This chart compares the gap between election and recall of the legislature, after the most recent election in each of the ten provinces. (This fall's elections are not included, as legislatures have not reconvened yet.)
All the elections are aligned on "E" day (for election). The bar to the left of "E" shows the duration of the election campaign. The election campaigns are colour-coded by season; brown for fall, green for spring, and Alberta's late-winter election in blue. An elections which resulted in the change of government is marked with an asterisk.
The election campaigns are also portrayed proportionate to their length. Newfoundland and Labrador provincial elections are the shortest in the country by about eight days; and, no, the fixed election date is no excuse either, given that most of the other provincial elections were also run under fixed date legislation.
The peach-coloured bar represents the break between the election and the resumption of legislative activity, with the length of that gap indicated. The legislature sat during some or all of the time-period rendered in pale blue.
After the 2007 election, the Newfoundland and Labrador House of Assembly did no reconvene for five months. Only British Columbia's break topped 100 days.
Re-elected or newly-elected governments in the nine provinces west of the Cabot Strait averaged 41 days after the election before reconvening the legislature. Excluding BC, the average drops to 33 days.
Premier Dunderdale uses the excuse that she has to shuffle her cabinet, get everyone briefed, and come up with some legislation to bring before the House. Almost her entire incumbent caucus and cabinet was re-elected last Tuesday. The last four newly-elected provincial governments (PEI, NS, NB, and SK), with completely new cabinets and legislative agendas, averaged just under 30 days before the legislature was back in session. Working forward from October 11, 2011, would allow MHAs a break until after Remembrance Day activities back in their districts, and a fall session of historically-typical length before heading back for the Christmas break.
So much for Excuse No. 1.
Then there's the alternative explanation that all the hard, busy work of shuffling minister and briefing them (presumably, as in the good ol' days of 2009 and 2010, with as little ATIPpable paper trail as possible) will take us into Christmas. And we can't have that.
The four most recent fall provincial elections (other than in NL) saw legislatures resume after an average of 37 days. Two of those were also change-of-government elections. Again, a break of this length would allow the House of Assembly to return in mid-October, after Remembrance Day events, with an easy three sitting weeks thereafter slotting comfortable into just about any calendar anywhere else in the country.
So much for Excuse No. 2.
Any other excuses?