Big news in the only political system that matters as Canadian PM Steven Harper dissolves parliament and calls for early elections. Harper’s conservatives have been running the government since the last election, but they lack a majority. At the moment, though, the Canadian economy is growing quite nicely (rising natural resource prices are good for Canada) and Harper’s government is popular so they think they can pull it off. The Conservatives’ unpopularity in Québec, where they’re in effect the third party behind the separatists and the Liberals, makes it quite difficult, structurally speaking, for them to ever win a majority so if they manage do to so it’ll be a pretty impressive achievement.
UPDATE: Apologies! It looks like Canada’s changed more than I realized while I wasn’t paying attention and Québec conservatism is back, with the Liberals expected to finish third in the province. The Canadian right, like the American right, contains nationalist impulses and also decentralizing impulses — the former plays poorly in Québec but the latter can be made to work very well.