The 2019 federal election campaign is on

After a visit to Rideau Hall by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, the campaign will officially begin

OTTAWA — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau kicks off his bid for re-election today, heading to Rideau Hall this morning to ask Gov. Gen. Julie Payette to dissolve Parliament.

With that starts a 40-day campaign that will see Trudeau make the pitch to Canadians that he should be given a second term, while his opponents focus not just on why he shouldn’t, but why they should have a chance at governing instead.

Later in the day, he will be in Vancouver for a campaign rally with former TV news anchor Tamara Taggart, who is running for the Liberals in the riding of Vancouver Kingsway.

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

Rounding out the slate are the nascent People’s Party of Canada lead by Maxime Bernier, and, in Quebec, the Bloc Quebecois.

TUNE IN: Be sure to watch our National Leaders Debate this week

All have been campaigning unofficially for weeks, making early policy promises while also trying to hit their rivals where it hurts, whether the broken promises of the Liberals or controversial positions held by Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer.

Scheer is to launch his election effort at a morning event in Quebec. Then he’ll go to an evening rally in Toronto, where the focus will be on the Tories’ main campaign slogan of being a party that will help Canadians get ahead.

But at the same time, expect the Conservatives to unleash the first of what will be many attacks on the Liberal candidates running with Trudeau. The Conservative war room has spent months scouring the backgrounds of Liberal MPs and candidates to find compromising materials.

The Liberals have opposition research of their own and have already highlighted Scheer’s socially conservative beliefs using snippets of old interviews and speeches. They’ve said he’ll proceed with cuts to spending similar to those made by Progressive Conservative Premier Doug Ford in Ontario.