Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's Liberal Party held a recent virtual election readiness meeting with caucus members, riding association presidents and campaign managers. Some in the party saw it as an “unofficial kick off” of the next federal election, while others in the party saw it more as a regular preparatory meeting should a snap election occur, according to a report from The Hill Times.
Sources for The Hill Times told the outlet that Liberal Party president Suzanne Cowan and national director Azam Ishmael chaired the meeting. the two provided updates to riding association leaders, campaign managers and other volunteers about the current status of the party's election readiness and planning, and encouraged attendance at training sessions that would be made available to party candidates and volunteers.
Party sources that spoke to The Hill Times seemed to differ in their opinions of what exactly the meeting meant. A senior communications person for the Liberals told The Hill Times that the meeting was a regularly monthly occurrence, this instance just being one of many that have been happening.
“Monday evening’s call was one of a monthly series where the party’s president, national director, and other guest speakers provide an update for our EDA chairs, MPs, and other volunteer leaders across Canada about the party’s tools and resources to stay connected with Canadians in virtual ways that respect public health guidelines,” the spokesman told The Hill Times.
However, three others at the meeting told The Hill Times that these monthly meetings were news to them. Another source told the Ottawa-based outlet that while he didn't attend the recent meeting, but did attend one in the last few months, he hadn't been given any information to suggest these were regular happenings.
In early January, Trudeau acknowledged questions about a potential 2021 election while being interviewed on a Montreal-based radio station, CHOU 1450 AM. The prime minister pointed to the status of his minority government as a reason for the likely election.
“Our priority as a government is going to be helping people get through this pandemic and I hope the different opposition parties will help us … it’s not in our interests to have an election, people want us to work together to help them,” Trudeau said.
With the Liberals currently enjoying a sizeable lead in opinion polls, one source previously told The Hill Times that it looked like a spring election was the likely timeframe for 2021.