Brace yourself: A political storm unlike any other is coming your way
Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau, NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair and Prime Minister Stephen Harper are seen in this combination image. (Canadian Press)
The political forecast for this summer is hot, steamy and stormy.
High candidate pressure is already descending on doorsteps across Canada amid a hail of attack ads backed by the soundtrack of partisan thunder.
Ok, enough with the bad weather metaphors.
But this will be a summer for the electoral ages, entrancing political junkies while normal Canadians cover their ears trying to drown out the noise.
We have a 10-year-old prime minister fixated on becoming the fifth longest-serving in Canadian history with a fourth election victory.
To be defeated or pushed back to another minority is unfathomable to Stephen Harper. Any means will justify the ends, provided it ends in another majority mandate.
So there will be blood on the campaign trail.
The Conservative election machine will be like the notorious Borg of Star Trek fame – a central brain mass tethered to 330 candidates programmed how to act, what to represent and what not to say.
Resistance isn’t quite futile, but the advantages of Harper’s campaign experience, his choke-chain discipline and a bottomless bank account to smear the enemy means the Conservatives are very much the party to beat.
The NDP is on a popularity high and leader Tom Mulcair is doing a convincing job of occupying the prime ministerial waiting room, but the party must deliver the mission impossible of four flawless months of campaigning while guarding against prematurely planning to redecorate 24 Sussex Drive in orange colours.
As for the Liberals, with their sunny-side-up leadership style, well, enough with the Polyanna routine. They have got to shake the mentality that they’ll win by virtue of having the 'Son God from Pierre Trudeau' mythology as leader and launch a take-no-prisoners attack against both rivals.
This will be an epic battle and each potential winner has the capacity to alter Canada’s course in domestic image, worldly attitude and fiscal policy.
Despite the distractions of summer vacation, voters should consider taking time before a busy fall returns to educate themselves on the key differences which define each party.
You’re not voting for a party leader or a label this time. For once, it’s not hyperbole to suggest you’re either voting for dramatic change or to keep Canada just the way it is.