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Cotler supports fixed election dates (The Suburban)

Posted on August 6, 2008

By Joel Goldenberg, The Suburban

Mount Royal MP Irwin Cotler supports the Conservatives? fixing of election dates every four years, which would mean an election in October 2009, but says the Tories contradict themselves by accusing Liberal leader Stéphane Dion of waffling in spurring a new election through a non-confidence vote.

?The prime minister did a good thing in fixing the election date, it will be held in October 2009,? the MP told a media briefing at his Mount Royal riding office last week. ?Now, why should they accuse Dion of waffling when they say they want an election according to fixed dates?

?It doesn?t preclude an election being called on a non-confidence motion, then that?s the choice of the opposition leader based on whether the Canadian people appear desirous of an election… or when there is an issue that is reason enough to call an election. That may happen because Harper will characterize something as a non-confidence vote which will be unpalatable to us.?

However, an October 2009 election would be held in close proximity to the planned merged municipal and school board elections in November of that year. Côte St. Luc and other municipalities have already passed resolutions objecting to the municipal and school board elections being held on the same day.

?It wouldn?t be the first time that there have been elections [close together],? Cotler said. ?When municipalities have theirs at the same time, one hopes and tries to avoid this because you don?t want to have overlapping elections, issues and volunteers. I?m hoping this, as much as possible, can be avoided. It may be sometimes unavoidable.?

Côte St. Luc Mayor Anthony Housefather said that any municipal politician would prefer that the public focus on municipal issues at election time.

?This would be very difficult when a second election is taking place at the same time which overshadows the municipal election,? he said. ?Since both municipal election dates are fixed, if federal election dates also become fixed dates, the provincial government should endeavor to separate the dates.?

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