VIDEO: With federal election called, parties unleash campaigns in Ontario, Quebec and B.C.

Trudeau has asked governor general to dissolve Parliament and send voters to the polls on Oct. 21

Justin Trudeau began his bid for re-election Wednesday by framing the next 40 days as a time for Canadians to make a choice: whether they want more of his sunny ways or a return to the gloomier days he says are characteristic of life under a Conservative government.

But clouding over his optimism was the SNC-Lavalin scandal, given fresh life by a Globe and Mail report that the RCMP’s investigation into potential obstruction of justice in the matter has been limited by the shroud of cabinet confidence.

Moments after emerging from Rideau Hall, where he asked Gov. Gen. Julie Payette to dissolve Parliament, Trudeau faced a barrage of fresh questions on the affair.

Asked what his government is hiding, Trudeau said his office gave the largest waiver of cabinet confidences in Canadian history but would not add anything more.

Watch Prime Minister Justin Trudeau address the public after visit to Rideau Hall:

He also declined to address what personal mistakes he might have made in the saga, which saw the ethics commissioner declare Trudeau broke the law by trying to influence a decision on whether the Quebec engineering firm should go to trial on charges related to alleged corrupt dealings in Libya.

“My job as prime minister is to be there to stand up for and defend Canadians’ jobs,” he said.

“I will always defend the public interest.”

Before jumping on his own campaign plane this morning, a fired-up Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer said the SNC-Lavalin story showcases his belief that Trudeau has lost the moral authority to govern.

“Over the next five weeks I will be explaining the reasons why Justin Trudeau has lost that authority and our alternative plan,” he said in French.

Scheer will spend Day 1 of the campaign in Quebec and Ontario, while Trudeau will head for Vancouver, the same place he launched his bid for election in 2015.

Polls suggest the Liberals and Conservatives are running neck-and-neck, while the NDP and Greens are fighting for third.

The NDP launched its campaign Wednesday in London, Ont., one of the regions of the province where New Democrats think they’ll be able to hold onto seats.

Leader Jagmeet Singh accused Trudeau and Scheer of failing to live up to promises to help Canadians, saying the costs for everything are getting out of control.

“I believe we can do better,” Singh said.

“But we can do that only if we have the courage to take on the powerful interests at the very top.”

The Greens began in their own comfort zone of British Columbia, where Elizabeth May launched her campaign in Victoria.

“This is the most important election in Canadian history,” May told about 200 cheering supporters.

“We are going to stand firm. We will tell Canadians how serious the climate emergency is.”

At the dissolution of Parliament, the Liberals hold 177 seats, the Conservatives 95, the NDP 39, the Bloc 10 and the Greens 2. There are eight independents — including former Liberal cabinet ministers Jane Philpott and Jody Wilson-Raybould. The People’s Party of Canada has one seat and former New Democrat Erin Weir sits as a member of the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation. Five seats are vacant.

The election is Oct. 21.

RELATED: Use of fake social media bots in Alberta election will appear in federal vote, experts say

The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Lacombe author Fran Kimmel to attend Blindman Wordfest

Rimbey to celebrate Cultural Days with renowned writers, photographers, musicians

Rimbey Christian School welcomes new teacher

New faces at Rimbey Christian School

First Nations given max compensation for Ottawa’s child-welfare discrimination

2016 ruling said feds didn’t give same funding for on-reserve kids as was given to off-reserve kids

‘I shouldn’t have done it,’ Trudeau says of brownface photo

Trudeau says he also wore makeup while performing a version of a Harry Belafonte song

Wetaskiwin RCMP investigate armed robbery

Wetaskiwin police seek identification of suspects

Blackfalds RCMP investigate fatal collision with cyclist on Highway 2

32-year-old male cyclist from Red Deer was pronounced dead at the scene

NDP, Liberals promise more spending, while Tories promise spending cuts

Making life more affordable for Canadians a focus in the 2019 election

Vaping-related illness confirmed in Ontario believed to be first in Canada

Middlesex-London Health Unit had no further details about the case — believed to be the first confirmed in Canada

Canadian stars Virtue, Moir say in video they’re ‘stepping away’ from ice dancing

The pair thank fans for their support in an emotional message

Outspoken Imperial Oil CEO Rich Kruger stepping down later this year

Imperial Oil is about 70 per cent owned by Texas-based Exxon Mobil Corp., since 2013

‘Time to take action:’ Children advocates call for national youth suicide strategy

Council wants Ottawa to make reporting of suicides and attempted suicides mandatory for data collection

Canadian inflation decelerates to 1.9% as gas prices weaken

August was the sixth straight month that price growth was 1.9 per cent or higher

Most Read