AN email to the media from the Prime Minister’s Office says that Stephen Harper will arrive at Rideau Hall for a meeting with Governor General David Johnston at 9:55 a.m. ET (6:55 a.m. PST) and he will address the media at 10:15 a.m. ET (7:15 a.m PST)
That is expected to be the announcement of the kickoff of the longest federal election campaign in more than a century.
That means we will have an 11-week election campaign that analysts believe would favour the Conservatives because they have the most cash. The party spending limit for a 37-day campaign is $25 million. However, if a campaign is longer than that, then each party can spend $675,000 per day beyond that sum.
The latest Forum Poll shows that Canadian voters, equal proportions, a third each, will vote for the federal Conservatives or the NDP if the election were held today (33% each). One quarter will vote Liberal (25%). Few will vote Bloc Quebecois or Green (4% each) or for any other party (1%).
These results represent a sharp increase for the Conservatives since last week (July 21 – 28%) and an equally sharp decrease for the Liberals (from 29%). The NDP sees stasis (33% last week).
In Ontario, the Conservatives now lead (37%) the NDP (31%) and Liberals (27%) where once the parties were tied.
In Quebec, the NDP lead (36%), ahead of the Liberals (24%). Fewer will vote Conservative (19%) or for the Bloc (17%).
In BC, the NDP (38%) are tied with the Conservatives (36%) and the Liberals trail (19%).
The Liberals lead in their traditional stronghold in Atlantic Canada (38%), while the NDP (31%) and the Conservatives (28%) vie for second.
In Alberta, the Conservatives dominate with half the vote (49%), while the NDP is second (30%) and the Liberals trail (16%).
In the Prairie Provinces, the Conservatives have a slight lead on the NDP (39% to 33%), while the Liberals trail (24%).
If these results are projected up to a 338 seat House of Commons, the Conservatives would take a healthy minority of 156, 14 fewer than required for a majority. The NDP would capture 122 seats, and the Liberals would hold the balance of power with 58 seats. The Greens and the Bloquistes would each seat one member.
Where Tom Mulcair led on this measure last week (29% to Harper’s 25%), the two leaders are tied this week (30% and 29%, respectively). One fifth sees Justin Trudeau as the man for the job (19%) and few pick Elizabeth May or Gilles Duceppe (6% and 4%, respectively). One tenth think none of the leaders would make a good Prime Minister (8%).
The first leaders’ debate takes place on Thursday, August 6 and Harper, NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair, Liberal Party Leader Justin Trudeau and Green Party Leader Elizabeth May have all agreed to participate. Maclean’s magazine has organized the nationally televised debate in English.