Stephen Harper did it once. His opponents suspect he’ll do it again.
The original deed was in 2008, when the prime minister called an election a year ahead of the October 19, 2009, date provided in 2007 legislation that his Conservative government introduced. Another election followed in 2011, though not at Harper’s choosing, when his administration fell on a nonconfidence motion in Parliament.
By law, the next election should be on October 19, 2015, but those in the opposition are preparing to hit the hustings in the spring.
Don Davies, NDP MP for Vancouver Kingsway, believes that Harper will make a move after he delivers the federal budget in February.
“If he brings in the budget and it’s a surplus, it allows Harper to kind of craft—at least attempt to craft—the ballot question as he launches the campaign,” Davies told the Straight in a phone interview.
According to Davies, the prime minister will likely want to define the question theme as: “Conservatives would rather give money back to hard-working Canadians and try to frame the NDP and the Liberals as being, you know, big spenders who would rather put that money into government programs”.
Liberal Vancouver Quadra MP Joyce Murray indicated that her party will be prepared regardless.
“Either way, Liberals will be ready when the election is called,” Murray told the Straight by phone. “We’ve been working hard to nominate people right across the country.”
Greens in Burnaby South are also preparing. Nominations have to be submitted by the middle of this month, according to the riding association’s chief executive, Carrie McLaren.
McLaren ran for the Greens in the past, but she told the Straight by phone that she’s thinking of sitting out this time.