The poll released Thursday showed that 43 percent of respondents would be “quite comfortable” voting in person. Thirty percent said they would be “more comfortable than uncomfortable”. Seven percent of respondents said they were “completely uncomfortable” with it, while 20 percent said they would be “more uncomfortable than comfortable”.
Conservative Leader O’Toole Says Calling Fall Election ‘Not My Priority’
In August, Bloc Québécois leader Yves-François Blanchet threatened to force an election in the fall if Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, his chief of staff Katie Telford and current former finance minister Bill Morneau did not resign following the WE Charity scandal.
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The Liberals only control a minority of seats in Parliament, which means they need the support of at least one other opposition party to pass laws and survive any confidence vote.
New Conservative leader Erin O’Toole previously told Global News that forcing a vote of confidence was “not my priority.”
But if the Conservatives head for an election, it can work in their favor.
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Canadians who voted Conservative in the last election were the most likely to feel “very comfortable” voting in person (66%), according to the poll. On the other hand, only 26% Eighty percent of those who voted for the NDP said they would be “very comfortable” with that.
The poll also showed differences in age, gender, and region for the question. Men aged 35 to 54 (56%) were much more likely than women aged 35 to 54 (37%) to be “very comfortable” voting in person in an election hypothetical.
Respondents who lived in Alberta (55%) were more likely to feel very comfortable voting in person than those living in British Columbia (35%).
“Alberta and the Liberals are just not doing very well, so they might be willing to run in elections just to attract a Conservative,” said Audrey Brennan, a doctoral candidate in political science at Laval University. at the Free University of Brussels.
As for Canadians who are uncomfortable voting in a hypothetical fall election, Brennan said that’s because voting during a pandemic is complex.
“Maybe it’s not that elections aren’t important, but rather, people want to face a pandemic before they talk about elections,” she explained.
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What would an election look like during COVID-19?
Despite the unknowns of a fall election, Election Canada is still preparing to vote during a pandemic.
“We are always ready to organize an election because we do not control when it happens,” said Elections Canada spokesperson Natasha Gauthier. “Because there is a minority government, an election can happen at any time.”
However, because of the coronavirus, she said the election would not be a carbon copy of October 2019 because there would be a lot of changes.
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Some changes that are already planned include: physical distance to polling stations; provision of masks for staff and voters; and provide single-use pencils.
Elections Canada would also remove “campus service voting,” as most colleges and universities primarily offer online courses.
Gauthier said the agency will also propose an amendment to the Elections Act to Parliament at the end of September.
One of the amendments is a two-day weekend voting period (Saturday and Sunday) instead of the usually single voting day on Monday.
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“Having to vote on weekends would mean that we will have access to polling stations that we generally do not have access to, such as large schools, so that people can socially distance themselves further,” she said. “We can also recruit more volunteers, because people have the flexibility to work on weekends.”
Gauthier said the concept of a two-day voting period would work the same as one: you will get a voting information card and it will tell you the location and times of the polling station.
The second major amendment that Elections Canada is considering is a change in the postal voting system.
She said Elections Canada expects an increase in mail ballots during the coronavirus, so they hope to extend the deadline.
“Ballots must be received before the end of polling day,” she said. “After that, it doesn’t matter. But we want the amendment to allow us to continue to accept postal ballots 24 hours after election day. “
How serious are the plans for the fall federal election?
Gautier said Elections Canada is closely monitoring New Brunswick as a learning tool, as it is the first province in Canada to send voters to the polls amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
New Brunswickers will head to the polls on September 14, and Elections New Brunswick has already reported a 50% increase in mail-in ballots from the previous election.
Regarding what Election Day will look like for the province, Elections New Brunswick said voters will be asked to apply hand sanitizer when entering the building, workers will be required to wear masks and , where possible, a social distance of two meters will be enforced.
The number of voters allowed in a polling station at any time will also be limited. Voters will be encouraged to bring a non-medical mask with them when they come to vote.
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