Leaders dive into Day 2 of the campaign

CANADA: NDP denies reports of N.B defections

Canadian dollar lower after Trudeau calls Oct 21 election

Although he swept to victory with his Liberal Party four years ago, a number of controversies have since weakened the Prime Minister's public support.

"That is why it's important to create a national measure right across the country, based on B.C.'s success with it, to ensure that foreign speculation doesn't make housing less affordable for Canadians", he said.

Trudeau kicked off his bid to remain in office ahead of an October 21 vote after meeting the country's governor general and dissolving Parliament.

The NDP launched its campaign Wednesday in London, Ont., one of the regions of the province where New Democrats think they'll be able to hold onto seats.

Though the Canadian economy has strengthened - posting second-quarter growth of 3.7% and almost half a million new jobs created in the previous year - the economic gains have not been felt by the wider Canadian public, who have expressed growing concern about an increasing cost of living.

The Conservative campaign has yet to say much about how the Conservatives intend to ease Canadians' economic concerns.

"My job as prime minister is to be there to stand up for and defend Canadians' jobs", he said.

The prime minister was found by a federal ethics watchdog to have improperly tried to influence a former minister over the prosecution of SNC-Lavalin, a major engineering and construction company facing a criminal trial.

How do you debate a prime minister who doesn't show up?

The campaign is now shaping up to be a battle between two parties: the Liberals and the Conservatives.

"I do not engage in personal attacks but I will be very, very sharp on distinctions around policy", he said on Wednesday.

And Green Party leader Elizabeth May was in Victoria, stressing trust in leadership.

That would leave him and his Liberal Party weakened, relying on opposition members of parliament to push through legislation. Now, it's his turn to face opponents who are unproven campaigners.

The contest is regional (Trudeau is from Quebec, Scheer represents Saskatchewan), ideological (liberal versus conservative) - and personal (Trudeau cultivates a devil-may-care informality, Scheer bitterly characterizes his rival as the corrupt product of an entrenched political class).

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.

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