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Canada’s Justin Trudeau kicks off tough re-election campaign, faces ethics questions

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau   | Photo Credit: AP

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.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau kicked off a challenging six-week re-election campaign on September 11 and immediately faced new questions about a nagging ethics scandal that could cut support for his Liberal Party.

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

“We have a huge amount of work still to do... under a Liberal government, Canada will continue to move forward,” he told reporters after launching the race.

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 polls strongly suggest 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 weakened, relying on opposition members of parliament to push through legislation.

 

In August, a top watchdog ruled the Prime Minister had breached ethics rules by pressuring the former Justice Minister to ensure a major construction firm avoid a corruption trial. The Royal Canadian Mounted Police are probing whether there is enough evidence to lay charges. The Globe and Mail said on September 11 that Ottawa was limiting what potential witnesses could say.

Mr. Trudeau side-stepped repeated questions about the matter on September 11, repeating the government's line that witnesses already had plenty of freedom to speak.

Andrew Scheer, leader of the official opposition Conservative Party, said the Globe and Mail report showed Mr. Trudeau could not be trusted.

“He has lied. He has looked Canadians in the eyes and said things that he knew were not true,” he told reporters.

A Nanos Research poll released on September 10 showed the Liberals at 34.6% and the Conservatives at 30.7%. That margin would not be enough to guarantee a majority of seats in the House of Commons.

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Printable version | May 25, 2020 2:38:54 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/international/prime-minister-trudeau-dissolves-canada-parliament/article29394175.ece

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