"Fixed election dates stop leaders from trying to manipulate the calendar.
Hopefully in the next election we can run on our record and we won't need the manipulation of the electoral calendar."
-- Stephen Harper, after the 2006 election
Harper wants an election because, he argues, that Parliament cannot function. I don't understand this rationale because it seems to be functioning. The Conservative government is introducing bills and the bills are passing through Parliament. That sounds like it's working to me. The Tories haven't lost a confidence vote yet, and Reform/Alliance/Conservative polices are flourishing. Harper has killed Kyoto, given big tax cuts to corporations and the rich, and begun to introduce long-standing Reform/Alliance policies like the fixed election date.
I'm not in favour of a fixed election date, but I don't get my knickers in a knot about it. It's not part of the British Parliamentary tradition, and the ability to call an election when you want is one of the perks of being Prime Minister. Use it or abuse it at your own risk. And many thought that former Prime Minister Chretien did abuse this privilege during his term as PM, basically calling elections at his whim.
This is why the concept of the fixed election date gained some popularity, particularly with the Reform/Alliance/Conservative opposition. The fixed-term idea was a plank of the Reform Party from the beginning. Harper ran promising a fixed-date election law, which appealed to his core group of supporters.
But now, his own law, the law that his supporters clamoured for, is now in the way of his political ambitions. So this morning he's going to ask the Governor General to break his law and dissolve Parliament so he can have an election.
I doubt that the Governor General will refuse Harper's request to dissolve Parliament, but I hope she rakes him over the coals for the position that he has placed her in: asking the Queen's representative to break the law.
This is all you need to know about the integrity of Stephen Harper. He used his supporters to win the last election, but he's betrayed them by breaking the law his own supporters have been wanting for years.
What a way to treat your followers. If I was I Tory, I would be livid.