Prime Minister Stephen Harper says he has asked Governor General David Johnston to dissolve Parliament, touching off an 11-week campaign in advance of an election Oct. 19.
Harper made the announcement today outside Rideau Hall, square in the middle of the August holiday weekend, ending months of speculation and conjecture about when the campaign would begin.
He was quickly peppered with media questions about why he was subjecting Canadians to a campaign that promises to be the longest in more than a century and the costliest in the country’s political history.
Simple, Harper replied: Conservative rivals are already campaigning, and they’re doing it on the public dime.
“If we’re going to begin our campaigns and run our campaigns, that those campaigns need to be conducted under the rules of the law, that the money come from the parties themselves, not from the government resources, parliamentary resources or taxpayer resources,” he said.
“In terms of the advantages this party has, in terms of the fact that we are a better financed political party, a better organized political party and better supported by Canadians, those advantages exist whether we call this campaign or not.
“What we do by calling this campaign is making sure we are all operating within the rules and not using taxpayers’ money directly.”