Canadians will head to the polls on Sept. 20.
The announcement was made by Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau after a visit to Gov. Gen. Mary Simon on Sunday (Aug. 15) morning. The Parliament Simon dissolved stood at 155 seats for the Liberals, 119 for the Conservatives, 32 for the Bloc Quebecois, 24 for the NDP and two for the Greens. There are also four Independents and one vacant seat.
Trudeau spent Sunday morning defending his election call.
“This is a really big moment,” he said, adding that Parliament “needs a mandate” from the voters on how to end the COVID-19 pandemic. Canada is in the middle of the fourth wave, with case counts rising around the country.
This will not be the first pandemic-era election in Canada; both New Brunswick and B.C. held elections last year. Both of the parties in power, the Progressive Conservatives in New Brunswick and the NDP in B.C., started the campaign with a minority and ended with a majority government – a feat Trudeau is likely hoping to recreate.
However, while both elections were held after a summer where cases were low, and just prior to a fall and winter where cases skyrocketed, this federal election is the first major vote held after vaccines became available. More than 70 per cent of individuals 12 and older are fully vaccinated, while over 80 per cent have received their first dose.
Trudeau also spoke to the situation in Afghanistan, where the Taliban appear to be on Kabul’s doorstep and the country’s president has fled.
He said that Canada will continue to evacuate Afghan interpreters in their families and resettle refugees here at home.
Opposition parties were quick to take to social media following the election call.
“I am ready to get our economy surging in the right direction for all Canadians. Vote Conservative,” Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole tweeted.
NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh tweeted an attack against Trudeau.
“You and your family should be the priority. Instead, Mr. Trudeau has called an elxn [sic] because he’s focused on keeping his own job and his rich insider friends happy,” Singh said.
The election campaign will last for 36 days. The French-language debate will take place on Sept. 8 at 5 p.m. PT and the English-language debate will take place on Sept. 9. at 6 p.m. PT.