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

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Chris Wilkinson column: Perspective matters now more than later

The point here is that priorities matter. All the time. Every month.

Flooding has closed several roads in Cowichan Valley

All the usual suspects are involved: overflowing ditches, low-lying spots, and huge piles of snow

PHOTOS: Winter Wonderland was a hit at Lake Cowichan

Check out the photos by Malcolm Chalmers

Snow sidelines skills competition, most Jamboree games Saturday

But it’s not over for the skills competition; watch for a new date

Lake Cowichan recorded most snowfall last week

Region came to a standstill on Wednesday

VIDEO: WHO says China virus not global health emergency

The decision came after Chinese authorities moved to lock down three cities on Thursday

Northern B.C. RCMP investigating alleged sexual assault in downtown Smithers

One person was transported by ambulance to hospital following RCMP investigation at Sedaz

Here’s what Canada is doing to stop the coronavirus from getting in

Health officials are monitoring multiple possible cases in Canada

RCMP investigating sexual allegation against Lower Mainland police officer

Delta officer suspended while the alleged off-duty incident involving a co-worker is investigated

VIDEO: Rare ‘ice circle’ spotted on Kamloops river

An ice circle or ice pan, has formed in the chilly waters just east of the Yellowhead Bridge

Investigators in wildfire-torn Australia head to site of B.C. airtanker crash

The B.C. government sends condolences to Port Alberni-owned Coulson Aviation

VIDEO: Person in wheelchair narrowly avoids collision with car in Kelowna

There were no injuries in the scary looking near-accident last week in Rutland

B.C. still struggling to control non-resident medical care fraud

Unpaid bills, out-of-province claimants a costly legacy of MSP

Father to B.C.’s first MLB hall-of-famer is one proud dad

Larry Walker Sr. talks baseball background and son’s base running gaffe

Most Read