Canadians will be going to the polls on Monday to decide whether to give Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s Liberal party a second term. The parties have been making their pitches to voters over the past five weeks – and have not shied away from attacks on opponents.
1. It’s a referendum on Trudeau
After winning a historic, come-from-behind victory four years ago, Liberal leader Justin Trudeau, 47, is seeking re-election.
He has kept a number of key promises – from legalising recreational cannabis to bringing in a means-tested child benefit programme – but he also failed to follow through on some major commitments.
A vow to overhaul of Canada’s electoral system was dropped and a pledge to balance the budget this year has been broken.
And while the Canadian public had a longer than usual political honeymoon with Mr Trudeau, he’s since lost some of his lustre.
2. There are some fresh faces
Conservative leader Andrew Scheer has the best shot of unseating the prime minister – but the 40-year-old was a relative unknown after winning the party’s leadership vote by a whisker in 2017.
Nor does he have “the celebrity-ness of Justin Trudeau,” said Matthew John, with government relations firm Crestview Strategy, who has ties to the party.
3. Climate change is a big deal
Pocketbook and economic issues have emerged as top of mind with Canadians this election, as well as the environment.
The economy is showing signs of momentum and unemployment is at near historic lows – but not all families feel they’re getting ahead.
4. Who’s ahead, who’s behind?
The Liberals had steadily been clawing back support after their numbers cratered earlier this year in the wake of the SNC-Lavalin affair.
At the beginning of the campaign, national polls suggested the Liberals and the Conservatives were running roughly neck-and-neck with just over 30% of the popular support each at the beginning of the campaign.
5. Could be a good election for wildcards
The Green Party got a lot of buzz over the summer. It was polling at historic highs – in some surveys tied with the NDP – and has hopes to more than double the seat count from two to at least five.
There’s a feeling of “cautious optimism” in the war room, said campaign manager Jonathan Dickie.