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The Longest Canadian Election In A Century And A Half Is Here

Election fever will sweep Canada this August. And September. And October.

Stephen Harper went to the governor general's home today to have parliament dissolved. The 42nd Canadian federal election is on.

Canadians will go to the polls on the fixed election date of October 19.

The 78-day campaign is the longest since 1872, when politicians had to cross the country by rail and battled dysentery.

Via CBC News

The length of the campaign is controversial because it more than doubles the election spending cap. Instead of $25 million for a 37-day campaign, parties can now spend $52.7 million. That helps the Conservatives, who are richer than the other parties.

Harper brushed this off, pointing out the election call means parties have to start spending their own money instead of parliamentary budgets funded by the taxpayers.

Via CBC News

That's true, though taxpayers will be subsidizing 50% of each party's election costs.

Harper focused heavily on the tumultuous global economy in his speech. He argued it's too risky to put the Canadian economy in the hands of the inexperienced opposition parties. The "not worth the risk" strategy has worked well with Harper in the past.

He also hit on the terrorist group ISIS, which he said poses a direct threat to Canada. Those topics, the economy and security, will likely be the main tentpoles of the Conservative campaign.

“A national election is not a popularity contest," he said.

NDP Leader Tom Mulcair spoke afterwards, accusing Stephen Harper of having the worst economic record since the 1960s.

Via CBC News

Mulcair promised a national childcare program and attacked Harper for fighting First Nations groups in court.

He also said he has experience making tough choices as a cabinet minister in the Quebec government to try to counter Harper's argument the NDP is economically risky. With the country falling back into recession, every politician wants to be seen as the best economic manager.

Trudeau, who was in transit, did not speak.

The parties have a long summer ahead of them, and the first debate is this Thursday. In the meantime, the first terrible, crippling mistake has already been made

Stephen Harper just angered #CoronationStreet fans--his election announcement preempted the end of a HUGE story line. #canpoli #exln2015

Oh dear God, those people don’t forgive. https://t.co/9QwtIzfOCp

Paul McLeod is a politics reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in Washington, DC.

Contact Paul McLeod at paul.mcleod@buzzfeed.com.

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