North America

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau calls snap election

Published : August 16, 2021 19:28 IST

Trudeau formally requested dissolving Parliament, triggering an election. Photo: Justin Tang/The Canadian Press via AP/picture alliance

Trudeau said he was seeking a new mandate to steer Canada's COVID pandemic exit.

Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on August 15 announced that an early election would take place on September 20. The Canadian leader is seeking a new mandate to ensure voters approved of his government's COVID-19 pandemic recovery plan.

What did Trudeau say?

The move comes at a "pivotal, consequential moment" for Canada amid a new wave of COVID-19 cases "amongst unvaccinated people," Trudeau said.

Trudeau formally requested the dissolution of parliament from Governor General Mary Simon, who holds a mostly ceremonial position representing Britain's Queen Elizabeth II as head of state. "We will be taking decisions that will last not just for the coming months but for the coming decades. Canadians deserve their say. That's exactly what we're going to give them," Trudeau told reporters after he spoke with Simon.

"We've had your back, and now it's time to hear your voice,'' Trudeau said. "Canadians need to choose how we finish the fight against COVID-19."

What can be expected?

Since the last election two years ago, Trudeau's Liberal Party has had only a minority of seats, forcing it to rely on other parties to pass legislation.

A recent Leger Marketing poll showed that Liberals would win 35 per cent of the vote, compared with 30 per cent for the Conservatives and 19 per cent for the left-leaning New Democrats. The Liberals must win at least 170 of the 338 seats in the House of Commons to regain majority. They currently hold 155 seats. Although Trudeau isn't as popular as he once was, he has been praised for his government's handling of the coronavirus pandemic.

Over 71 per cent of eligible Canadians are now fully vaccinated, and more than 82 per cent have received at least one dose. The country has enough doses for every citizen.

fb/rs (AP, Reuters)