OTTAWA – On August 2, Prime Minister of Canada, Stephen Harper, called for general elections for October 19, an election in which the conservative politician hopes to renew his mandate for the fourth time.
His decision immediately drew criticism from opposition parties and analysts across the nation, especially as these elections are being held much earlier than usual.
Elections in Canada are usually convened no more than 37 days in advance to keep a check on campaign costs. This time, however, the parties will have 78 days to convince Canadians that they are the best choice to lead the country, making this campaign one of the longest in the country’s history since 1872.
Harper defended his decision at a press conference, wherein he furiously denied allegations that this move was taken to benefit his own party at the expenses of other political parties that have comparatively lesser campaign funds.
However, possibly after a change in the electoral laws driven by Harper a year ago, the Conservative Party of Prime Minister now has an advantage because it is the only one with sufficient funds to meet the added expense will involve the long campaign.
Exactly one week into the election, the Conservatives took to the skies on a campaign plane, showing off their financial advantage over the NDP and Liberals, who are still travelling by bus or commercial air.
Transport issues are critical in such a vast country like Canada, which requires politicians to cover long distances to campaign, thus increasing costs.
The Liberal leader Justin Trudeau has launched his campaign by hitting places the party hopes to see electoral growth: B.C., Calgary, in and around Toronto, and now Montreal.
“They want to roll out on more of a marathon approach, slow steady pace, introducing the leader [first] and the policies at the appropriate time,” Toronto-based political strategist Marcel Wieder said.
At every single news conference, Trudeau claims he is happy to do “what his opponents won’t do” and take questions from the media.
NDP leader Thomas Mulcair was criticised for not taking any media questions. He also seemed nervous at the launch, raising questions as to whether he was the best presentation to the Canadian electorate.
Both Trudeau and Mulcair are not well known in the vast majority of Canadians. One of the top trending Google questions on debate night was “Who is Thomas Mulcair?”
“So for both of those leaders, they need to be out there, meeting with Canadians and showing who they are. The policy side of things will come,” Wieder suggested.
In the forthcoming elections, Canadians must renew the 338 seats in the House of Commons, 30 more than in the last election because of a reorganisation of the districts.
– Joan Isus, Correspondent (Politics)