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Summer Election Possible As Ignatieff Readies Decision On Budget Updates

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For the fourth time in five years, Canadians could be heading to the polls.

Michael Ignatieff and the federal Liberals have not yet announced if they will support the economic report card issued by the minority Conservative government.

The opposition demanded a total of three budget updates and the second was presented last week.

The Bloc Quebecois and the New Democratic Party have already said they will not support the government in a confidence vote scheduled for Friday.

If Ignatieff rejects the update, a summer election is possible.

Last week, the Liberals threatened to try to pull the plug on the minority government if the report did not show real progress in the rolling out of $22.7 billion in stimulus spending.

Ignatieff will announce his decision at a press conference in Ottawa on Monday morning.

File photo.

P.M. Stephen Harper: Recovery Under Way

There have been four federal elections since the turn of the century and it appears we still haven’t quite settled the question of who should lead this country. No matter what Michael Igantieff decides, it appears almost certain that sooner or later Stephen Harper’s shaky minority perch will be pulled out from under him and we’ll be heading back to the polls – again.


Here’s a look at what we did over the last four votes.


October 14, 2008


Canadian Election #: 40


Main issues: With his Conservatives stuck in a minority status and the polls indicating weak support for a Liberal party led by the unpopular Stephane Dion, Stephen Harper decided to roll the dice on an election and dissolved what he called a “dysfunctional Parliament.” With many Canadians insisting another election wasn’t needed just two years after the previous one and despite the unpopularity of Dion’s “Green Shift” plan, Harper didn’t quite get the victory he was hoping for.


Final seat count: 


Conservatives: 143

Liberals: 77

Bloc: 49

NDP: 37

Independent: 2


Result: Conservative minority government


Voter turnout: 58.8%, the lowest in history.


January 23, 2006


Canadian Election #: 39


Main issues: Leadership, as the tentacles from the sponsorship scandal continued to haunt Paul Martin’s Liberals. There were also questions about the economy, same sex marriage and income trusts. But the question of honest government seemed to come to the fore.


Final seat count:


Conservatives: 124

Liberals: 103

Bloc: 51

NDP: 29

Independent: 1


Result: Conservative minority government


Voter turnout: 64.7%


June 28, 2004


Canadian Election #: 38, and our last summer vote.


Main issue: The sponsorship scandal, which saw millions of dollars in taxpayer money handed over to Liberal-friendly firms in Quebec with no real work being done. While topics like health care, the economy and taxes were also raised, it was the ghost of the Chretien government past that came back to haunt then-leader Paul Martin and helped boost the fortunes of the newly united Conservatives under Stephen Harper.


Final seat count:


Liberals: 135

Conservatives: 99

Bloc: 54

NDP: 19

Independent: 1


Result: Liberal minority government.


Voter turnout: 60.9%, at the time the lowest in history, partly attributed to the fact it happened in the summer.


November 27, 2000


Canadian Election #: 37


Main issues: Health care and the disarray of the right leaning parties, as the PCs, led by the returning Joe Clark, opposed any merger with the Cdn. Alliance, then helmed by Stockwell Day. The Liberals, with Jean Chretien in charge, sought to take advantage of the divide, calling the vote only three years into their mandate.


Final seat count:


Liberals: 172

Canadian Alliance: 66

Bloc Quebecois: 38

NDP: 13

Progressive Conservatives: 12

Independent: 1


Result: Liberal majority government


Voter turnout: 61.2%


Source: Elections Canada