Why is Stephen Harper calling an early election?
Better yet, why has Harper initiated the longest election in Canadian history since 1872?
According to Harper, it's not because he's "gaming the system," an accusation levelled by former head of Elections Canada Jean-Pierre Kingsley over the weekend. Nor is it because he's trying to give himself a financial edge and maybe "bankrupt" the opposition parties in the process, as Pundits Guide's Alice Funke suggested a few months ago.
No, according to Harper, it's because he has too much respect for the rule of law.
"I feel very strongly," Harper explained Sunday at Rideau Hall, "that if we're going to begin our campaigns, if we're going to run our campaigns, that those campaigns need to be conducted under the rules of the law."
Rule of law?
Haven't heard many Conservatives utter that term since Conservative MP Diane Ablonczy used air quotes back in March to dismiss the "rule of law" as if it were some made-up thing during committee hearings into Harper's Bill C-51:
If we are to take Harper at his word, a quick record check on how well the Conservatives' have managed to conduct elections according to the "rule of law" in the past is in order:
In 2006, several Conservatives, including Senators Irving Gerstein and Doug Finley were charge for their role in the 'in and out' election spending scandal.
In 2014, former Conservative staffer Michael Sona was sentenced to nine months in jail for his role in the 2011 robocall scandal. In his verdict, Ontario Superior Court Judge Gary Hearn remarked "the evidence indicates [Sona] did not likely act alone."
Last month, Stephen Harper's former parliamentary secretary Dean Del Mastro was sentenced to a month in jail on charges relating to exceeding election spending limits during the 2011 election.
At Rideau Hall, Harper went on to add that he feels the money for this election should "come from the parties themselves, not from the government resources, parliamentary resources or taxpayers' resources."
That's funny, considering:
Nearly half-a-billion dollars has been spent on Economic Action Plan ads over the last five years, ads that promote the Conservative government's policies, not to mention a $7.5 million pre-election ad blitz.
Harper's jobs minister actually shows up to official public events wearing Conservative Party of Canada golf shirts
Even Conservative Ministers are mixing public and party business: Minister of Natural Resources Greg Rickford expensed a trip to Toronto to taxpayers in order to ring a bell at the Toronto Stock Exchange then head over to a big money Conservative fundraiser in Rosedale later that night.
Canadians will cast their votes on October 19th.