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COVID-19: Bloc Québécois leader says next federal election campaign could begin in mid-August 

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Bloc Québécois Leader Yves-François Blanchet says he sees an opening to begin the next federal election campaign on Aug. 16 if the COVID-19 pandemic is under control.

That timeline would ensure the federal vote doesn’t interfere with municipal elections that are to be held across Quebec in November, Blanchet told a virtual meeting with an association representing Quebec cities and towns.

“It would seem to me to be highly disrespectful for a federal election to interfere with municipal elections,” Blanchet, whose party holds 32 seats in the minority Parliament, told the gathering in French.

“It opens a window that opens quite squarely on Aug. 16. I’m not saying that’s when it’s going to happen, but we can’t rule it out.”

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The Bloc leader’s suggestion comes a day after his party tabled a motion in the House of Commons demanding Prime Minister Trudeau not call an election during the pandemic.

Blanchet has repeatedly warned Trudeau against holding a vote during the health crisis.

The purpose of the Bloc’s motion, Blanchet said Friday, was to force a debate and a vote on the election date, as the Trudeau government sought to limit debate on Bill C-19, which aims to ensure a vote can be safely conducted during the pandemic.

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Bill C-19 passed by a vote of 330-1 at second reading Tuesday, with the support of the Bloc members, who said they wanted the legislation to move to committee for study.

Blanchet said the government shouldn’t be attempting to force through a bill that would permit an election to be held during the pandemic, adding that the bill isn’t necessary if the pandemic is under control.

“If there is a pandemic, we don’t have an election and if the pandemic is controlled, we don’t need a law to hold an election during the pandemic,” he said. “Let’s be logical.”

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