They're off! Parliament has been dissolved and our country goes to the polls on October 14th, the day following Thanks Giving Day, at a cost of about $300 million.
Early indications are that the Tories will get a stronger minority or a small majority. I'm going out on a limb and calling for a Tory majority with the Liberals barely hanging on as the Official Opposition.
Stephen Harper is looking strong and competent; Stéphane Dion is still not ready for prime time. It is on this comparison that the election will be contested. Dion is improving, but I think it's a case of too little too late. Here's a quote by Chantal Hebert:
“Since he unveiled his Green Shift plan last June, Dion has been touring Canada and polishing his act. In Winnipeg, he ironed out some of the substantive kinks in the plan. But based on this week’s preview, form remains a work in progress.”
In the January 23, 2006, election the Conservatives got 36 per cent of the vote, the Liberals 30 per cent, and the NDP 17.5 per cent. The Conservatives, who hold 127 of the 308 seats in the Commons, need to pick up 28 seats to form a majority. Going into the election, the Liberals have 95 seats, the Bloc 48, and the NDP 30. There are four members sitting as independents and there are four vacant seats.
An Ekos poll on September 6, 2008:
- Shows that Conservatives lead the race going into Election ‘08: CPC 37%, LPC 24%, NDP 19%, Green 10% and Bloc 6%.
- Conservatives also have the leadership advantage with Harper seen as “best Prime Minister” (32%), followed by Layton (19%); Dion is a distant third (12%)
- Similar scores are given for leader “most trusted” to deliver on campaign promises: 30% Harper, 16% Layton, and 13% Dion
The economy will probably emerge as the major issue of this election, however, issues will not be the determining factors, leadership will. And the Tories have a clear lead in leadership.