If Conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper lead a solid majority of seats in Parliament, he could sit tight for up to four years before being required to face voters once again.
But Harper has only been able to attain minority rule since he took power in 2006. His government can fall whenever major planks – such as the budget – lack support from at least one other party.
Polls show voters dislike this steady diet of campaigning. If triggered, this would be the fourth election in the last seven years. But politicians can't resist trying to shift the unstable situation.
Harper is still after that elusive majority. Michael Ignatieff is under pressure to pull the Liberal Party out of their long slump.
Harper was courting the New Democratic Party, in hopes of squeaking this budget through. But the NDP's Jack Layton said it just didn't offer enough to earn his support. The Bloc Québécois also found the budget wanting.
A number of confidence measures could come up for Parliamentary votes as soon as this week. Any of which could send Canadians back to the polls by early May.