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Trudeau eyes B.C. seats ahead of rumoured election, political expert says

Last Updated Jul 8, 2021 at 12:50 pm PDT

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau holds a press conference at Rideau Cottage in Ottawa on Tuesday, June 22, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick

Political scientist says B.C. holds a lot of appeal if the PM is looking ahead to an election

Hamish Telford says MP Jody Wilson-Raybould's seat is one the Liberals want to get back

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – As the prime minister tours Metro Vancouver Thursday, one of his former cabinet ministers has issued a scathing rebuke of his office, while announcing her decision not to run in the next federal election.

Jody Wilson-Raybould has announced her intention to step away from federal politics, calling Parliament “toxic and ineffective.”

Political scientist Hamish Telford with the University of the Fraser Valley says while the prime minister is not officially campaigning at the moment, he notes Wilson-Raybould’s decision not to run in her Vancouver riding is likely “music” to Justin Trudeau’s ears. He says the route to a majority government is through Quebec and B.C., and a former Liberal riding has a lot of appeal.

“I’m sure that’s a seat they very much want to get back. But there are other seats around Vancouver that the Liberals will be eyeing very closely in heavy battles with the NDP,” Telford said.

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That battle appears to be already underway. Both federal Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole and federal NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh have announced similar Canadian stops this week.

Telford says the prime minister will likely try to get support from B.C. Premier John Horgan on several issues, including the Canada-U.S. border closure. The professor says the shutdown has been felt in B.C.’s tourism sector, an industry that is crucial for the provincial economy.

Telford believes provinces have been urging Trudeau to reopen the border to allow that sector to rebound.

“We have just seen this week the slightest easing of border travel to those who are fully vaccinated but I think premiers, our premier, would like to go further on that,” Telford said, noting that one of the biggest concerns is the Delta COVID-19 variant, which may be motivating Trudeau to keep the border partially closed.

He says other issues that remain top of mind are child care and post-pandemic recovery. He says the prime minister will try to connect with B.C. voters on those issues to garner support ahead of a possible election call.

Trudeau was recently asked if he will call for an election, to which he did not confirm or deny.