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B.C. ridings will be hotly contested this election: expert

Last Updated Sep 11, 2019 at 2:17 pm PDT

FILE - Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speaks at the Kitsilano Coast Guard Station on July 29, 2019. (Source: Twitter/@JustinTrudeau)

Trudeau kicks off his campaign with a rally in the Vancouver-Kingsway riding on Sept. 11

An expert says B.C. will see part leaders frequently in the Lower Mainland

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – Liberal leader Justin Trudeau will be in Vancouver Wednesday night at a campaign rally, just hours after asking the governor general to dissolve Parliament, kicking off the election period.

This first-day visit on Trudeau’s campaign trail sends a strong message to British Columbians, whose province will be a hot spot this election, according to University of British Columbia Political Science professor Richard Johnston.

He says B.C. will be very important for Trudeau’s party, who will have to fight for seats.

“The Liberals will struggle to hold onto their majority. The polls right now essentially have the parties dead-level, though if you look at the map, the Liberals have probably pretty strong advantages in Ontario, Quebec and Atlantic Canada,” Johnston says. “But they’re going to lose ground on the prairies, so it really comes down to – how many of the 17 seats they hold in B.C. can they actually defend?”

RELATED: Party leaders have a united target in Justin Trudeau as campaigning kicks off

Johnston says voters will see party leaders frequently in the the Lower Mainland over the next 40 days.

“The eastern and southern suburbs are among the most competitive collections of ridings anywhere,” he says. “They will see a lot of attention and they will also operate as a kind of constraint on the kinds of things leaders will say.”

And all the party leaders will have something to say on the Trans Mountain pipeline.

“We will see adamant opposition to it from the NDP and Greens, adamant support from the Conservatives, and rather a more delicate game by Prime Minister Trudeau,” Johnston says.

Trudeau kicks off his campaign with a rally in the Vancouver-Kingsway riding on Sept. 11.