Canadians are voting Tuesday for a new parliament, in a battle between Prime Minister Stephen Harper's Conservative party and the Liberals, led by Stephane Dion.
Polls indicate Mr. Harper will keep power, but experts say his party's lead is by no means secure. Mr. Harper has been accused of being slow to respond to the global economic crisis and insensitive to the financial concerns of his constituents.
Dion, from the French-speaking province of Quebec, is an environmentalist who has been criticized for speaking poor English, a factor that could cost him votes.
This is the first election in any of the world's major industrialized nations since the global economic crisis began.
Mr. Harper announced in September that he would dissolve parliament and call for new elections, after he and Liberal leader Dion failed to agree on a common legislative agenda.
During meetings between the two leaders, the opposition rejected a request to keep Mr. Harper in power until the next scheduled elections in October 2009.
Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.