The Current

Long campaign trail ahead means all eyes on the economy

Research shows Harper's move to a longer campaign might not work in his favour because the longer the campaign, the more we focus on the economy — which might not be as strong as the Conservatives think or wish.
Canada's Prime Minister Stephen Harper takes part in a news conference at Rideau Hall. (Blair Gable/Reuters)

Conservative Party Leader Stephen Harper kicked off an eleven-week federal election campaign yesterday — the longest one in more than a hundred years.

As much of the country enjoys an August holiday today, the 19th of October may seem far, far away. But now that it's official, election day is beginning to come into focus.

The common wisdom going into this election is that its unprecedented length gives the Conservatives an economic advantage. With the largest war chest, they'll have more time to outspend their opponents.

But when it comes to their messaging, the extra time may be less advantageous.

Canadian economic growth has stumbled in recent months. And according to work by political scientist Randy Stevenson, the longer a campaign goes on, the more likely it is to ultimately turn on the economy.

Stevenson is a professor of political science and director of the Center for the Study of Demographic Representation at Rice University. He joined us from Houston, Texas.

For a snapshot of the state of the Canadian economy at the outset of this election, we were joined by two additional guests:

  • Armine Yalnizyan, an economist with the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
  • Catherine Swift, spokesperson for Working Canadians and the former President of the Canadian Federation of Independent Business

What impact do you think the economy will have on the Conservatives' campaign trail? Let us know by tweeting us @TheCurrentCBC, writing to us on Facebook, or sending us an email.

This segment was produced by The Current's Sonya Buyting and Max Paris.