Mark you calendars! Monday, September 8th is the day.
Why now? Simple. Westmount–Ville-Marie, Que. was due for a by-election. According to law, one must be announced six months after a seat becomes vacated. The deadline for Westmount was Saturday. And since it's no fun alone, Elections Canada combines several necessary by-elections in one go. Along with Westmount and Guelph, the Montreal riding of Saint-Lambert will also go to the polls on September 8th.
And while this blog over the next six weeks will seek to chronicle the campaign here in Guelph, let's take a moment to recognize how this affects the table nationally. You may note that Sept. 8th is a little early in the Fall. Shoot, technically, it isn't even Fall - it's still Summer. Plenty of wiglge room in the schedule for a full blown Federal election in sometime later Autumn, wouldn't you say... Globe and Mail reporter Campbell Clark:
"Losing the Liberal-held riding of Guelph in Southern Ontario would probably put off Mr. Dion's fall election plans. A second loss in the Liberal bastion of Westmount–Ville-Marie, Que., would probably raise questions about his leadership."
The Conservatives are already hitting the spin bag by saying that this will be a test of Liberal leader Stephane Dion's Green Shift plan. But in the same Globe article, Conservative spokesman Ryan Sparrow took it to a whole other level by called the by-elections a "'referendum' on Mr. Dion's leadership and asserted anything less than two Liberal wins would be a major defeat for him."
I don't know what time the call came today. I was on my way to Grand Bend with the "Four Aces" film crew at about noon and there were Gloria Kovach signs all along Woodlawn from Woolwich. This article on Fountain Pen shed a little light on the matter:
"Stephen Harper has called a by-election for Guelph for September 8.
"Candidates lost no time as election signs popped up everywhere in Guelph within seconds of the election call.
"Two other By-Elections have also been called for September 8, Westmount-Ville Marie in Montreal and Saint Lambert.
"Guelph should expect to see a lot of campaigning this time around as this riding is a "Must Win" for all the main party's involved."
Well, needless to say that by the time the crew and I got to Guelph at about 9 'o' clock, there were signs everywhere. I think I'll do a little tour tomorrow.
So it's on baby! And this blog will (hopefully) keep you posted through the whole thing.