Predictions 2021: Election on the horizon in Canada

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      Election fever is in the air in Ottawa.

      That’s because if Prime Minister Justin Trudeau can add a few seats to the Liberal side of Parliament, he may be able to form a majority government, just like his friend John Horgan in Victoria.

      Premiers were also reelected with majorities in Saskatchewan and New Brunswick.

      Here are three predictions for the coming year in federal politics.

      Liberals will force an election

      Trudeau wants to go to the polls while he’s still benefitting politically from his actions as prime minister during the pandemic. Sooner or later, the bills will become due for all the multibillion-dollar programs, including the federal wage subsidy and the Canada Emergency Response Benefit.

      If Trudeau succeeds in forcing an election, the Liberals will likely win a majority. And the Conservatives just might wind up looking for their third leader in four years if Erin O’Toole loses badly.

      In Vancouver, the Liberals will hold their seats in Vancouver Centre, Vancouver South, and Vancouver Quadra while mounting a tough but unsuccessful challenge against independent Jody Wilson-Raybould in Vancouver Granville.

      Jenny Kwan and Don Davies will hold their seats on the East Side of Vancouver in a smaller NDP caucus after the election. Burnaby South MP and NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh and Burnaby–New Westminster MP Peter Julian will each survive to fight another election.

      But yet another NDP slaughter in Quebec and the Maritimes will have the pundits questioning the party's long-term viability at the federal level.

      Trans Mountain Pipeline

      Pipeline follies

      The price of oil will remain less than US$60 all year, raising more questions about the financial viability of the oilsands.

      Compounding this problem will be the Biden administration's cancellation of the $8-billion Keystone XL pipeline project, which is supposed to bring Alberta’s diluted bitumen to the United States.

      The cost of the $12.6-billion Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project will go up again, caused by construction delays engineered by imaginative environmentalists.

      As a result, the Trudeau cabinet’s decision to buy the Trans Mountain system from Kinder Morgan in 2018 will look increasingly foolish this year. But it won’t prevent Trudeau from winning his second majority government.

      Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland's budget deficit is expected to reach $381 billion by the end of the fiscal year.

      Currency concerns

      The Canadian dollar has remained stable as oil prices have risen later this year. But it’s a very fragile situation because huge government deficits elevate the chance of investors fleeing the loonie.

      It doesn’t take much: a crash in oil prices or a global crisis that causes a flight to the U.S. dollar can drive down the Canadian dollar.

      The extradition of Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou to the United States will take place, barring a last-minute deal between the Biden administration and her legal team. And if she's sent to the U.S. to face trial, that will cause a furious reaction from China that could also affect the Canadian dollar over time.

      Whenever the dollar falls in comparison to the U.S. greenback, food prices rise. They’ve already been increasing recently.

      All of this will force Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland to answer more questions about the Canuck buck in 2021 than she ever did in 2020.

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