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Canada's Trudeau takes gamble, calls snap election

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"This is a really important moment in Canada’s history."

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Sunday called an early election for Sept. 20, saying he needed a new mandate to ensure voters approved of his Liberal government's plan to recover from the health crisis.

"This is a moment where we're going to be taking decisions that will last not just for the coming months, but for the coming decades. And Canadians deserve their say. That's exactly what we're going to give them."

Trudeau is betting that high vaccination rates and an economic rebound will help him prolong and strengthen his position as prime minister. Newly-released data shows 71% of the country's eligible population is fully vaccinated.

Trudeau spoke after visiting Governor General Mary Simon, the representative of head of state Queen Elizabeth, to formally request the dissolution of Parliament.

Polls suggest the Liberals will win their third consecutive election but may not regain a majority in the House of Commons. Trudeau currently has only a minority of seats, leaving him reliant on other parties to govern.

The Conservatives and New Democrats have in recent days condemned the idea of an early election, saying there was no need for it and describing Trudeau’s call as a power grab.

A parliamentary majority would give Trudeau the ability to follow through on his priorities of fighting climate change and supporting those who suffered most during the health crisis.

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