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Trudeau dissolves parliament, launches Canada election campaign

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Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his wife Sophie Gregoire Trudeau arrive at Rideau Hall to ask Governor General Julie Payette to dissolve Parliament, and mark the start of a federal election campaign in Canada, in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, September 11, 2019.

[OTTAWA] Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Wednesday kicked off the campaign for next month's Canadian general election, gunning to hold onto his liberal majority in a tight race against newcomers on both flanks.

The parties have already been wooing voters with pre-election ads, announcements and whistle stops in key battlegrounds across the country.

But Governor General Julie Payette's dissolution of parliament, at Trudeau's behest, marked the official start of the race to the Oct 21 ballot.

Mr Trudeau, who swept to office in November 2015 promising "sunny ways" and stressing the importance of gender equality, gay rights and the environment, faces an electorate more focused on the economy and affordability when it votes on Oct 21.

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The 47-year-old married father of three, whose colourful socks and classic good looks are often splashed across the international media, may have history on his side. Not since 1935 has a Canadian prime minister who won a parliamentary majority in his first term been booted from office in the next election.

But Mr Trudeau may not win enough seats to govern by himself after a series of missteps that called into question his leadership while cutting into his once sky-high popularity. That would leave him and his Liberal Party weakened, relying on opposition members of parliament to push through legislation.

A Nanos Research poll released on Tuesday showed the Liberals at 34.6 per cent and the main opposition Conservatives, led by Andrew Scheer, at 30.7 per cent. That margin would not be enough to guarantee a majority of seats in the House of Commons.

AFP,REUTERS