The official federal election campaign kicked off on August 2nd. This will be the longest and almost certainly the most expensive election campaign in Canadian history. For at least one day, it was also surprising. Stephen Harper, a Prime Minister hated everywhere outside Alberta, kicked off his campaign in Quebec. This was a surprising choice with predictable consequences.
Shortly after meeting with the Governor General to dissolve Parliament and kick off the campaign, Harper headed to the Montreal riding of Mont-Royal, where he was greeted by angry protesters. Some carried “Stop Harper” signs, while others called Harper a “dictator,” and at least one allegedly uttered a bomb threat. Like Saulie Zajdel, the Conservative candidate in Mont-Royal in the 2011 election who pleaded guilty to corruption charges in 2013, the bomb threat guy was taken away by police.
Like the presence of protesters, Harper’s speech was also predictable. In the midst of a recession, he talked about sticking to his plan to keep our economy strong. Trailing the NDP in federal polls, he said that his party is better supported than any other. And then, demonstrating a level of awareness typically reserved for a milkshake, he said that he called the campaign early so that taxpayers wouldn’t have to pay for it. The start of the campaign is when taxpayers begin subsidizing political parties’ campaign activities, so this claim, like his others, was literally the opposite of the truth. So much for surprises.
Stay posted for more exciting (and hopefully less predictable) news as this campaign continues.