Trudeau's first stop in his 2019 federal election campaign is a rally in Vancouver
Justin Trudeau kicked off his election campaign in Vancouver Wednesday just hours after asking the Governor General to dissolve Parliament.
The Liberal leader's request was accepted, marking the start of the 40-day race to voting day.
After the election call, Trudeau flew immediately from Ottawa to the West Coast for a rally in the riding of Vancouver Kingsway, which began more than 30 minutes after its scheduled start time.
Though he represents the Montreal riding of Papineau, Trudeau took pains to tout his connections to B.C., saying "it just made sense" to kick off his second federal election campaign as Liberal leader in the province again, after doing so in 2015.
"My friends, it is so good to be home," he said at the beginning of his remarks, flanked on stage by Liberal candidates and staffers. "You all know how proud I am to be a son and a grandson of British Columbia."
He went on to describe time spent visiting the Lower Mainland as a child and later working as a teacher in Coquitlam and Vancouver.
"Some of my best memories in the world are right here in B.C.," he said.
Outside the Italian Cultural Centre, where Trudeau was speaking, dozens of protesters from across the political spectrum gathered.
Kris Sims of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation was among them, along with a Pinnochio-inspired, long-nosed mascot named "Fibber."
"We're here today with our friend, Fibber, with the Canadian Taxpayers Federation because the Prime Minister broke his promise," Sims said. "He looked Canadians dead in the eye and he promised, during the last election, he was going to balance the budget."
A much larger group of protesters attended the event to protest Trudeau's continued commitment to building the Trans Mountain Pipeline.
Organizer Peter McCartney said his group gathered to show the Liberal leader that the fight over the pipeline "is not over."
"We think the Prime Minister needs to look at the facts on this pipeline," he said. "The economic case for it has fallen apart since it was first proposed in 2012 … There's no need for it."
One other federal party leader was in B.C. for the first official day of the 2019 campaign. Green leader Elizabeth May started her campaign in Victoria, where she joined candidates from Vancouver Island and B.C.'s Lower Mainland for an early-morning event.
The NDP's Jagmeet Singh, who serves as MP of the B.C. riding of Burnaby South, started his day in London, Ont.
Conservative leader Andrew Scheer split his day between Trois-Rivieres, Que. and a Toronto suburb. Maxime Bernier, of the People's Party of Canada, was also expected to be in the Greater Toronto Area.
Election day is Oct. 21.
With files from The Canadian Press