Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau calls general election for October 21


Updated

September 12, 2019 02:55:04

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has formally launched a six-week campaign for re-election in which he and his rivals will crisscross the country to try to win over voters.

Key points:

  • Mr Trudeau is expected to hold a campaign rally in Vancouver later today
  • He and Conservatives Leader Andrew Scheer are in a dead heat, according to national polls
  • Not since 1935 has a government that won a majority of seats in Parliament in its first term lost power in the next election

“Canadians will head to the polls on October 21,” Mr Trudeau told reporters after Governor-General Julie Payette, the acting head of state, agreed to dissolve Parliament.

“We’ve done a lot this past four years, but the truth is we’re just getting started.”

He said Canadians need to decide whether they want to go back to the failed policies of a conservative government that believes in cuts and austerity.

While the election date has been set for some time, Canada’s official campaign period is a tradition fraught with unexpected turns that can lead to unforeseen outcomes.

The ruling Liberals were in third place when the 2015 election was called, but pulled off an outright victory.

Mr Trudeau and his main opponent, Conservative Party leader Andrew Scheer, are in a dead heat according to national polls, but smaller parties on the right and left could also play key roles as spoilers or kingmakers on election day.

Not since 1935 has a government that won a majority of seats in Parliament in its first term lost power in the next election in Canada.

After making the announcement, Mr Trudeau left for Vancouver, British Colombia, where he will hold a campaign rally later on Wednesday (local time).

Green Party leader Elizabeth May and Jagmeet Singh, the leader of the left-wing New Democrat Party, started the day with rallies.

Mr Scheer said Mr Trudeau “has lost the moral authority to govern” after the Globe and Mail newspaper reported that his Government was stonewalling police who were looking into the SNC-Lavalin scandal, a corporate corruption case that has dogged the Prime Minister this year.

Mr Scheer, along with a number of embedded journalists, then boarded his signature campaign jet for Quebec, though the flight was diverted to an airport more than an hour from his planned rally due to fog.

For Mr Trudeau, the Globe and Mail report upset what had been a carefully staged morning in which he was filmed walking his three kids to school with his wife, Sophie, before meeting with the Governor-General.

After the meeting, Mr Trudeau faced a barrage of questions from journalists about the SNC-Lavalin story.

Reuters/AP

Topics:

elections,

world-politics,

government-and-politics,

canada

First posted

September 12, 2019 02:53:03



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