Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper dissolved parliament Sunday and set an election for October 19.
Harper and his Conservative party are seeking a fourth term in office after nearly a decade in power.
But they will face a tough campaign against the opposition New Democrat party and its leader, Tom Mulcair, as the country struggles to cope with a declining economy and the global plunge in the price of oil, a major Canadian export.
Harper has gradually pushed his generally center-left country toward more conservative policies, lowering taxes, supporting the oil industry against environmental attacks and increasing military spending.
If the 56-year-old Harper wins, he would be the first prime minister to win four consecutive elections in more than a century.