Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced the beginning of the 42nd federal election campaign on Aug. 2, after a meeting with the Governor General where he asked for parliament to be dissolved.
“This is an election about leadership on the big issues that affect all Canadians: the economy and our country’s security,” said Harper in a news release. “Given the serious economic and security issues facing the world, it is appropriate that Canadians should have time to consider the alternatives before them.”
Harper went on to say that an election isn’t a popularity contest but a genuine choice between practical, serious and real-world experience and a dangerous approach that has failed before and is failing in other countries. The federal Conservatives state that while the global economy remains unstable, Canada has continued to perform well compared to other G7 countries.
This will mark the longest federal campaign in more than a century and some speculate that Harper called the election in order to take advantage of the sizable Conservative war chest while his opponents won’t be able to afford campaigning as extensively.
In an article from cbc.ca, former head of Elections Canada Jean-Pierre Kingsley says Prime Minister Stephen Harper is “gaming the system” with an early election call and the result is parties with less money are politically disadvantaged.
“What it does is completely distort everything we’ve ever fought for, everything we’ve established as rules,” Kingsley said.
On the topic of national security, the Prime Minister says that Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau doesn’t have the experience and maturity to handle the increasing threats posed by jihadi terrorists at home and abroad. He also criticized NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair’s ideological foreign policy, which opposes Canada’s mission against ISIS and Canada’s efforts to assist Ukraine against Russian aggression.
“Our well-being depends on the economy and the wrong leader will do real harm,” Harper said. “Now is not the time for the kinds of harmful economic schemes that are doing so much damage elsewhere in the world. Now is the time to stay on track and stick to our plan.”
On July 30 associate director of the Conference Board of Canada Matthew Stewart said that Canada is an a recession from a GDP standpoint, noting that two consecutive quarters of negative growth is “typically the definition of recession.”
As of Aug. 2 Lloydminster’s options for candidates fall between Shannon Stubbs of the Conservative Party, Libertarian Allen K.W. Paley and the NDP’s Duane Zaraska in Alberta’s new Lakeland riding. On the Saskatchewan side, incumbent Conservative Gerry Ritz of the Battlefords-Lloydminster riding remains uncontested.
Voters will go to the polls on Oct. 19 to determine the country’s fate for the next four years.