An election draweth nigh

By Topher Armand

Hunter S. Thompson’s Million Pound Shithammer came down on the Liberals this week as the federal opposition parties ended Paul Martin’s year and a half old minority government.

The coalition was spearheaded by Conservative Party leader Stephen Harper, with help from the New Democratic Party’s Jack Layton and Gilles Duceppe of the Bloc Quebecois.

“This is not just the end of a tired, directionless, scandal plagued government,” said Harper. “It’s the start of a bright, new future for this great country.”

The long-awaited fall of the minority government, which happened Mon., Nov. 28 after the passing of a motion of no confidence, signaled the start of the first winter election in decades, and angered Prime Minister Martin.

“I pledged in a televised address that I would call an election within 30 days of receiving the final report of Judge Gomery,” said Martin. “But the opposition still spent the spring and then the fall trying to force an election. It was their obsession.”

University of Calgary political science professor Dr. Anthony Sayers expects the election to resemble that of 2004 with minor changes.

“Polling does not suggest great change,” said Sayers, “That being said, a little can be a lot. If the Liberals lose and the NDP don’t gain, that puts us into a precarious situation.”

The campaigning has already begun with the Liberals taking criticism from all three major parties. Leading the pack is the Conservative Party who are especially interested in reminding Canadians of past Liberal scandals. Sayers said this will be the only chance for the Conservative Party to use the sponsorship scandal in an election, but they can’t take it too far.

“Stephen Harper has to be careful not to seem to whiney,” he said.

There is however promise for the Conservative party.

“If they offer new direction,” said Sayers, “They may shake some new voters out of the tree.”

With the election of Andre Boisclair as the new leader of the Parti Quebecios, Sayers said Martin may try to campaign on Canadian unity.

“The Liberals may paint themselves as the only ones who can keep Canada together,” he said. “Paul Martin may use Boisclair as a scapegoat.”

Sayers doesn’t anticipate the Green Party winning any seats.

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