A former Vancouver Island University poli sci prof says there’s a 50-50 chance we could see a federal election before October 2015.

Alan Warnke says campaigning is already underway, and recent visits to BC from the NDP and Liberal leaders were part of the maneuvering.

Warnke says Stephen Harper’s future as Conservative leader likely hinges on winning a majority in 2015, and the election timing will have more to do with when he thinks he has the best chance. He also says it’s clear what the Conservatives want the main issue to be.

Warnke says a couple of things could trigger an early election: The need to renew the commitment of Canadian forces to fight extremists in the middle east, and a desire by the Prime Minister to avoid fresh attention on the Senate scandal as the Duffy case goes to trial.