Canada election: Trudeau calls snap summer campaign

Image credit: The Canadian Press/Justin Tang

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has called a snap summer general election as Canada enters into its fourth wave.

Over the weekend Mr Trudeau met with Governor General Mary Simon to request she dissolve parliament — a request she approved.

Canadians are now set to vote in the election, on September 20, almost two years ahead of schedule.

The 49-year-old Liberal leader says "Canadians need to choose how we finish the fight against Covid-19".

The leader of the centrist Liberals said a general election was necessary so voters have a voice on the path forward at a "pivotal moment".

In October 2019, voters handed him a minority, meaning he has had to rely on opposition parties to help him pass his agenda.

Opposition parties criticised the Liberals for calling a five-week long campaign during the pandemic's latest wave simply for "political gain".

“This is a moment where Canadians can and should be able to weigh in on what we’re going through and on how we’re going to build a society that is stronger and better,” Mr Trudeau said.

Covid cases in the country continue to rise. Most cases (64.6 per cent) and deaths (77.4 per cent) have been reported in Ontario and Quebec.

Mr Trudeau first came to power in 2015 with a majority of the 338 seats in the House of Commons, but in 2019 he was reduced to a minority after months of political scandals and old pictures emerged of him wearing blackface.

But a recent poll conducted by Abacus Data indicates that he is now within reach of forming a majority.

Data CEO David Coletto, said: " "Politically, I don't really know if there's been a better time for this government. The mood of the public is a good one right now."

Coletto says that about 46% of Canadians in their recent surveys say they believe the country is heading in the right direction - the highest it's been in about five years.

The global coronavirus pandemic is sure to dominate the campaign, as it has much of Mr Trudeau's second term. Over 25.000 Canadians have died from Covid, but the country fared better than others, such as the US.

Mr Trudeau's government also made two big announcements late last week - a promise to accept up to 20,000 Afghan refugees and a vaccine mandate for federal workers and air and rail travellers.

The official opposition, the right-leaning Conservatives, are going into the election as perceived underdogs. Their new leader, Erin O'Toole, 48, is not well known to voters.

After the party struggled with social and environmental issues in the last election, he's been trying to broaden its appeal, speaking about his support for LGBT rights and introducing a carbon pricing plan early on.

The Conservative leader has also championed vaccines but opposes vaccine mandates in favour of other measures and has been vague on whether all candidates will be required to have the jabs.