Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has formally launched a six-week campaign for re-election in which he and his rivals will crisscross the country to try to win over voters.
An election campaign sure to feature plenty of pocketbook promises got underway amid deeper questions of ethics and values Wednesday as federal leaders challenged Canadians to consider the kind of country they want to vote for 40 days from now.
Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer said he's not surprised Trudeau isn't showing up for the debate, given the re-emergence of SNC-Lavalin in the headlines via a Globe and Mail newspaper report that the RCMP's examination of potential obstruction of justice had been stymied by cabinet secrecy.
The Conservative, NDP and Green leaders largely spent the day hunkered down in preparation for the Maclean's/CITY TV debate, scheduled to take place later Thursday in Toronto, but Scheer and Singh both emerged briefly to pitch their priorities on taxes and health care.
The leader of Canada's main opposition Conservative Party on Thursday distanced himself from comments by a candidate opposing abortion, which could hurt his chances with women voters in an October 21 election.
Mr Trudeau wasn't the only leader whose campaign faced transportation problems on the first day.
Scheer accused Trudeau of "fear-mongering" and reiterated his party's position that he will oppose any measure to introduce legislation on that. So I think Quebecers have the right to know.
Justin Trudeau fires starting gun for Canada's general election
While they believe there are seats to be gained in the province, they will also have to fight to retain what they already have in a province where concern about climate change is paramount.
Canada has a federal fixed election date and Canadians must head to the polls every four years. Now, it's his turn to face opponents who are unproven campaigners.
"We respect the decisions made by our professional public service, we respect the decision made by the clerk", Trudeau said in response to a followup question about where the buck stopped, if not with him.
"We are going to stand firm".
Trudeau kicked both former ministers Wilson-Raybould (pictured here) and Philpott out of the Liberal caucus after they lost confidence in the Prime Minister and his cabinet's handling of the SNC-Lavalin criminal case. The party's parlous position allowed it to take unusual political risks, offering the voters an inexperienced leader who promised an ambitious reform agenda and gender equity in his Cabinet, which today also includes three Sikhs, more than are in the Cabinet of India.
When asked directly if he thought the law infringed on religious freedom, a cause Scheer has championed in the past, the Conservative leader did not answer directly. Five seats are vacant.
Brexit: What does the no-deal bill say?
Johnson's response was one that many people believe he's been planning all along; he threatened to call a national election. Once this deadline has passed, he will have to request an extension to the UK's departure date to 31 January 2020.