Sunday, 7 September 2008

Federal Election Called

I am in Montreal on Crescent Street early Sunday morning after helping get more furniture to my son Daniel for his apartment here. Daniel is now in second year Political Science at Concordia University living in the most exciting part of the vibrant city of Montreal. There was to be a federal by-election here tomorrow Monday September 8 in Westmount Riding. It is a safe Liberal Riding and Canada's John Glenn, former astronaut Marc Garneau, was expected to win this safe Liberal seat. This and other by-elections that the Conservatives would lose formed the basis for Stephen Harper's early morning visit to the Governor General to pull the plug for these elections the next day, and for Parliament as a whole. The likely outcome is another minority Government but who will end up on top, if anyone, is a tough question. Economic conditions are deteriorating across the country and it would do Mr. Harper's party no good to wait. We can talk about the $3.5 Million wasted on the by elections and the $250 million cost of the national election, or the violation by PM Harper of his own law and principle of setting a fixed election date or the need for the Conservatives to avoid unpleasant committee hearings. That may be the talk for a day or two but the real issues will likely be the choice in styles of Leadership and the Green Shift carbon tax proposed by the Liberal opposition. Mr. Harper who has not stopped attacking Stephan Dion for over a year and a half says it will be a tough nasty election campaign which he expects to be dominated by unfair attacks on himself. Interesting strategy to attack and pretend the other guy is hitting you.
When the dust clears it may be the end for all four major party leaders who most likely will be unable to achieve their goals. That is part of the high price of a rushed unnecessary federal election for Canada. Bipartisanship is considered a virtue in American politics but is almost unheard of in Canadian politics. I predict that will change after the October 14 election when our four major parties (plus Greens?) will be forced to work together and stop campaigning for a while.

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