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NEWS: A federal election this spring?

There has been alot of speculation about a spring-time federal election.

Globe and Mail columnist John Ibbitson writes today that, “If the Conservatives can survive the vote on their March budget, they will earn the equivalent of one year of majority government.” Why? “That’s because, thanks to the nationwide trend toward fixed election dates, we know there will be at least five provincial elections this autumn: Prince Edward Island (Oct. 3) Manitoba (Oct. 4), Ontario (Oct. 6), Newfoundland and Labrador (Oct. 11) and Saskatchewan (Nov. 7). There simply isn’t enough money or enough volunteers to hold five provincial elections and a federal election in one season, especially when one of those provinces is Ontario.” Ibbitson concludes, “Critics darkly warn of the evils that will befall the country, if the Conservatives are given a majority. But if the budget passes, that’s essentially what we’ll have for 12 full months.”

With a contrary view, citing the impact of the deficit, length of time in office, and the possibility of a Conservative provincial government for Ontario, political consultant Gerry Nicholls writes in the National Post today that, “Harper, a superb political tactician, understands the situation he faces. That’s why he has likely crafted a plan to engineer his own government’s downfall in the next few months. So Canadians had better prepare themselves for the political combat that’s coming.” He adds, “By the way, if we do have an election this spring, the Harper Tories will win a majority. But that’s a topic for a different column.”

These are issues – how we will assess the next Harper budget, the likelihood of a federal election this spring, our preparedness for an election, and the impact on our work of five provincial elections this fall – that Council of Canadians activists will need to consider. Your comments are welcome.

Ibbitson’s column is at http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/ottawa-notebook/can-harper-wait-out-the-election-traffic-jam/article1863565/. Nicholls’ op-ed is at http://fullcomment.nationalpost.com/2011/01/10/gerry-nicholls-why-canadians-will-head-to-the-polls-in-2011/.