The Canadian federal election campaign is underway as of this past weekend. Canadians are complaining about the lengthy election season (2.5 months) that resulted from Harper dissolving Parliament earlier than required. Count your blessings, Canadians. There are 15 months to go until the next U.S. presidential/congressional election (Nov. 2016) and the campaign in the U.S. has already been going on for months. Relatively short election campaigns are a blessing of the parliamentary system.
All three main parties have shot at forming government as Harper kicks off election campaign
Jordan Press, The Canadian Press | August 2, 2015 5:47 PM ET
OTTAWA — Canada faces a “critical decision” about its best way forward, Stephen Harper said Sunday as he triggered what promises to be one of the longest, most expensive and most bitterly fought election battles in the country’s political history.
As tourists swarmed Parliament Hill and blinding summer sunshine bathed Rideau Hall, Harper emerged to confirm that Gov. Gen. David Johnston had indeed dissolved Parliament, launching the longest campaign in Canada since 1872.
He wasted no time trying to frame the so-called ballot-box question.
“Canadians will make a critical decision about the direction of our country, a decision with real consequences, a decision about who has the proven experience today to keep our economy strong and our country safe,” Harper said.
“I will be asking Canadians for their support to continue to deliver sound economic management and to take the difficult decisions necessary to protect our country’s security.”
A national election “is not a popularity contest,” he added — presumably a reference to Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau, who now has just 11 weeks to silence those critics who have long accused him of being more sizzle than steak.
Heading into the campaign, the Conservatives find themselves lagging behind Tom Mulcair and the NDP in the polls, with the Liberals running third. But make no mistake: for the first time since anyone can remember, all three main parties have a legitimate shot at forming a government after Oct. 19.
Across the Ottawa River in Gatineau, Que., with the emblematic Peace Tower looming in the distance, Mulcair called for change on Parliament Hill after nearly a decade of Conservative rule.
“Wages are falling, incomes are stagnant and household debt is skyrocketing … middle class families are working harder than ever but can’t get ahead,” Mulcair said.
“The economy has shrunk in each of the last five months and many are claiming that Canada is already in another recession … clearly, Mr. Harper, your plan isn’t working.”
In Vancouver, Trudeau accused the Conservatives of planning to grow the economy by making “wealthy people wealthier.” The election, he said, is about which party can give middle class Canadians a real and fair chance to succeed.
“You want change that works for you,” Trudeau said.