A helpful primer on the election

The writ has been dropped and I, being the helpful guy that I am, have provided a guideline for you leading up to the vote.

So. The ruling Conservatives went and did it. By it, of course, I mean call one of, if not, the longest federal election campaigns in Canadian history.

A grand total of 78 days for politicos and political parties to say why their party and candidates are the best and why we, the voting public, must vote for them on Monday, Oct. 19.

From what I’ve read, federal election campaigns have to run at least 37 days. As a reporter who has covered a number of federal elections, I can tell you that 37 days feels like 67. So I can only imagine what this campaign is going to feel like by that Monday in October.

The writ has been dropped and I, being the helpful guy that I am, have provided a helpful guideline for you leading up to the vote.

Why is the election campaign so long?

Well, from what I can muster, this is a smart ploy by the ruling Conservatives, who are loaded. And by loaded I mean with money, not booze.

The Tories, who receive millions in donations, changed a law that imposed a maximum spending limit of around $25 million on election campaigns, adding about $700,000 for every day beyond the minimum 37 days of a campaign. It is believed that law change will severely impact the campaigns of the other parties.

Is Stephen Harper still prime minister?

From what I can gather, in a conversation with veteran federal election reporter Richard Rolke, it’s a definite maybe. Media are referring to him – Harper, not Rolke – as “Conservative leader.” It seems as if once a federal election is called, we have no prime minister. But if there was an emergency of epic proportions before Oct. 19, say, a death of a fellow world leader and Canada was to be represented at the funeral, or, God forbid, an attack on our country, then, yes, Mr. Harper would be prime minister.

Is Stephen Harper the most hated man in the world?

In the world, no. That would be that Minnesota dentist who shot Cecil the lion trophy hunting in Africa. Mr. Harper, if you believe social media posts, would be the second most hated man in the world. I mean, I saw one post where some woman in this country died and in her obituary, she encouraged people to honour her last wish and vote Harper out. Enough said.

Is Justin truly not ready to run the country?

Aren’t those the worst TV ads you’ve ever seen, and a complete waste of money? In my opinion, if Justin Trudeau can lead the Liberal party he can lead the country.

Is our riding still called Okanagan-Shuswap?

No. Once the election was called, our riding became North Okanagan-Shuswap.

We will have a new MP, right?

Right. Colin Mayes, the former Salmon Arm mayor, is resigning after decades in political office.

Who will replace him?

Well, that, of course, is up to voters. This riding, even before the name change, has long been a Conservative stronghold. Before Colin Mayes, the MP was Spallumcheen’s Darrel Stinson. The Conservative candidate is Mel Arnold, a resident of Salmon Arm, which goes against the North Okanagan-Salmon Arm candidate pattern.

Who are the other candidates in our riding?

Those that have been declared – and parties have until Sept. 28  to declare a candidate – also includes Cindy Derkaz, Liberals; Chris George, Green Party; Jacqui Gingras, NDP.

There will be all-candidate forums throughout the riding, a chance for you to get out, meet the candidates and hear their platforms.

Trust me, over the next 73 days, you’ll hear plenty, including in this newspaper. If you want change in this riding and this country, you have to make it happen.

Voter turnout is critical. Cast your vote on Oct. 19.

-Roger Knox is a reporter with the Shuswap Market News’ sister paper, the Vernon Morning Star.