By Steve Scherer
OTTAWA (Reuters) -After a raucous start to the year and on the heels of a pandemic election that most voters did not want, a deal between Trudeau’s ruling Liberals and their leftist rivals to keep power until 2025 may offer a measure of political stability for Canadians, analysts said.
Already this year a trucker protest brought gridlock to Canada’s capital and blocked trade at a vital border crossing, prompting Trudeau to invoke rare emergency powers just after the main opposition Conservatives ousted their leader.
With Canada the home to the biggest Ukrainian diaspora outside of Russia, war in Ukraine and hitting the two-year mark of the COVID-19 pandemic is further fueling anxiety.
“Canadians are feeling very uncomfortable right now. A message of stability is not a bad thing,” said Darrell Bricker, chief executive officer of pollster Ipsos Public Affairs.
The deal with the left-leaning New Democrats on Tuesday means the Trudeau government is likely to remain in power for years to come. Minority governments like the current one normally last only a couple years.
“With everything that we’ve gone through over the past few years, to see more bipartisanship emerge I think will be welcomed by a lot of voters,” said Karl Belanger, the former national director of the New Democrats.
Stability is also good for a tarnished Trudeau, who has been in power seven years but has failed to win a majority in the past two elections, including last September.
He can now try to get his top agenda items – like spurring green technologies and cutting emissions – off the ground without worrying his government will suddenly collapse.
As one government source put it, the Liberal-NDP deal “is a good way to give up nothing and get stability and predictability. … It means I have job security”.
Garry Keller, a Conservative strategist at public affairs consultancy StrategyCorp, said the Liberals “get the stability that they wanted.”
While Trudeau may be the immediate benefactor, it also gives the Conservatives more time to imbed a new leader after their convention in September.
Whoever becomes the fourth Conservative leader in seven years can “not only get ready for an election, but introduce themselves and build a narrative with Canadian voters,” Keller said.
For the New Democrats, who have never held federal power, the move may allow leader Jagmeet Singh to convert policies he has long promoted into reality, including dental care for low earners and a national prescription drug coverage program.
But as Belanger pointed out, the true winner from the deal “we’ll see only when we when we have an election,” and now that could be in 2025.
(Reporting by Steve Scherer; editing by Jonathan Oatis)