Quit stalling

In the wake of a Tory convention over the weekend, Premier Ernie Eves is now musing about holding off on calling a provincial election until next fall.
Let’s hope he’s not serious.
True, with Mike Harris winning a second majority back in 1999, Premier Eves doesn’t have to call an election until 2004. But it’s common practice for governments—at both the federal and provincial levels—to seek a new mandate from voters after four years, not closer to five.
It’s also typical that a person who becomes prime minister or premier after winning a leadership race within the party, like Mr. Eves did earlier this year when Mr. Harris stepped down, calls an election sooner than later to legitimize their position by garnering the support of the general populace, not just a few thousand party faithful.
Clearly, Premier Eves is backing away from calling an election anytime soon for one reason: the Tories aren’t in a position to win right now. The party has slipped sharply in the polls under his leadership thus far, and there’s no reason to think that’s going to change in the near future—particularly with skyrocketing hydro bills sure to come this winter.
Indeed, Mr. Eves will be tempted to wait as long as possible in hopes his party’s fortunes turn around. And you can bet there will be more than a few pre-election “goodies” in store to convince (buy) voters to return to the fold before the writ is dropped.
But really, the bottom line is this: Mr. Eves is premier because he captured the majority of some 34,000 people. And given he’s already distanced himself from some of the unpopular policies of Mr. Harris, and begun to stake out his own direction, he should be champing at the bit to seek a fresh mandate from the people, not ducking from it.
Let the people decide, Mr. Premier, and soon. And may the best party win.

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