The Conservative Prime Minister, Stephen Harper has taken the plunge today and called a long 78 day election campaign with a vote on October 19th.
The latest polls show a real three way between the with NDP on 31%, Tories on 30%, Liberals on 29%. However this is a long campaign and it’s worth remember that during the 2006 campaign, the Liberals led going into it and lost the election. Also remember the NDP surge in 2011 that came on three weeks into the campaign sweeping out the Bloc Quebecois.
In the current House of Commons, The Conservatives hold 159 seats, compared with the NDP’s 95 and the Liberal Party’s 36. The Bloc Québécois, the Forces et Démocratie party and the Green Party have two seats each.
Some things to keep in mind for this campaign;
1- The increase in seats in the House of Commons from 308 to 338.
2- The power in Canada is moving away from the East and going West.
3-The new seats are located in:
- Ontario: 15 more seats (121 seats in total).
- British Columbia: 6 more seats (42 seats in total).
- Alberta: 6 more seats (34 seats in total).
- Quebec: 3 more seats (78 seats in total).
4- Watch the provincial polls and not the national polls. These will give you a better sense of seats and trends for how each party is doing.
5- The key provinces to watch in this election are Ontario and British Columbia. These provinces are up for grabs and are unlikely to be hugely dominated by one party. The others will be hugely skewed towards one of the other parties.
6- The Liberals; they were ahead in the polls but have slided backwards as the NDP have made gains. From 1993-2004, the Liberals benefied from the vote splits on the right, will the same happen this time on the left? How much will the party rebound?
7- The Conservatives have a real funding advantage and the greatest number of volunteers. From today third parties such as trade unions are limited in how much money they can spend promoting political issues, which will hurt the NDP and Liberals.
If you’re interested watch the At Issue panel on CBC’s The National and keep an eye on Huffington Post’s Althia Raj
David McCann holds a PhD in North-South relations from University of Ulster. You can follow him on twitter @dmcbfs