The top 10 reasons Stephen Harper is grasping at straws to force an election down the throats of Canadians, that is:
10. Despite Harper's saying that an early election has doing to do with the by-elections on the 8th and 22nd, any election before then is in fact, simply because this round of by-elections is going to return crappy results for the Tories. In Guelph, internal polling is showing us with a comfortable lead over the Tories in a riding that should be low-hanging fruit for them, given it's semi-rural nature, and habit of voting for the government. However, Gloria Kovach's PMO managed campaign of fear has so far been ineffective, and in Saint Lambert, the Liberals are beating the Tories in terms of voter ID and momentum, given the poor reception things like arts cuts funding have had in Quebec, and while an upset over the BQ might still be wishful thinking, the Liberals have a good shot of retaining second place in the by-election, and the Conservatives are going to do anything to hide from the Canadian people that their status as the federalist party outside Montreal is in threat.
9. Following the Quebec theme, the release of Julie Couillard's book on the 14th of October, and while I doubt it will have anything we don't already know, it will inevitably bring the issue of Maxime Bernier back into the headlines.
8. The use of extra-writ tactics like ad bombs, and the infamous 10%ers are having little to no effect (even a backlash) so the only way the Tories can continue the negative blitz on Dion is via an election.
7. The Conservatives, while still seen as having an advantage on economic issues, do have a fear of an economic downturn, particularly when the Conservative economic plan so far has consisted of having the Finance Minister say not to invest in the largest province in Confederation. (It is worth noting the seat of the Finance Minister is one of the ridings to be have hit particularly hard, and that Flaherty has a pretty small electoral cushion).
6. In response to constant and unprecedented attacks on a provincial government, Dalton McGuinty has said he will play an active role in the campaign, and given that McGuinty and the provincial Liberals are doubtlessly more popular, this is something that the federal Conservatives will try to neutralize by holding an election while QP is in session, limiting the time Dalton and other provincial Liberals can spend on the campaign trail.
5. The decision in the Elections Canada case is in all likelihood going to come down in the fall, and a decision in favour of EC during an election would cause obvious problems for the Conservatives.
4. Related, the Conservatives are getting dangerously close to contempt of Parliament in regards to their actions toward the Ethics Committee (great having an "accountable" and "open" government, isn't it?) and at this point, the Committee doesn't even have to make an actual findings, the existence of the Committee and it's investigative work is already a huge lost PR battle.
3. Against the wishes of the so-con grassroots of the party, the Tory leadership shelved Ken Epp's abortion bill, probably because passing it would remind swing voters how regressive the Conservatives are on social policy. With the Tory convention coming up, many pundits thought the Conservatives wouldn't go for an election until after the convention, so that they had some actual policy proposals to put forward during an election, instead of minor tweaks to taxes and crime law, and tons of negative attack ads. Given that an election in the fall would push the Tory convention back, was some of the policy being proposed at the Reform Party dominated grassroots level a little less then, how shall we say, presentable to the population as a whole?
2. Harper is afraid of an Obama victory in the US election, which would inspire the Liberals and give them some wind in the sails going into or during an election campaign.
and the number one reason Harper is breaking his word and forcing an election down our throats....
1. Stephane Dion has started to get some positive optics, momentum, and an issue he is comfortable to fight on, and Harper wants to go to the polls and save his own ass before Dion and the Liberals get any stronger.