NDP candidate Wayne Stetski for Kootenay East in the 2020 BC provincial election. (Scott Tibballs / The Free Press)

Federal budget could determine 2021 election: Stetski

The Liberal government could force an election as early as Spring

Newly-minted NDP candidate for Kootenay-Columbia, Wayne Stetski has said that a Spring Federal election is well and truly on the cards, pointing to the planned April 19th release of the Federal budget as a possible trigger.

“That will be an interesting day – we’ll know pretty quickly whether they want to force an election or not by what they put in the budget,” he said.

“(The Liberal government) could design it in such a way that the opposition partners including the NDP just cannot support it, and if so, it would be a non-confidence vote and we would shortly after that be into an election.”

The last election was only 18 months ago in October 2019. The next election must be held on or before October 2023.

READ MORE: Wayne Stetski confirmed as NDP candidate for Kootenay-Columbia

Stetski said there were a number of issues the NDP had been pushing for that were being blocked by both the Liberal government and the Conservative opposition, such as universal free pharmacare, changes to long-term care for seniors and debt forgiveness for students undertaking post-secondary education.

“There are lots of things that are really important to Canadians that neither the Liberals or Conservatives have supported over the last few months that have been put forward by the NDP,” he said, adding that on April 19, the NDP would be searching for ways to support those initiatives in the budget.

Stetski said that going into an election, the Federal NDP would be focusing on climate change as the over-arching issue facing Canadians, noting the recent vote by Conservative Party members to strip language acknowledging climate change from a policy resolution.

Current MP for Kootenay Columbia, Rob Morrison of the Conservative Party pushed back on the vote shortly afterwards, saying all members of the Conservative Caucus understood climate change was real – but Stetski said the spotlight was still on the party.

“So the question then becomes ‘what is the Conservative Party’s plan going forward?’ – and of course there is none yet.

“Governments absolutely need to show leadership, but individuals also need to show personal leadership if they truly believe in it, so it will be interesting to see what comes forward from the Conservatives and from Mr. Morrison.”

Stetski’s push in a possible campaign in the riding will be to present himself as the best progressive option on the ballot paper, saying he wanted progressive-minded voters from all parties to rally behind him.

“If you are a progressive voter and you want a progressive member of Parliament representing you in Ottawa, and you want a non-partisan public servant working for you every day here in the Kootenays, then I will be asking for your vote in the upcoming federal election.”

Wayne Stetski was previously the MP for Kootenay-Columbia in the 42nd Canadian Parliament between 2015 and 2019. He took the seat off Conservative MP David Wilks in 2015, and lost to incumbent Conservative MP Rob Morrison in the 2019 election.

READ MORE: ‘Climate change is real,’ says Conservative Kootenay-Columbia MP

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