With but days to go before the federal election on October 14, 2008, the fate of the Conservatives has followed the stock market: down. Just days ago the Conservatives were 13% (enough for a majority) ahead of the second place Liberals, now they are a mere 3% (a minority) ahead. Thus on October 7th Prime Minister Stephen Harper decided to reveal his economic plan at the Empire Club to businessmen and journalists.
Harper doesn't believe that Canada is in great economic trouble. He said, “we have been aware of the problems and have prepared ourselves." He adds, "we shouldn't panic."
But the financial community is panicking. The Toronto Stock Exchange has been in freefall. The United States has been falling even worse. All are saying the financial condition is now plummeting to even below a recession level both in Canada and the United States.
Harper started to drop in numbers after the debates last week on Wednesday (French) and Thursday (English). That was also when the stock market started to slide so it is hard to say which was the actual cause. Usually it is the party that is in power that will be held responsible. Some say it was in hope of avoiding the fallout of this economic crash that Harper called this election ahead of fixed time that he had declared once in office.
Opposition (Liberal) leader Stéphane Dion has managed to drop his "Green Shift" plan, for now, which would have been an additional levy during a recession despite promises of being revenue neutral. The Dion Liberals keep reminding people that they managed a balanced budget (on the backs of equalization payments to provinces who passed it on to municipalities) under Finance Minister Paul Martin. They claim the Harper Conservatives have doubled spending.
For a moment the socialist New Democratic Party (NDP) under "silk stocking socialist" Jack Layton looked like they might overtake the Dion Liberals but now look stalled around at the same 18% they started at.
The next days should prove exciting.
The final days of the federal campaign