Canadian Prime Minister calls election for June 28

Canadian Prime Minister Paul Martin announced Sunday afternoon that parliament election will be held on June 28, kicking off a campaign by different political parties.

"I have just met with the Governor General and she has agreed to dissolve the 37th Parliament. A general election will be held on Monday, June 28," Martin told reporters.

He said the election needed to be called now because much has changed since the last election back in the fall of 2000.

"We are a new government with a new approach. We face a new official Opposition whose values and policies differ sharply from our own. There is an urgent need to address issues that are essential to our future," he said.

Martin said his government has accomplished much since taking office five months ago. He said his team has made government spending more accountable, given more power to members of parliament and brought in a national security policy.

"At the same time, we have made important down payments toward strengthening health care, making higher education more affordableand accessible and ensuring that our cities and communities large and small have the financing they need to be great places to live,to work and to raise a family," Martin said.

According to new polls, support for the ruling Liberal Party isnot as solid as the party had hoped. Polls put national support for the Liberals at 35 percent, down four points from a poll released last Wednesday.

Support for the major opposition party the Conservative remainsat 26 percent nationally, while the New Democratic Party is at 18 percent, a three-point rise.

The Liberals currently hold 168 seats in the House of Commons, the Conservatives 73, the Bloc Quebecois 33, and the New Democratic Party 14. There were 9 independents and four vacant seats. Redistribution added seven new ridings so there are now 308seats.

Source: Xinhua

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