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Canada’ Harper Dissolves Parliament, Calls Early Poll

FILE - Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper is seen speaking on Parliament Hill in Ottawa.

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.