Federal election campaign kicks off officially on Wednesday

PRIME Minister Justin Trudeau will meet with Governor General Julie Payette at Rideau Hall in Ottawa on Wednesday at 10 a.m. to set in motion the process to dissolve Parliament and launch the election.

The vote would then take place on October 21.

The first leaders’ debate will take place on Thursday night in Toronto where Maclean’s/CityTV are holding a televised debate. However, Trudeau has decided not to participate in it. But Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer, NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh and Green Party Leader Elizabeth May will be taking part in it.

According to the Globe and Mail, the reason why Trudeau doesn’t want to have too many debates is that the Liberals “want to limit their leader’s exposure to political peril by curtailing the length of the campaign and depriving the other party leaders of too many occasions to share the stage. That’s a decision made by a one-term incumbent government that sits astride a strong economy and sees itself as a front-runner, but whose leader is vulnerable to attacks related to ethical lapses.”

Currently, the Liberals have 177 MPs in the 338-seat House of Commons. The others: Conservatives have 95 MPs, the NDP has 39 MPs, the Bloc Quebecois has 10 MPs, the Green Party has two MPs. Also, there is one People’s Party of Canada MP, one Co-operative Commonwealth Federation MP, eight independents and five vacant seats.

ACCORDING to the latest Nanos Tracking Poll (September 6), when Canadians were asked whether they would consider voting for each of the federal parties, 48.7 per cent said they would consider voting Liberal, while 39.3 per cent of said they would consider voting Conservative.

One in three (36.2%) would consider voting NDP, 35.4 per cent would consider voting Green, 10.2 per cent would consider voting for the People’s Party and 31 per cent would consider voting for the BQ.

Nanos had Trudeau as the preferred choice as Prime Minister at 33.6 per cent of Canadians, followed by Scheer (22.7), May (8.1%), Singh (7.4%) and People’s Party of Canada Leader Maxime Bernier (2.4%). Twenty four per cent of Canadians were unsure whom they preferred.

Close to half of Canadians (47.2%) believe Trudeau has the qualities of a good political leader while 39 per cent believe Scheer has the qualities of a good political leader.

Four in 10 (39.2%) believe May has the qualities of a good political leader, while 28.4 per cent say the same about Singh. One in seven (15.7%) believe Bernier has the qualities of a good political leader while 27.8 per cent said BQ Leader Yves-Francois Blanchet has the qualities of a good political leader (Quebec only).


Elections Canada is the independent, non-partisan agency responsible for conducting federal elections and referendums. Its mission is to ensure that Canadians can exercise their democratic rights to vote and be a candidate.

Canada is a representative democracy divided into 338 ridings. When a federal election is called, Canadians vote to elect a member of Parliament to represent them in the House of Commons, where he or she will debate and pass laws on their behalf. The candidate who receives the most votes in a riding is declared the winner. This system is called a “first-past-the-post” system.

Each member of Parliament has a seat in the House of Commons. Candidates can represent a political party, or can be independent, meaning they have no association with a political party.

The Canada Elections Act states that a general election must be held on the third Monday of October every four years. However, the Act does not prevent a general election from being called sooner. By law, election day must be at least 36 days after an election is called.

Elections step-by-step

  1. Dissolution
    The governor general ends Parliament on the request of the prime minister and directs the Chief Electoral Officer to issue the writs of election. The writ is the official paperwork that launches an election in each riding.
  2. Candidates
    Once an election is called, each party decides who its candidate will be in each riding. A candidate can also run for election without a party, as either “independent” or “no affiliation.”
  3. Campaigning
    During the campaign period, candidates try to convince voters that they are the best choice to represent them in Parliament.
  4. Voting
    The most common way to vote is at the polls on election day. Electors must prove their identity and address before getting a ballot. They then go behind a voting screen to privately mark their ballot. Election workers must follow strict procedures to ensure the secrecy of the vote.
  5. Counting
    Once the polling stations close, election workers open the ballot boxes and count the ballots. The candidate who receives the most votes becomes the member of Parliament (MP) for that riding and represents it in the House of Commons. The political party that has the most MPs usually forms the government. The leader of the political party with the most members normally becomes the prime minister of Canada.