While you are reading the newspaper this morning, it’s likely that federal politicians have already hit the hustings.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper dissolved Parliament on Sunday, triggering an election although Canadians won’t head to the polls until the fixed date of Oct. 19.
Now this is somewhat surprising given that the mandatory minimum length for a campaign is 37 days, and most elections in recent history have been fairly close to that target. In fact, you have to go all the way back to 1926 for a 74-day election campaign.
The question then is why is Harper pulling the plug now, particularly when Canadians are enjoying their summer holidays and backyard barbecues and aren’t interested in what happens in Ottawa?
The answer isn’t particularly clear but obviously Harper and his strategists believe that calling the writ now gives the governing party a solid advantage over the opposition parties, and that could certainly be the case after MPs handed out millions of dollars in grants to various community groups in the past few weeks.
But there is also a danger in launching the campaign early, and that is escalating voter fatigue.
Increasingly, Canadians are tired of what appears to be the new normal in politics — attack, attack, attack, with very few concrete solutions to major issues coming to the table. After 78 days of negative ads from all parties and photo-ops, the public may be completely worn out from the exercise.
What will that do to voter turnout?