The Peterborough Examiner

Canadians face vital vote in volatile times

- — Postmedia Network

If reports are correct, Prime Minister Stephen Harper will visit Gov. Gen. David Johnston Sunday and dissolve Parliament, which will trigger a federal election campaign.

The prime minister said Wednesday he considers the Oct. 19 election date set in stone. That means the election would last 11 weeks, the longest in Canada’s history.

It’s the race that matters, the timing, not so much.

There will be plenty of ink spilled and radio and television time devoted to the inside baseball reporting of this campaign. Whether the bulging Conservati­ve war chest will give Harper an advantage, whether voter fatigue in a long campaign will play a role. And then there will be the horse race play-by-play of the opinion polls.

None of that will change the core issues and decisions Canadians will need to make. What kind of future do we want?

We live in difficult times. Our economy remains vulnerable. This creates uncertaint­y both in the business community and in how families plan their future.

Low oil prices are hammering the West and the manufactur­ing base in the East continues to struggle with ongoing erosion and job losses.

Our cities face challenges on many fronts including housing and infrastruc­ture, particular­ly roads and public transit. All three parties have a plan to help the middle class.

All deserve considerat­ion and scrutiny, but the middle class needs relief, not more taxation. Voters should also be concerned about debt and the need for a balanced budget.

Our debt is real and our political parties can’t live on a credit card.

We need clear plans for the future. Surely Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau no longer thinks “the budget will balance itself.”

And finally, we have a role to play in making the world a safer, better place.

There are daily stories about Islamic State’s atrocities abroad.

But Canada isn’t immune to a terror attack. Sadly, we know this to be fact. This country has issues with homegrown terrorists and the use of Canada as a recruiting ground and fundraiser for terror groups.

So the election call may come later this week, or within a few weeks. But regardless of when it happens, the issues that matter remain the same.

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