and his family.
“I think the chances are relatively high that we're getting an October election. It’s kind of the country's worst-kept secret,” said Gerald Baier, a UBC poli-sci professor and North Vancouver resident. “When you're a minority government, the chance that you can turn that into a majority, even a squeaky majority, is almost too hard to resist.”
Deep Cove Kayak owner Bob Putnam said his staff were becoming curious in the afternoon when more and more RCMP members and “guys whispering into their lapels” started showing up. Eventually a large coach arrived and the Prime Minster got out. By then, crews had set up for filming and Trudeau recorded a video with Indian Arm in the backdrop.
Afterwards, he glad-handed with some crowds and posed for selfies.
Prime minister Justin Trudeau was in Deep Cove today for a photo shoot and I captured this from the water’s edge. I continued kayaking to Cates Park this evening. #JustinTrudeau #DeepCove #NorthVan #TerryBeech pic.twitter.com/fEauDAXD6s— sdeedeeduke(she/her) (@sdeedeeduke) July 9, 2021
Much has been made of Trudeau shaving his beard and getting a fresh haircut, Baier noted. MPs who are not planning to run again are making their farewell speeches. And big-ticket spending announcements – high-speed rail in Ontario and Quebec, $10-a-day childcare in B.C. and more than $1 billion for a Surrey SkyTrain – are coming in hot.
“For sure, the way they're rolling these things out, it looks very reminiscent of campaigning,” he said. “There's always the ability of a future government, if it's not the Liberals, to go back on these promises, because they're not obliged to stick with them.”
With the Conservatives failing to gain the traction they need or want, current polls suggest the Liberals stand a very good shot at replicating the BC NDP’s success from last year's provincial election, Baier said.
Despite the talk of elections being decided before the polls close in the West, B.C. has many ridings in play that he expects the parties to compete fiercely for.
“If the Liberals can do what the NDP did, and flip a few that are close, that really makes a big difference to their bottom line nationally,” he said.
Baier said he expects the Grits will be counting on Canadians’ euphoria from the economy opening up and giving the Liberals credit for getting the country through the pandemic.
Across the North Shore’s three federal ridings, the ballots are largely set. In West Vancouver-Sunshine Coast-Sea to Sky Country, Liberal incumbent Patrick Weiler will be defending his seat against former two-term Conservative MP John Weston, NDP challenger Avi Lewis and Green candidate Mike Simpson.
In Burnaby North-Seymour, Liberal incumbent Terry Beech is back on the ballot. Jim Hanson is seeking to take the riding for the NDP and Conservatives have nominated Kelsey Shein. A Green candidate has not yet been nominated.
In North Vancouver, Liberal MP Jonathan Wilkinson is being challenged by Conservative newcomer Les Jickling. As of Friday, the NDP’s nomination was still being contested with at least two names having been put forward and the Greens had not yet named a candidate.
In September 2019, Trudeau came to North Vancouver to shoot a campaign ad on the Grouse Grind.