Canada PM calls Oct. 19 election

August 4, 2015

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper on Sunday (Aug 2) called a parliamentary election for Oct. 19, starting an 11-week campaign likely focusing on the economy.

Polls indicate Harper’s Conservative Party, which has been in office since 2006, could lose its majority in the House of Commons.

Harper, 56, says only he can be trusted to manage an economy struggling to cope with the after-effects of a global economic slowdown and a plunge in the price of oil, a major Canadian export. Opposition parties favored “disastrous” policies such as higher spending and more debt, he said.

Harper said the long campaign would let voters properly examine the parties’ platforms and played down the idea he was trying to outspend rivals.

“In terms of the fact we are a better financed political party, a better organized political party and better supported by Canadians, those advantages exist whether we call this campaign or not,” he said after launching the election.

Most recent polls show the Conservatives slightly trailing the left-leaning New Democrats (NDP), who have never governed Canada. The Liberals of Justin Trudeau trail in third.