The possibility of a fall federal election could mean a lot for New Brunswick's political parties as they ramp up for the provincial campaign. Their federal counterparts will tap into donations that would otherwise head into provincial coffers, which would hand the Liberals an advantage considering they already have a large financial lead on the PCs.
It would also divert some volunteers from one campaign office to another. But the biggest potential impact is found in the Legislative Assembly Act. A federal election that conflicts with a fixed-date provincial vote is one of the very few circumstances in which the provincial date can be legally changed.
So if it became clear that Prime Minister Stephen Harper was going to send Canadians to the polls, Premier Shawn Graham could change the provincial election date to the fourth Monday of October.
An extra month could give the Liberals more time to talk about things other than NB Power, although if Harper were to win another federal election, that could have a bandwagon effect for Tory Leader David Alward.
The other option for Graham would be to go on the fourth Monday of August and that would mean the writ would need to be dropped in about two and a half weeks. And it's unlikely Harper's intentions will be clear by then.
- Daniel McHardie