Prime Minister Justin Trudeau officially announced the beginning of Canada’s 43rd federal election at Rideau Hall in Ottawa last Wednesday. Trudeau formally asked Governor General Julie Payette to dissolve Parliament, setting the stage for the general election on October 21.

The various party leaders have been holding campaign-style events for several weeks leading up to the announcement, but the official start on Wednesday means strict rules around spending and advertising are now enforced.

Trudeau, leader of the Liberal Party of Canada, will be vying for a second majority government after winning 184 seats in the 2015 general election, replacing the Conservative Party of Canada under then-Prime Minister Stephen Harper. The Conservatives won only 99 seats. Harper resigned as leader of the Conservative Party of Canada days after the election.

Rona Ambrose was appointed as interim leader until Andrew Scheer, former speaker of the House of Commons, was elected as Harper’s successor.

At the time of writing, the CBC’s Poll Tracker reports that the Conservatives have a 0.3 per cent lead over the Liberals, who are sitting at 33.7 per cent support. The New Democratic Party (NDP) under Jagmeet Singh sits at under 13 per cent. The Green Party of Canada, headed by Elizabeth May since 2006, rests at 10.8 per cent support. The poll predicts that there is a 42 per cent likelihood of the Liberal Party of Canada winning a majority. Comparatively, the poll estimates only a nine per cent probability of a Conservative majority.

At least 170 seats must be won for a majority government to be declared.

The Bloc Quebecois, under the leadership of Yves-Francois Blanchet, is polling at 4.4 per cent, while the People’s Party of Canada, founded by former Conservative Maxime Bernier, has secured 3.3 per cent support.

The poll findings further explain that the Conservatives are ahead in Western Canada while the Liberals lead in Ontario, Quebec, and Atlantic Canada.

The first debate between multiple party leaders took place September 12. The event was hosted by Maclean’s magazine and City TV. Scheer, Singh, and May were in attendance. Trudeau declined his invitation.

Trudeau, however, is expected to participate in upcoming party leaders’ debates. Two official events are expected to be hosted by the newly created Leaders’ Debates Commission (LDC). The Commission was founded in October 2018 by the Government of Canada as “an independent commission to organize leaders’ debates.”

An English language debate is scheduled to take place on October 7, while a French debate is slated for October 10. Both events will take place at the Canadian Museum of History in Gatineau, Quebec.

As part of Canada’s first-past-the-post electoral voting system, there are 338 ridings across the country, each represented by a Member of Parliament. Mississauga-Erin Mills, the riding under which the University of Toronto Mississauga is a part of, is currently represented by MP Iqra Khalid. Other candidates for the area include Hani Tawfilis of the Conservative Party, Hazar Alsabagh of the People’s Party of Canada, and Remo Boscarino-Gaetano of the Greens.

Voters can determine which riding they reside in on the Elections Canada website.

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