Prime Minister Stephen Harper has pulled the plug on his current minority government in Ottawa and how many Canadians actually care will be interesting to see.
For Canadians, the upcoming federal election on Oct. 14 will be an interesting test of “do you really care”. How many have actually paid attention the last 2.5 years as Harper managed a minority government to last when no one really thought it would? Have Canadians actually galvanized themselves around any issue or leader? Will they even glance at any local coverage with the bright lights of Obama vs. McCain glaring in from across the border?
If you are a political junkie, and a Canuck poli-junkie at that, you will have strong and informed opinions. However, for regular Joe and Jane Public, will they try and get informed about an election called a year before it was actually supposed to happen?
Here are some things to look for in this election:
1. Will the environment, health care, economy or Afghanistan become the number one issue on the minds of Canadian voters?
2. Can Stephane Dion, consistently ranking low in almost every “who is the best leader for Canada” poll gain any traction in the West, let alone his home province of Quebec?
3. Which of British Columbia, Ontario or Quebec can Harper make inroads in to help soldifiy his Conservative base and build towards a stronger minority government if elected again?
4. Will the Liberals register a heartbeat in Quebec where any anti-Conservative’s lone hope for stopping PC growth there is to rely on the Bloc Quebecois? Additional to this, can the Bloc respond and push back against past Conservative progress there?
5. Can Jack Layton continue his push to be recognized as an opposition force and help score more NDP seats somewhere in Canada?
6. Will the Green Party manage to get one of their candidates elected? Will getting into the televised leader’s debate push them over the top into mainstream Canadian politics?
7. Can Elizabeth May, Green Party leader, actually knock off Defence Minister Peter MacKay in Central Nova Scotia? Considering the Liberals have chosen not to run a candidate in that riding, will it make a difference?
What will be the issue that catches your attention my fellow Canadian voters? Who is the best leader for this country? Which party speaks for you and why? Is there an interesting race in your riding- where is it and why is it so intriguing?
Our election may lack the glitz and glamour of the election south of the border but remember, the one that really hits you in your wallet is the one here on Oct. 14.