Canada’s first Inuk Governor General, Mary Simon, has formally approved Liberal leader Justin Trudeau’s request to dissolve Parliament and trigger a snap federal election.
Election day will be Monday, September 20. The campaign will last the minimum length permitted by law of 36 days.
Sunday’s declaration had been widely anticipated. Even so, only two of the four major federal parties had candidates in place for the Northwest Territories by Sunday morning.
Liberal Michael McLeod, who has served as the NWT’s MP since 2015, will seek re-election. Kelvin Kotchilea, recently unsuccessful in his attempt to become the next Monfwi MLA, will run as the NDP’s candidate.
The Conservative Party said it was vetting prospective NWT candidates. The Green Party, in disarray nationally amid infighting related to new leader Annamie Paul, has yet to comment on a potential NWT candidate.
National polls give the Liberals 36 percent of the vote as the election period begins, with the Conservatives on 29 percent, NDP on 19 percent, the Bloc Québécois receiving seven percent, and the Greens five percent.
Without an early election, Canadians’ next trip to the polls would have been in October 2023.
Other parties have opposed the Liberals’ pursuit of an early election, seen as a bid by Trudeau to capitalize on his party’s favourable polling and seek a return to a majority government. Those parties in part argue that campaigning as the fourth wave of the Covid-19 pandemic hits southern Canada is irresponsible.
Sunday’s news came as the NWT government said community spread of Covid-19 may have been identified for the first time in the territory, in Fort Good Hope.
While major elections have taken place in five provinces and one territory since the pandemic began – British Columbia, New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia, Saskatchewan, and the Yukon – this will be the first since Covid-19 to be held across the Northwest Territories.