By David Ljunggren and Steve Scherer
OTTAWA (Reuters) -Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will visit Governor General Mary Simon on Sunday at 1000 ET (1400 GMT), when he is expected to seek a federal election next month, two years ahead of schedule.
In a statement from the Liberal prime minister’s office on Saturday, there was no mention of the reason for the meeting, but Trudeau is expected to ask Simon, the representative of Queen Elizabeth, Canada’s head of state, to formally dissolve Parliament, as Reuters first reported https://www.reuters.com/world/americas/canada-pm-trudeau-is-planning-call-snap-election-sept-20-sources-2021-08-12 two days ago.
Constitutional experts say Simon will agree to the request, setting in motion Canada’s eighth national election since 2000.
Although the current Parliament’s four-year term does not expire until October 2023, Trudeau is betting that high COVID-19 vaccination rates and a post-pandemic economic rebound will help him prolong and strengthen his grip on power.
Opinion polls show Trudeau’s center-left Liberals ahead of their main Conservative rivals but not by a large enough margin to guarantee him a majority of the 338 seats in the House of Commons.
Trudeau first won a majority in 2015. But in the 2019 election, after old pictures of him in blackface surfaced, he came up short of a majority, leaving him dependent on opposition parties to govern.
(Reporting by Steve Scherer; Editing by Daniel Wallis and Cynthia Osterman)