Trudeau dissolves parliament, launches campaign for general elections

The parties have already been wooing voters with pre-election ads, announcements and whistle stops in key battlegrounds across the country

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. Photo: Shutterstock
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. Photo: Shutterstock

Canada Prime Minister Justin Trudeau requested the dissolution of Parliament on Wednesday in a meeting with Governor General Julie Payette, Queen Elizabeth II’s representative in Canada, marking the formal start of campaigning.

Trudeau kicked off Canada’s election campaign on Wednesday, with polls showing his Liberals locked in a tight race with the opposition Conservative Party ahead of the October 21 vote.

Neither of the two main parties is currently polling high enough — both are just north of 30 per cent — to win a majority of the 338 seats up for grabs, meaning the next Parliament could be more fragmented than the current one. The Liberals enter the election with 177 seats, compared with 95 for the Conservatives. A majority requires winning at least 170 seats.

The result will determine whether Trudeau, 47, can cement one of the most left-leaning agendas the country has seen in at least a generation — progressive on social issues, willing to run deficits to tackle income disparities, assertive on climate change and fervently internationalist in an era of populism. It’s a record that prompted former US Vice President Joe Biden to hail Trudeau as one of the last main standard-bearers of liberalism.

“Will we go back to the failed policies of the past, or will we continue to move forward? That’s the choice. It’s that clear, and it’s that important,” Trudeau said to reporters in Ottawa.