On Sunday, Prime Minister Stephen Harper went to Rideau Hall to ask the Governor General to dissolve the government and officially kicked off the longest Canadian election since the Victorian era.
The prime minister has been accused of calling an early election at the expense of the taxpayer to ruthlessly outmaneuver the opposition parties.
Journalists pressed the Prime Minister on his decision to call such a lengthy election.
“I feel very strongly . . . that those campaigns need to be conducted under the rules of the law,” Harper said. “That the money come from the parties themselves, not from government resources, parliamentary resources or taxpayer resources.”
“In terms of the advantages this party has, in terms of the fact that we’re a better financed political party, a better organized political party, and better supported by Canadians — those advantages exist whether we call this campaign or not,” he continued. “What we do by calling this campaign is making sure that we are all operating within the rules and not using taxpayers’ money directly.”
Harper however, ignored the fact that a longer election, means that parties are legally allowed to spend more money. The more money spent by the parties means more money the taxpayer will have to compensate them for.
With this election being nearly 80 days in length, Canadian taxpayers might be on the hook for as much as $500 million.
Harper, the leader of the Conservative Party of Canada is facing tough competition from Justin Trudeau, of the centrist Liberal Party and Thomas Mulcair, leader of the Official Opposition and the New Democrats, Canada’s left wing party.
“Canadians have a clear choice,” Mulcair said. “Four more years of Mr. Harper and the Conservatives or my plan for change.”
Mulcair and Justin Trudeau are likely going to attack Harper’s economic record, as Canada is one economic report away from being officially in a recession.
Harper, for his part, will argue that after 10 years under his rule, now is not the time to change course.
As of now, Thomas Mulcair is leading in the polls, but with the election on Oct. 19, 11 weeks away, a lot can change.
[CBC] [Toronto Star] [Business Insider] [Photo courtesy True North Times]