Right on schedule, the 42nd Canadian election will be held October 19th, as the Prime Minister asked the Governor General on Sunday to dissolve Parliament triggering the longest federal election campaign, eleven weeks, since the eighteen hundreds.
The Harper Conservatives are seeking a fourth mandate and a second consecutive majority government, but they will now need 170 seats, in the expanded House of Commons, which goes to 338, as opposed to 308 in the last election.
The Tories took 166 seats in 2011, with the NDP claiming official opposition status with 103, the Liberals dropping to 34, and the Bloc Quebecois and Green Party getting four and one respectively.
At dissolution the Conservative majority was down to 159, the New Democrats down to 95, the Grits up slightly to 36, and the Bloc and Greens at two each, but there were also eight independents, four vacancies, and two members of the new Quebec based, Strength in Democracy Party, founded last October.
The campaign officially started just days after confirmation that in May the country posted a fifth consecutive monthly decrease in real gross domestic product, increasing the chances the country has already slipped into a recession.
The technical definition of a recession is two consecutive quarters with no economic growth, and BMO chief economist Doug Porter says there is no sugar coating the report, calling it, “A sour result”.
However, as reported earlier, the Canadian Taxpayer Federation is concerned, there are already signs government recessionary response could be a pre-election round, of what it views as unwanted stimulus spending, resulting in another multi-billion dollar deficit like the one which followed the 2008 economic downturn.
Here’s the response of Prince George/Peace River Bob Zimmer, to that.
“The reason why we waiting and paused for some of the major spending was to make sure we were back in balance,” he explained. Rest assured we’re going to be in balance even after this. This is why you get back to balancing. You know exactly what you can spend on projects and that’s exactly what we did. We got our budget down to the point where it was manageable and then we started to show a surplus and that money that we’re spending on infrastructure currently is based on that surplus.”