Canadian prime minister suspends Parliament; calls election

| 9/8/2008

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper has called for a federal election on Oct. 14 in a strategic attempt to gain more seats for the Conservative Party in Parliament.

Canadian law allows the prime minister to call an election at any time by ordering the governor general to suspend Parliament. Harper did just that on Sunday, Sept. 7, during a ceremonial meeting with Gov. General Michaelle Jean in Ottawa.

The Conservative Party currently holds a minority government in a multi-party system. That forces the Conservatives to form alliances with opposition parties in order to get laws passed.

If the Conservatives are successful in their attempt to gain more seats, it’s possible that they could win a majority and no longer be forced to rely on alliances. They also run the risk of losing seats.

The regularly scheduled federal election was to have been in October 2009 if Harper hadn’t called it for next month.