Canada election: Harper, Mulcair and Trudeau in tight race !!

Canadians have started voting in fiercely contested parliamentary elections that could give them their first new leader in nearly 10 years.

Incumbent Conservative PM Stephen Harper is fighting for a rare fourth term but the frontrunner is Liberal leader Justin Trudeau, son of late prime minister Pierre Trudeau.

Canadian Liberal leader Justin Trudeau, center, clowns around with campaign team members Tommy Desfosses, left, and Adam Scotti after landing in Montreal, Monday, Oct. 19, 2015.

Justin Trudeau, seen here at the head of the human pyramid,
started the campaign in third place!

The left-leaning New Democratic Party (NDP) could also play a decisive role.

Opinion polls have suggested many people are still undecided.

Voting hours are staggered across the country and polls opened in Newfoundland at 0830 local time (1100 GMT). Polls will close in the west of the country at 19:00 (02:00 GMT).

It is one of the longest and possibly closest election campaigns in Canada’s history, with leaders criss-crossing the country to try to sway undecided voters.


Mr Harper, 56, is selling himself
as the steady hand who can steer Canada’s troubled economy back on track.

His campaign has run TV advertisements saying that Liberal
leader Mr Trudeau, 43, is “just not ready” to take office.

“Every single vote for a Conservative candidate is a vote to protect our economy against Liberal and NDP deficits and taxes,” Mr Harper told supporters in Regina, Saskatchewan, on Sunday.

As polls opened, he tweeted that a vote for the Conservatives would “protect Canadian jobs and our economy”.

Mr Trudeau started the race in third place but the Liberals took the lead in opinion polls in a late surge.

Stephen Harper’s final stand?

At the scene – Rajini Vaidyanathan, BBC News, Toronto

The Toronto Blue Jays have their first home game in the playoffs for baseball’s American League Championship series, and a sea of fans wearing blue T-shirts are filling downtown Toronto ahead of the big game.

But will blue be the dominant colour for the other big result of the night? After nearly a decade in power, the Conservatives (the blue team in this political race) are fighting to stay in office.

The Liberals (red) led by the photogenic Justin Trudeau have been ahead in the polls. If they win it’ll be a stunning victory for a party which began this race in third.

If Mr Harper hangs on, he’ll pull off an equally impressive feat in becoming the first prime minister to win a fourth term in more than a century. Either way this election will be historic. Will Canadians plump for continuity or change?

Speaking in Calgary, Alberta, on Sunday, Mr Trudeau urged voters to “come together as a country”.

Mr Trudeau’s father, Pierre, is considered the father of modern Canada.

Composite image showing Stephen Harper, Tom Mulcair and Justin Trudeau on Canadian election day - 19 October 2015
Stephen Harper, Tom Mulcair and Justin Trudeau turned out
in their constituencies on Monday morning

Tom Mulcair and his wife Catherine at campaign event in Montreal, Quebec, Canada, October 18, 2015
Tom Mulcair, with wife Catherine, addressed supporters in Montreal on Sunday

NDP leader Tom Mulcair, 60, is hoping to build on his party’s second-place finish in the 2011 elections.

However, support for the NDP appeared to have fallen in recent weeks.

At a stop in Toronto, Mr Mulcair hit out at the Liberal leader, saying: “They may try to fool you by giving the old car a fresh coat of paint. But as we’ve seen, the Liberal Party is just as rusted-out underneath as it was when Canadians kicked them out of office for corruption the last time.”

An opinion poll released on Sunday showed the Liberals on 37.3%, seven points ahead of the Conservatives at 30.5%. The NDP had 22.1% according to the Nanos survey taken on October 15 to 17. The margin of error was 2.2%.