British Columbia

Liberal leader Justin Trudeau makes Vancouver his first election campaign stop

Liberal leader Justin Trudeau launched his re-election campaign on Wednesday evening in Vancouver, B.C.

Teen activists and anti-pipeline protesters showed up at Wednesday rally

Liberal leader Justin Trudeau pictured at a rally in Vancouver, B.C. on Wednesday evening. (CBC)

Liberal leader Justin Trudeau's first stop in his 2019 election campaign was Vancouver, a place he's often referred to as his second home.

Loud chants and applause nearly drowned out Trudeau's words at a rally held at the Italian Cultural Centre in East Vancouver

"My friends, it is so good to be home," Trudeau told the crowd.

Trudeau, who once taught school in Vancouver, played up his ties to B.C., reminiscing about exploring Metro Vancouver's North Shore and eating Triple O burgers at The White Spot.

Hours earlier, on Wednesday morning,Trudeau met with Gov. Gen. Julie Payette in Ottawa to dissolve Parliament, launching Canada's 43rd general election. 

Battleground B.C.

Political experts say it's no coincidence that Trudeau is starting his election campaign in B.C., which he also did at the start of the 2015 campaign.

All indications are that B.C. will play a pivotal role in deciding the coming election, with some describing the province as a key battleground for the Liberals. 

"The election looks to be a close one and British Columbia has the largest number of seats west of Ontario so those numbers always matter," said Gerald Baier, associate professor of political science at the University of British Columbia.

"Add to that the fact that the two Green Party MPs ... are from British Columbia and [with] a presumed rise of the Green Party, there are all kinds of factors that suggest B.C. will be important in the 2019 federal election." 

Support and protest

Trudeau wrapped up his rally with his party's slogan "Choose Forward" which was met with chants from the crowd for "four more years."

But not everyone at the rally was a supporter of Trudeau or the Liberal party. 

A group of teens with Sustainabiliteens, a youth climate change movement in Metro Vancouver, showed up to voice their opinions. 

Their chants during Trudeau's speech were drowned out by the crowd's cheers but at the end of the event, they loudly sang and demanded action on the environment.. Anti-pipeline protesters also gathered outside the rally. 

Baier said environmental concerns will be a key election issue.

"The Trans Mountain pipeline and questions about Alberta's access to international markets are going to impact B.C.," he said.

"In other parts of the country, [the Liberals] can be casting themselves saviour of the environment for trying to bring in a  carbon tax. That's a moot point in B.C."

The federal vote is to be held Oct. 21.

With files from Lien Young

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