VIDEO: With federal election called, parties unleash campaigns in Ontario, Quebec and B.C.

Trudeau has asked governor general to dissolve Parliament and send voters to the polls on Oct. 21

Justin Trudeau began his bid for re-election Wednesday by framing the next 40 days as a time for Canadians to make a choice: whether they want more of his sunny ways or a return to the gloomier days he says are characteristic of life under a Conservative government.

But clouding over his optimism was the SNC-Lavalin scandal, given fresh life by a Globe and Mail report that the RCMP’s investigation into potential obstruction of justice in the matter has been limited by the shroud of cabinet confidence.

Moments after emerging from Rideau Hall, where he asked Gov. Gen. Julie Payette to dissolve Parliament, Trudeau faced a barrage of fresh questions on the affair.

Asked what his government is hiding, Trudeau said his office gave the largest waiver of cabinet confidences in Canadian history but would not add anything more.

Watch Prime Minister Justin Trudeau address the public after visit to Rideau Hall:

He also declined to address what personal mistakes he might have made in the saga, which saw the ethics commissioner declare Trudeau broke the law by trying to influence a decision on whether the Quebec engineering firm should go to trial on charges related to alleged corrupt dealings in Libya.

“My job as prime minister is to be there to stand up for and defend Canadians’ jobs,” he said.

“I will always defend the public interest.”

Before jumping on his own campaign plane this morning, a fired-up Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer said the SNC-Lavalin story showcases his belief that Trudeau has lost the moral authority to govern.

“Over the next five weeks I will be explaining the reasons why Justin Trudeau has lost that authority and our alternative plan,” he said in French.

Scheer will spend Day 1 of the campaign in Quebec and Ontario, while Trudeau will head for Vancouver, the same place he launched his bid for election in 2015.

Polls suggest the Liberals and Conservatives are running neck-and-neck, while the NDP and Greens are fighting for third.

The NDP launched its campaign Wednesday in London, Ont., one of the regions of the province where New Democrats think they’ll be able to hold onto seats.

Leader Jagmeet Singh accused Trudeau and Scheer of failing to live up to promises to help Canadians, saying the costs for everything are getting out of control.

“I believe we can do better,” Singh said.

“But we can do that only if we have the courage to take on the powerful interests at the very top.”

The Greens began in their own comfort zone of British Columbia, where Elizabeth May launched her campaign in Victoria.

“This is the most important election in Canadian history,” May told about 200 cheering supporters.

“We are going to stand firm. We will tell Canadians how serious the climate emergency is.”

At the dissolution of Parliament, the Liberals hold 177 seats, the Conservatives 95, the NDP 39, the Bloc 10 and the Greens 2. There are eight independents — including former Liberal cabinet ministers Jane Philpott and Jody Wilson-Raybould. The People’s Party of Canada has one seat and former New Democrat Erin Weir sits as a member of the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation. Five seats are vacant.

The election is Oct. 21.

RELATED: Use of fake social media bots in Alberta election will appear in federal vote, experts say

The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A health-care worker prepares to swab a man at a walk-in COVID-19 test clinic in Montreal North, Sunday, May 10, 2020, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues in Canada and around the world. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes)
Interior Health records 21 new COVID-19 cases over the weekend

Thirty-six cases remain active; two people are in the hospital, one of whom is in intensive care

Colin James put on a great show at the Comox Valley Exhibition Grounds as part of the 2019 Vancouver Island MusicFest. But his Okanagan tour for 2020 has been postponed until 2021. (Photo by Terry Farrell)
COVID-19 cancels more Vernon, Penticton, Cranbrook concerts

The Contenders and Colin James postponed until 2021

Kimberley Minor Hockey players scrimmage with the Dynamiters last year. KMH file
Kimberley and Cranbrook Minor Hockey relationship grows the game for local players

Players can now play to their skill level regardless of city of origin

The KEYSA Indoor Facility is nearing completion as the air-supported dome was raised last week. Trevor Crawley photo.
KEYSA indoor facility project nearing completion

Project remains on budget and set for completion by the end of October

The old Kootenay Springs building on 6th Street in Cranbrook, just off the highway, was on fire Saturday night, Oct 17. Barry Coulter photo
Kootenay Springs building, burns in Cranbrook; other fires still under investigation

Derelict building was on the site of the old Cranbrook Brewery, itself destroyed by fire 95 years ago

With local MLA Adam Olsen looking on, BC Greens leader Sonia Furstenau said a Green government would convert BC Ferries into a Crown corporation Wolf Depner/News Staff)
Green leader Sonia Furstenau promises to convert BC Ferries back into Crown corporation

Promise comes Monday afternoon with five days left in campaign

A passer-by walks past a COVID-19 testing clinic in Montreal, Friday, Oct. 16, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Canada ‘yet to see’ deaths due to recent COVID surge as cases hit 200,000

Much of the increase in case numbers can be attributed to Ontario and Quebec

Police confirm human remains were found in a recycling bin in Vancouver on Oct. 18, 2020. (Black Press Media file photo)
Human remains found in recycling bin floating near Vancouver beach

Police asking nearby residents to see if their recycling bin has gone missing

B.C. Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson visits a North Vancouver daycare to announce his party’s election promises for child care, Oct. 9, 2020. (B.C. Liberal Party video)
B.C. parties pitch costly child care programs in pandemic

B.C. Liberals say they’ll deliver on NDP’s $10-a-day promise for lower-income families

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

A B.C. man decided to create a website to help people find family doctors accepting patients. Because Victoria is considered high-demand, clinic openings can’t be posted publicly. (Unsplash)
Vancouver Island man starts website that connects B.C. residents with doctors

Nanaimo man started project to help people find family physicians accepting patients

Voting station at Tzeachten Hall in the riding of Chilliwack-Kent on the first day of advance voting in the provincial election on Oct. 15, 2020. (Paul Henderson/ Chilliwack Progress)
B.C. VOTES 2020: 380,000 British Columbians head to polls in first 4 days of advance voting

Some of highest voter turnout so far has been seen on Vancouver Island and in Shuswap

Most Read