Prime Minister Justin Trudeau looks on during a childcare funding announcement in Montreal, Thursday, August 5, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes

Trudeau expected to trigger fall election this weekend

OTTAWA — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is expected to visit Gov. Gen. Mary Simon on Sunday and ask her to dissolve Parliament, triggering an election that would take place Sept. 20.

The plan was confirmed by a senior Liberal Party of Canada source, speaking on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss these matters publicly.

There has been speculation about a coming election for months, but the exact timing has been up in the air given the unpredictable nature of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Chief public health officer Dr. Theresa Tam said Thursday that Canada is now in the midst of a fourth wave of COVID-19, driven by the troublesome Delta variant.

“The latest national surveillance data indicate that a fourth wave is underway in Canada and that cases are plotting along a strong resurgence trajectory,” Tam said during a COVID-19 update.

“Nationally, there are now over 13,000 active cases — more than double from two weeks ago.”

Tam declined to say whether she would advise against holding a federal election now, but said she expects all campaigns to follow local health rules.

She added that the vast majority of new COVID-19 cases in Canada are among unvaccinated parts of the population.

The last general federal election took place Oct. 21, 2019, which resulted in a Liberal minority government. The Liberals have been in government since 2015.

The Liberals currently have 155 seats in the 338-seat House of Commons, while the Conservatives have 119.

The Bloc Québécois have 32, the NDP 24 and the Greens have two. There are also five Independents and one seat is vacant.