OTTAWA – The federal Conservative government has lost a vote of confidence and the nation is now experiencing election-fever. .
Parliament opened last Friday with a motion of non-confidence on the floor from the Liberals and it was no secret the NDP and Bloc Quebecois were poised to support the motion, which they did unanimously, but for the first time in Canadian politics it was also a motion that held the ruling Conservatives in contempt of Parliament for withholding information the opposition said it needed to vote on legislation.
On Saturday Prime Minister Stephen Harper asked Governor General David Johnston for an election.
In the Cumberland-Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley riding, Conservative incumbent Scott Armstrong will face off against some familiar faces on the campaign trail and at least one newcomer when the writ is dropped.
As the final minutes of the 40th Canadian government came to an end, Liberal candidate Jim Burrows was updating his Facebook account and Tweeting on the high cost to taxpayers when the nation hosted the G20 in Toronto last summer and the Liberals proposed tax credit for firefighters.
“Once the writs drops we’re starting door-to-door campaigning, attending more events, the signs will be going up and the advertising will be going out,” Burrows said. “We’re all set to go.”
In the last federal election Burrows claimed almost 5,200 votes, or 21.3 per cent of the vote.
Christian Heritage Party leader Jim Hnatiuk also confirmed Friday afternoon he is reoffering in the election, looking to gain ground on the party’s 2009 results.
“I will be,” Hnatiuk said. “I’m also going on the 4th of April to rally the troops with the CHP in Southern Ontario. After that I’ll predominantly be back in my own riding, door-knocking and doing everything I’m supposed to be doing right here at home.”
For the party’s first bid in local politics during the 2009 election, Hnatiuk and the CHP earned 3.1 per cent of the vote, or 770 ballots.
Green Party candidate Jason Blanch, who marginally pulled ahead of the CHP with 3.3 per cent of the vote, or 803 votes.
“Absolutely, I’m having a meeting right now. Generally speaking, the Conservative minority government has not been moving forward in a way that is positive for us as a nation,” Blanche said from his headquarters in Amherst.
New to federal politics, Stewiacke Deputy Mayor Wendy Robinson claimed the New Democrat Party’s candidacy for the riding earlier this month after Mark Austin stepped down to take a position as director of Coastal Communities Network.
Speaking with the Truro Daily News, Robinson said an NDP win in the historically Conservative riding would be an uphill battle but not impossible. In the provincial election Cumberland North, Truro-Bible Hill and Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley all went NDP after a long history of voting Tory.
“I think when the election comes, people aren’t going to vote for who had the best attack ads,” Leslie said. “I do think that people are going to vote for who has a track record here, who actually gets things done.”
In the 2009 election the NDP came in second in the polls, with 6,267 votes.
Incumbent Scott Armstrong won the riding in his first bid in federal politics, raking in 11,167 votes. Independent Kate Graves claimed 149 votes.
With files from Jason Malloy