It certainly feels like a federal election is looming.
The leaders of Canada's main federal parties, including Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Conservative Party Leader Erin O'Toole and NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh, have been touring the country as of late, with Trudeau recently making his first stop in Calgary since 2019 for an announcement pertaining to the city's Green Line LRT project. O'Toole visited Alberta, British Columbia and Saskatchewan last week, with intentions to tour parts of Atlantic Canada afterward.
Singh, meanwhile, was touring southwestern Ontario last week, and stopped in Alberta on the weekend to visit the Calgary Stampede.
These kinds of visits certainly point to some pre-election posturing. While Trudeau has dodged reporters' questions about the topic, the conditions right now are ripe for an election to be called, at least from the Liberal Party's perspective. With a minority government but increased popularity in the polls due to the recent success of Canada's vaccination rollout, Trudeau likely thinks he could increase Liberal support in an election this fall, and possibly win a majority.
Locally, we've seen some early campaign-style activity from the Maverick Party – a newly formed party that claims its sole focus is western Canada. Candidates for the right-wing party have already been named for the two ridings this newspaper covers – Banff-Airdrie and Bow River – with Banff-Airdrie candidate Tariq Elnaga recently hosting his first town hall.
When asked if he thinks an election is coming this fall, Bow River candidate Orrin Bliss said the Maverick Party is preparing for that scenario.
With Alberta's municipal elections already set for this October, voters might be busy in the fall, if a federal election is in fact called. Whether that results in political fatigue or heightened democratic fervour among voters is hard to predict. Albertans are coming out – hopefully – of what has been a long and tough pandemic. People may have politics on their mind, or they may feel like simply tuning the campaign rhetoric out entirely.