The Canadian politicians contesting a snap election

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has called an early election for September – two years ahead of schedule – seeking voters’ approval for his costly economic recovery plan.

TRUDEAU: “This is a really important moment in Canada’s history.”

Trudeau is betting that high vaccination rates and an economic rebound will help him prolong and strengthen his grip on power.

His Liberal Party plans to inject another $80 billion into the economy over the next three years.

Here is a look at the federal party leaders facing off in September.

LIBERALS

Justin Trudeau has been prime minister since November 2015 after he became the first leader to take a Canadian party from third place to an election win.

Trudeau, the son of former Liberal Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau, has championed women’s rights, toughened environmental laws, and spent heavily to support businesses and individuals during lockdowns.

His party lost their parliamentary majority in 2019 after old photos emerged of him dressed in blackface. He’s twice been found in breach of federal ethics rules.

CONSERVATIVES

Erin O’Toole, a former army helicopter navigator, was elected to lead the Conservatives in August 2020.

He favors low spending and accuses Trudeau of corruption.

He faces tension with social conservatives in his party over issues like climate change and abortion.

NEW DEMOCRATS

Jagmeet Singh made headlines in 2017 when he became the first person from an ethnic minority to be elected leader of a major Canadian political party.

Polls suggest that Singh, who favors even more public spending than Trudeau, is gaining in popularity after a slow start.

His left-leaning party lost almost 40% of its seats in 2019.

BLOC QUEBECOIS

Yves-Francois Blanchet started his career in Quebec and took over the separatist bloc in January 2019, more than tripling its seats in the federal election later that year.

The Bloc only campaigns in Quebec and under Blanchet looks set to hold onto its gains.

GREENS

Annamie Paul is the first Black person to head a mainstream Canadian federal party.

The activist and lawyer was elected leader of the Greens in October 2020, but has recently become mired in a dispute over policy toward Israel that threatens to undermine the party.

PEOPLE’S PARTY OF CANADA

Maxime Bernier is a former Cabinet minister who was once forced to step down from the foreign affairs portfolio after mislaying secret documents.

He defected from the Conservatives to create the populist PPC in 2018, though the party has performed poorly, and Bernier lost his seat in 2019.

He was arrested in June in Manitoba for attending a rally against lockdown restrictions.

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