Canada's Justin Trudeau calls general election on October 21

Cheryl Sanders
September 12, 2019

How do you debate a prime minister who doesn't show up?

The prime minister and his wife, Sophie Grégoire Trudeau, had just visited with Gov. Gen. Julie Payette at Rideau Hall in Ottawa to ask to dissolve Parliament and launch the election, scheduled for October 21. Not since 1935 has a Canadian prime minister who won a parliamentary majority in his first term been booted from office in the next election. The party's parlous position allowed it to take unusual political risks, offering the voters an inexperienced leader who promised an ambitious reform agenda and gender equity in his Cabinet, which today also includes three Sikhs, more than are in the Cabinet of India.

Trudeau says this is a chance for Canadians to have a say on the future of the country, "We get to make an important choice about the future of our country".

Justin Trudeau wades by the group as he can make ant election campaign prevent in Edmonton Sept. 12 2019.
David Bloom  Postmedia
Justin Trudeau wades by the group as he can make ant election campaign prevent in Edmonton Sept. 12 2019. David Bloom Postmedia

He then quickly pivoted to framing for Canadians how he wants them to see his main rival in this election, Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer: as Stephen Harper 2.0.

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

Unfortunately, the Liberal Party has found themselves off to a rough start.

Conservative leader Andrew Scheer, 40, holds the record as the youngest speaker ever in Canada's House of Commons.

Meanwhile NDP Leader Jameet Singh launched his election campaign in London, Ontario moments after the writ was dropped.

The party, which led the pack at the start of the 2015 campaign but ended up coming in third place, is dipping in the polls and struggling to raise money this year.

Finally, a satirical political group that calls itself the Rhinoceros Party - but which is recognized by Canada's federal election regulator as a registered party - said it plans to field a candidate to run against Maxime Bernier, the leader of the right-wing People's Party of Canada (PPC).

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

What are the big issues?

One area of certain contention is the environment, especially among liberals (preoccupied by global climate change) and Westerners (with an economy in large measure dependent upon energy extraction and virulently opposed to a carbon tax).

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