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I’ve been asked by the editors to write about a federal election this autumn, a subject I have already addressed in non-predictive terms in recent weeks. The government is in no danger of losing a confidence vote in the House of Commons and so there is no reason for such an election except a near certainty that it would give the Liberals back the majority that they lost in the last election. Traditionally, electorates do not like and do not favourably reward redundant elections called for the sole basis of opportunism when the incumbent governing party is under no threat of parliamentary defeat and has no need to return to the voters for two years. Elections are expensive and distracting and inflicting them on the public unnecessarily is unwise. In 2000, Jean Chrétien called an election three years into his mandate, when he was not particularly popular with his own party but had the good fortune to be facing a severely divided opposition where the Reform party had taken most of the Progressive Conservatives’ support in Western Canada and the Bloc Québécois had taken almost all of it in Quebec.

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