Stephen Harper wants fixed election dates. Actually, he wanted fixed election dates, and then he got what he wanted.
Bill C-16 was passed in November 2006, saying that starting October 19th, 2009, we will have elections every four years on the third Monday in October.
This is another example of Harper's Conservative party looking enviously to the south and trying to put distance between the British Westminster-style of Parliament. Monkey-see, monkey-do.
Here's what fixed election dates get us: very long campaign periods.
What do very long campaign periods get us? Only the very rich parties and candidates able to afford to run.
What will these very rich "representatives of the people" spend their money on? Banners and attack ads and yes men and cover-ups and all the trappings of American elections that span months and years.
So, Harper calling this upcoming election is very prudent of him. He knows Bill C-16 is going to be implimented next autumn, and then he's in for an extended period of time and there's nothing anyone can do about it.
Well, maybe this could all backfire for him and a party with some sense might take power and overturn the fixed election bill.
As it is now, and will be for another year, elections are called when the GG dissolves Parliament and the campaign period is a tidy >36 days.
If you can't say what you have to say in 36 days, what's the point of listening?
In modern Canada, one government's Parliament rarely lasts the four-year accepted limit of time. (This is another discussion altogether.) Yes, this does cost us a lot of money since it costs boatloads to run an election in such a huge country. This will probably be the first thing a supporter of Bill C-16 brings up as ammo, but I still get the feeling that it's the lesser of two evils.
Perhaps I'm just happy with the same. Perhaps a change is as good as the rest. I've never been one to be comfortable with the status quo, but all these steps we're taking that edges us closer and closer to our Southern neighbours makes me nervous.