When is the next Canadian federal election to be held?

Hi Dopers,

Could someone tell me when the next Canadian federal election will be held?



At some point between now, and October 14, 2013. Constitutionally, a federal election must be held no more than five years after the date of the last one, but it can occur at any time and for a few reasons, within that five year period.

Parliament has passed legislation stating that a general election occurs on the third Monday in October, in the fourth calendar year after the previous election (more here), but that is only an act of Parliament. As Parliament can change its mind, and this legislation allows for earlier elections if wanted or needed; and the Constitution is the supreme law of the land, I’d suggest the Constitutional “at some point before October 14, 2013” is as accurate as we can get right now.

Thanks for that, Spoons. It seems that we’ve had our current PM for an eternity … :rolleyes: Here is another Q: how long may a Canadian PM stay in office (in total)? Please forgive my fading memory of these facts.


Honey :slight_smile:

There is no limit. A PM could be there for 100 years if he managed to get reelected.

I don’t remember this being the case… :confused: but thanks for setting me straight, Intelligently Designed. :slight_smile:

For information purposes, the longest single period a Prime Minister has held office is 15 years, by Laurier. Trudeau was also Prime Minister for 15 years, but Joe Clark had his minority, nearly-a-year government after the first 11.

Thanks for the info, Cerowyn. :slight_smile:

There were just some by-elections recently (November 29). A couple of days before that I had a NDP candidate show up at my door and ask if I had been thinking about federal politics. He handed me a couple thing with Jack Laytons’ smarmy mug on them.

Of course Wiki has an article already: 2011 Canadian federal election - Wikipedia

Perhaps that is because he won two elections? Admittedly the second one was only 2 years after the first.

It’s also worth noting that William Lyon Mackenzie King was PM for 21 (non-consecutive) years.

I’m convinced Jack Layton entered federal politics for the sole reason of getting his face plastered all over Canada.

From the linked Wikipedia article:

So it would appear that a vote of no confidence, or an advised dissolution, can result in an election before the four-year span; the effect of the law seems to be that in the absence of confidence vote or advised dissolution,, Canada will have an U.S.-style fixed-date election at four-year intervals. In other words, it’s still a Parliamntary Government, subject to removal at any time, but with a statutory time limit for general elections added over and above the Constitutionally required one.

Since a Prime Minister can still request dissolution of Parliament for any reason, the fixed date is not binding like in the US, it is more like an expiration date or a default date.

That’s correct. A citizens’ advocacy group challenged the 2008 dissolution of Parliament on the basis that it did not comply with this statute. The Federal Court and the Federal Court of Appeal both dismissed the challenge:

(My underlining.)

Canada does not have term limits, for either Members of Parliament or members of Cabinet, including the Prime Minister (Senators, of course, have the term limit of 1 term - which lasts until they turn 75). The Prime Minister serves until he resigns, dies, or is dimissed by the Governor General. Two Prime Ministers have died in office (Macdonald and Thompson); none have ever been dismissed; all of the rest have resigned, either to take retirement, or after being defeated in a general election.

So as long as the people keep voting for a particular Prime Minister, he can stay in office. They can also return to office after a period in Opposition: Macdonald, Meighen, King and Trudeau all came back to office after having been defeated at the polls. King is the leader on this point: he served three different terms.

Are you saying that Clark had a term in office between two non-consecutive Trudeau terms? (The clause after the “but” is difficult to parse.)

Correct. Here’s more: Joe Clark - Wikipedia

Trudeau (Liberal) served as PM from 1968 to 1979, winning elections in 1968, 1972 and 1974. He lost the 1979 election, but it was a squeaker, resulting in a parliament where no party had a clear majority, but the Progressive Conservatives had more seats than the Liberals. Trudeau resigned the Prime Ministership and Joe Clark, leader of the PCs, became Prime Minister. Trudeau also announced that he was resigning as leader of the Liberals. He stayed on as leader pending the arrangements for a leadership convention by the Liberal Party.

That was in the spring and summer of 1979. In December, 1979, Clark introduced his budget in the Commons, and it was defeated. The loss of a budget vote is automatically a confidence matter, triggering a general election. Since Trudeau was still the leader of the Liberals, he led them in the election, and won a majority, less than a year after he had lost the previous election. He became Prime Minister again.

Once he was returned to power, Trudeau put most of his focus onto his major project, patriating the Constitution from Britain and enacting a Charter of Rights. He succeeded in both, marking the most significant constitutional amendments since Confederation in 1867. He then retired for good in 1984.

In retrospect, the fall of the Clark government was one of the most significant political events of the latter part of the 20th century. If Clark had managed to stay in power, Trudeau would have been gone from the scene and there’s no certainty at all that we would have had either patriation of the Constitution, or the Charter of Rights.

Well the Bill of Rights (1960) likely would’ve evolved into something Charter like.