Election 2015: Harper drops writ launching election campaign

Stephen Harper asked the Governor General to dissolve parliament on Aug. 2, officially starting the campaign for the 42nd federal election.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper met with Governor General David Johnston on Aug. 2 at Rideau Hall in Ottawa asking him to dissolve parliament, thus kicking off what is predicted to be one of the longest, most costly elections in modern history.

Harper said on Oct. 19, Canadians will make a decision about the direction the country will take.

“That decision will have real consequences,” he said. “Canadians will be asked to judge who has the proven experience today to keep our economy strong and our country safe.”

There has been a lot of speculation over the past couple of weeks that an early election would be called, and with the billions of dollars worth of Conservative funding announcements as of late, the writ being dropped on Sunday came with little surprise to Canadians.

The parliamentary law requires an election campaign to be a minimum of 37 days, which, according to Elections Canada, should cost approximately $375 million for the campaign’s entirety.

Last year, Harper amended Bill C-23, the Fair Elections Act, permitting “higher spending limits for registered parties and candidates if an election period is long than the 37-day minimum”.

Under the amended act, those spending limits will increase by 1/37 for each day a campaign exceeds 37 days, which works out to be an additional $675,000 per day for each party’s national campaign.

It is hard to say exactly how much of a financial increase a more than doubled election campaign run will cost, when one takes into consideration the added costs of salaries for employees preparing for the election, longer office leases for returning officers in the 338 ridings across the country, telephones, office equipment and other overhead involved in running a campaign.

Following the announcement to start the 42nd federal election campaign, in a press release, Kootenay-Columbia Conservative MP David Wilks said he is looking to the campaign where “citizens will have an opportunity to participate in this great democratic process”.

The election, he said, is about leadership on the big issues that will affect all Kootenay-Columbia residents, which is to say, the economy and the country’s security.

“Given the serious economic and security issues facing the world, it is appropriate that Canadians should have time to consider the alternatives before them,” Wilks said. “Residents within the new boundaries of Kootenay-Columbia will have an opportunity to get to know me.”

Wilks, who has been the member of parliament for Kootenay-Columbia since elected in 2011, will be fighting to reclaim his seat against Green Party candidate Bill Green, Liberal candidate Don Johnston and NDP candidate Wayne Stetski.