It was amusing to listen to federal NDP leader Jagmeet Singh call on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to cancel any notion of a pandemic election.
Trudeau’s federal Liberals are clearly on a snap-election footing, with regular spending announcements and cross-country road trips by key cabinet ministers.
Ottawa sources have told multiple news outlets that Liberal party candidates have been told to rent office space, while party staffers have been ordered to cancel any looming vacation plans.
The snap-election signs are everywhere and Singh doesn’t like it one bit.
“Bring your ministers back off the pre-campaign trail, recall the house and get back to work,” Singh wrote in a letter to the prime minister this week.
“The pandemic isn’t over,” Singh complained on Twitter (while making a pre-campaign swing of his own in Prince Edward Island, part of cross-Canada tour by the NDP leader).
“Calling an election is selfish,” Singh said.
My, my, what a difference 10 months can make in Singh’s attitude!
It was just last fall that British Columbia, home to Singh’s federal riding of Burnaby South, was plunged into a needless, mid-pandemic snap election.
That election was trigged by NDP Premier John Horgan, much to the chagrin of his opponents.
Just as Singh is complaining now about Trudeau, Horgan’s critics were fuming last year when he forced an election just as the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic was gathering pace.
“It’s absolutely irresponsible,” vented Andrew Wilkinson, a medical doctor and then leader of the B.C. Liberal opposition, at the time.
But none of that seemed to bother Singh, who enthusiastically hit the pandemic campaign trail in support of his provincial NDP colleagues.
In a video still posted on Facebook, Singh can be seen making a campaign stop last October for NDP candidate Katrina Chen.
“I’m hanging out out with Katrina Chen here in Burnaby!” the NDP leader says at a sidewalk rally as face-masked NDP supporters cheered.
“She’s amazing, passionate, she’s fighting for you,” Singh said. “Katrina, how do you feel?”
“I’m feeling great, especially with you here! Thank you Jagmeet!”
Where was the federal NDP leader’s pandemic worries back then?
Things sure are different when it’s your own party triggering an unnecessary election in a brazen power-grab attempt.
Just like Trudeau now, Horgan was governing with a minority last year when he saw a chance to snatch majority power, pandemic be damned.
Now, as Singh slams Trudeau’s copy-cat move, the federal New Democrats are trying to argue that Horgan was in a different position.
“The B.C. government was in the third year of a four-year term,” NDP MP Don Davies told me.
But that ignores the fact that Horgan had negotiated a power-sharing agreement with the third-place Green Party to keep him in power.
There was no danger of Horgan’s minority government falling, but he called a pandemic election anyway because he was leading in the polls, betraying his Green Party partners in the process.
Horgan ended up turning his minority into a majority, with Singh’s help on the B.C. campaign trail.
Now Singh is furious that Trudeau is trying to duplicate the same trick at the federal level.
Hypocritical? Just a touch, I’d say.
Mike Smyth is host of ‘The Mike Smyth Show’ on Global News Radio 980 CKNW in Vancouver and a commentator for Global News. You can reach him at email@example.com and follow him on Twitter at @MikeSmythNews.