Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will visit Governor-General Julie Payette on Wednesday morning to kick off the 40-day election campaign.
Mr. Trudeau will be accompanied by his wife, Sophie Grégoire Trudeau, when he visits Rideau Hall in Ottawa to seek a dissolution of Parliament. Mr. Trudeau will make remarks and speak with reporters after meeting with the Governor-General, according to an itinerary notice issued by his office. Mr. Trudeau will head to Vancouver on Wednesday, where he will attend a rally with Liberal candidate Tamara Taggart in the evening at an Italian cultural centre.
Mr. Trudeau is seeking a second four-year mandate, after the Liberals won a majority in the 2015 election. While the Liberal campaign is expected to focus on the government’s child-care benefit, job creation and poverty reduction, Mr. Trudeau will also face opposition criticism over his government’s ethics scandals, including the SNC-Lavalin affair, and its introduction of a federal carbon tax.
Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer and NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh will be looking to make their mark on Canadians in their first-ever federal election campaigns leading their parties.
“Where it stands on Day One is that the Liberals have a marginal advantage, but the election is still up in the air," said Nik Nanos, the founder and chief data scientist of Nanos Research, referring to his company’s most recent polling numbers.
“One of the issues will be ethics and people’s judgment of the Prime Minister and what has transpired over the past year; another key issue will be the environment."
According to Canada’s fixed-date elections law, the vote is scheduled to be held on Oct. 21.
The Conservatives had already planned on launching their campaign Wednesday, regardless of whether the election was called. The party has a planned morning stop in Trois-Rivières, and a second stop in the Ontario riding of Vaughan-Woodbridge.
Brock Harrison, the director of communications for the Conservative campaign, told The Globe and Mail on Monday that the party chose those two ridings to launch its campaign because they are “two very important battleground areas.”
Wednesday also marks the 18th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks in the United States. Mr. Harrison said Mr. Scheer will deliver remarks acknowledging the anniversary of 9/11 at his campaign events Wednesday.
The NDP launched its campaign last Sunday with a rally in Toronto. Mr. Singh is spending the week criss-crossing the Greater Toronto Area and Southwestern Ontario in his newly revealed campaign bus.
In an interview on Tuesday, Mr. Singh said he was excited and “ready to go” for the official start.
“Most importantly, I’m ready to show Canadians that there is a real alternative in this election – that they don’t have to choose a Liberal government or a Conservative government that works hard to make the life of the people at the top easier and making it harder for everyone else,” he said.
Green Party Leader Elizabeth May will launch her campaign from her home province in British Columbia. The Greens currently hold two seats in the House of Commons; both of them are on Vancouver Island.
Ms. May told The Globe her team was “scrambling” to book a rally for Wednesday morning. She said it’s tradition for the Greens to hold a rally that starts very early in the morning on the West Coast so that they’re launching their campaign while the Prime Minister visits the Governor-General.
“We have, for the last two elections, rallies that started in darkness and, as the sun came up, the national media would come to us. So that’s what we will be doing,” Ms. May said.
Bloc Québécois Leader Yves-François Blanchet will be in Quebec City on Wednesday as well as in the riding of Beloeil-Chambly, where he is running. He doesn’t hold a seat in the current Parliament.
People’s Party Leader Maxime Bernier will launch from Toronto, at candidate Renata Ford’s campaign office. Ms. Ford, wife of the late Toronto mayor Rob Ford, will join Mr. Bernier at the event.
The writ is dropping one day before the first leaders’ debate in Toronto, where every major party leader will be except Mr. Trudeau. Maclean’s and CITY-TV are co-hosting a televised debate Thursday night with Mr. Scheer, Mr. Singh and Ms. May.
The Liberals currently have 177 MPs in the 338-seat House of Commons, followed by the Conservatives with 95 MPs and the NDP with 39 MPs. There are 10 Bloc Québécois MPs; two Green MPs; one People’s Party of Canada MP; one Co-operative Commonwealth Federation MP; eight independents and five vacant seats.
With a report from Daniel Leblanc