Just 44 days will pass from the time Prime Minister Stephen Harper called this federal election to the General Election on Tuesday, Oct. 14.
Traditionally, snap election calls like this have been defined by wedge issues and political expediency. The 2006 election was about the Liberal sponsorship scandal as well as the resurgence of a united Conservative Party. The 2008 election represents the Conservative Party�s call for a new mandate heading into challenging economic times, as well as an opportunity to win a majority in the House of Commons.
But for an election that many Canadians don�t think should have been called, and that goes against the Conservative Party�s own law that fixed election dates, it has become an election about some very serious issues.
Concerns about the economy have taken centre stage. Consumer protection laws, spurred by a listeriosis outbreak and the tainted baby formula scandal in China, have also made headlines, as have issues like the Canadian mission to Afghanistan, funding for the arts, urban crime, and our national approach to environmental issues like climate change. Health care, usually a core issue in Canadian politics, has barely caused a ripple this time around.
It�s been an interesting campaign. We�ve had candidates from all parties making serious gaffes, while Internet searches revealed far more about our candidates and their pasts than many of them would have liked.
The Green Party, which achieved official party status after the 2006 election, finally earned a place in the national leaders debates with some help from Whistler�s Member of Parliament, Blair Wilson, who was sitting as an independent before joining the Greens on the eve of the election.
Stephen Harper�s Conservative Party will need 155 seats to form a majority in the 308 seat House of Commons. If not, Canada will likely have its third straight minority government since 2004.
Deciding who to vote for is always a personal decision, but judging by the polls this year, and past swings, a large number of Canadians are ready to change their minds.
The West Vancouver-Sunshine Coast-Sea to Sky Country riding has bucked national trends in the past, electing Conservative John Reynolds when the rest of the country was electing a Liberal majority. Then, when the Conservative Party was making sweeping gains at the expense of the Liberal Party in 2006, the riding again bucked the trend and embraced Liberal candidate Wilson (albeit by a narrow margin � 23,867 votes to Conservative candidate John Weston�s 22,881 votes). It was Weston�s first kick at the federal can, while Wilson lost the 2004 election to Reynolds by a scant 687 votes.
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