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Stephen Harper 2015: Prime Minister To Run In Next Election, Wants Parliament Prorogued

Prime Minister Stephen Harper confirmed Monday he intends to prorogue Parliament, with a speech from the throne likely to kick off a new parliamentary session in October.

He also put to rest any rumours he won’t be running again in 2015.

CBC News reports Harper was asked about his political future during a speech in Whitehorse and, specifically, whether he would lead Conservatives into the next election.

The prime minister chuckled before offering up a response.

"The answer to the last question is, of course, yes,'' he to cheers from partisan supporters. "I'm actually disappointed you feel the need to ask that question.''

The prime minister says most of the promises Tories made in the last election have been fulfilled and the time has come for the government to put forth a new parliamentary agenda.

Harper says the Conservative government will remained focused on the economy.

Of course, it's not the first time Harper has used prorogation, a standard parliamentary tool that has the effect of cancelling any legislation that's still before the House.

In December 2008, Harper prorogued rather than face a vote of non-confidence when his Conservatives held a minority government and the Liberals, New Democrats and Bloc Quebecois were threatening his grip on power.

He prorogued again the following year, halting House of Commons committee hearings into the treatment of Afghan detainees and killing a number of pieces of legislation.

Prorogation jumped into the headlines again last fall when then-Ontario premier Dalton McGuinty, embroiled in a number of scandals, resigned as Liberal leader and called a halt to business at the provincial legislature.

In Ottawa, Senate reform legislation is just one of several bills that will die on the order paper.

Other affected legislation includes changes to the Canada Elections Act to establish new rules for political loans, and a private member's bill that would require labour unions to publish detailed financial information.

In the case of the labour union bill, also known as Bill C-377, the library of Parliament says the legislation would be restored to third reading, the last stage completed by the House of Commons.

"Thus, the bill would be sent back to the Senate in the same state it had been when it was passed at third reading by the House in December 2012, prior to the Senate amendment," the library said in an email to The Canadian Press.

"The Senate would then begin the process of considering the bill anew; the Senate may vote to pass the bill unamended, amend the bill in precisely the same way it had been amended before, or introduce entirely new amendments."

Harper has faced intense scrutiny in recent months over the Senate expense scandal and Wright-Duffy affair.

There have been rumours Harper could decide to step down before the next election, expected in 2015, particularly after Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau vaulted to the top in national polls.

"I have no idea what the PM is going to do," wrote journalist Steve Paikin in March. "But I do know he's a man who would prefer to go out on top, rather than through an election defeat."

In June, Toronto Star columnist Chantal Hebert wrote that the idea of Harper calling it quits wasn’t so implausible.

"With every passing day, the notion that Stephen Harper could pack it in before the next election and let someone else try to keep his fractious party whole enough to hang onto power in two years sound less and less far-fetched," she wrote.

Others suggested Harper wasn’t going anywhere and would relish the chance to take on Trudeau and NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair.

Just before Harper’s cabinet shuffle in July, HuffPost Canada invited readers to participate in an unscientific survey to determine which member from within and outside the Tory caucus may replace him as leader. New Justice Minister Peter MacKay was the overwhelming favourite from within Harper’s caucus, while former minister Jim Prentice was seen as the "outsider" with the best shot at landing the big job.

But it seems it will be Harper vs. Mulcair vs. Trudeau for 2015 — a lineup that should make for an intriguing campaign.

"The trio of Harper, Trudeau, and NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair is probably one of the strongest Canada has seen since the arrival of the Reform Party and the Bloc Québécois broke-up the three-party system that previously prevailed," wrote Eric Grenier this spring.

Reaction to Harper’s prorogation hat trick was swift on Twitter, with many suggesting the PM was running scared and others saying the move was pretty routine.

With files from The Canadian Press

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