Published: Thu, September 12, 2019
Global News | By Blake Casey

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau calls general election for October 21

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau calls general election for October 21

The Canadian election campaign is off to a flying start, even if Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's plane was grounded by a scraped wing.

The 47-year-old Trudeau, who is seeking a second term, visited Governor General Julie Payette, Canada's acting head of state, on Wednesday morning to formally launch the campaign.

Mr Scheer said of the upcoming election: "We are going to be outlining our vision for the country to put more money back in the pockets of Canadians and let them get ahead".

Trudeau and 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.

One of the largest pieces of luggage has been the SNC-Lavalin affair, the controversy surrounding Trudeau's having pressured his former attorney general, Jody Wilson-Raybould, to help the engineering and construction giant avoid a criminal trial over fraud and bribery charges.

The charismatic Liberal prime minister who won a surprise landslide in 2015 on the promise of "sunny ways" for all Canadians will be battling to hold on to his parliamentary majority against untested adversaries across the political spectrum.

All the candidates had planned appearances at battleground ridings, or districts, to talk about climate change, the economy, and other hotbutton issues.

The campaign is now shaping up to be a battle between two parties: the Liberals and the Conservatives.

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"I do not engage in personal attacks but I will be very, very sharp on distinctions around policy", he said on Wednesday.

The scandal rocked the government and led to multiple resignations earlier this year, causing a drop in the leader's poll ratings.

The prime minister, who is admired overseas for his progressive policies but plagued by scandals at home, faces a test of his popularity this campaign season.

And Green Party leader Elizabeth May was in Victoria, stressing trust in leadership.

His principal rival is Andrew Scheer, who for the last two years has led the country's Conservative Party.

Another fresh face in federal politics is Jagmeet Singh, 40.

He was elected as leader of Canada's Conservative Party in 2017 and the party generally supports a strong federal system of government. A recent survey by Campaign Research, which polled 2,094 Canadians between September 3 to September 5, found that both the Liberal and Conservative parties were sitting at 34 per cent support.

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