On the advice of Prime Minister Stephen Harper, Governor General Michaëlle Jean dissolves the 39th Canadian Parliament on September 7th and calls early elections to be held October 14. (from Wikipedia)
So basically, they’ll do in five weeks in what seems to take the American parties three years. Now this isn’t always the case, there is a maximum length of time that a parliament can sit, but the Prime Minister can call an election anytime, and will often do this at an advantageous moment for his/her party. And since Harper has a minority government at the moment (i.e. his party doesn’t make up more than half the government but they have more seats than anyone else so they’re in charge) it is a good idea to call an election when you’re ahead in the polls in case something dire happens and the parliament holds a vote of confidence.
And, as always, it will be interesting to see who wins. It will likely be Harper as the other main party leaders are very Quebec-centric and of the old-crony variety. Whatever happens, a lot of the discussion boils down to eastern Canada vs. Western Canada. Eastern Canada is more heavily populated than Western Canada. That means that the electoral decision is often made before the west even goes to the polls. Today however, Western Canada holds much of the resource wealth and plans on hanging on to it, not wanting to see it head east for their use. So the Quebec-centric leaders have to be mindful of this or you will see much more than rumblings about Western Canada ceding from the country, like Quebec’s (so-far empty) threats.
Oh, it’s all so soap opera-like. I love it.