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UPDATE: Flaherty says March budget, an April 11 election?

CBC reports that, “Finance Minister Jim Flaherty says he expects to table the federal budget in March during a week when the House of Commons is sitting.”

“With the Opposition Liberals already indicating they will vote against Flaherty’s budget, Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s minority Conservative government requires the support of either the NDP or Bloc Québécois to survive a confidence vote and avoid a spring election. NDP Leader Jack Layton has called for specific measures to help Canadian families, especially seniors, such as eliminating the federal sales tax on home-heating fuel. …For his part, Bloc Leader Gilles Duceppe has already outlined $5 billion his party wants spent on measures for Quebec, including $175 million for an NHL arena in Quebec City, in return for supporting the government’s budget.”

The Parliament of Canada website shows that the House of Commons is sitting March 1-11 and March 21-31.

If the Harper budget were defeated at some point during the March sitting dates, and given an election generally runs 36 days, we might expect an voting day between April 11 and May 9.

The Council of Canadians will continue to track all of these developments and ensure that we have the most effective intervention in a federal election and that we are able to raise key issues of concern to Canadians. Our positioning in the last several elections has been to focus on issues, and to strongly call for a fairer voting system through proportional representation, but also to state that the best likely outcome is a minority government with the balance of power held by progressive parties.

A previous campaign blog on federal election speculation can be read at http://canadians.org/campaignblog/?p=6230.