Canada is at the center of a much larger conversation about the future of its democracy, and how it will evolve.
But the country’s biggest challenges lie ahead, even before it holds an election next year.
Canada’s leaders, led by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, are the first to face the prospect of an election that could determine whether or not Canada stays in the European Union.
They are the ones who will decide the fate of millions of Canadians who have fled the country for fear of the country sliding into an economic depression.
The Conservatives, meanwhile, have been fighting for weeks to maintain their lead in the polls and will face a choice in September whether to make an announcement that the Liberals will win the election or to wait until 2019 to do so.
Trudeau, a former prime minister and leader of the Liberals, has promised to lead Canada through a difficult period in which Canada faces a series of daunting challenges, including the opioid crisis, a looming threat of climate change and the growing threat of terrorist attacks.
The Liberal party is hoping that the next election will be an opportunity to make changes that will help Canadians stay ahead of the challenges of a changing world.
And the Conservatives, on the other hand, have tried to portray themselves as the champion of the middle class, an assertion that has helped them keep a slim lead in opinion polls.
The Conservatives’ lead over the Liberals has shrunk from the mid-single digits to the single digits in recent weeks, but Trudeau and his government are confident that they can win a majority government in 2019.
They believe the country can turn around its economy.
“We are doing better than we did four years ago,” Trudeau told a crowd of supporters on Monday.
“We are getting ahead.
We are doing it in a way that Canadians will see as a victory for them, because they have come together.
It is a victory in the face of adversity.”
The Liberals have been promising to help Canadians navigate this election’s complicated set of challenges for years, from reforming the nation’s health-care system to fixing a massive housing crisis.
But in the coming months, the Liberals and their allies in the Conservative party will face an even more difficult task: convincing Canadians that they have the competence and determination to lead a country in the midst of a historic shift.
It’s a job for a man who was born in Canada, and who speaks little English.
Trudeau, who is a first-generation Canadian, grew up in Winnipeg, the son of a single mom and a single dad who immigrated to Canada as a child.
He was raised by two grandparents, one of whom was a Holocaust survivor.
He has long been outspoken about his concerns about the effects of the opioid epidemic and about the growing dangers of climate chaos, both of which have put pressure on the government to act.
But Trudeau has been less explicit about how he would handle the looming refugee crisis.
The prime minister, who took office in 2015, promised in 2015 that Canada would be welcoming more Syrian refugees.
But he has since said that Canada will only accept a maximum of 5,000 Syrians this year, and will open the country to an additional 1,000 Syrian refugees next year and 3,000 next year, as well as to people from other countries who have been resettled in Canada.
Trudeau is also facing pressure to act quickly on climate change, which he has called a major challenge to the health of the planet.
Trudeau has said repeatedly that Canada must do more to help combat climate change because, if we don’t, the climate could change dramatically, wiping out many species.
Last week, he announced plans to create a National Climate Change Strategy, with the aim of setting ambitious targets for cutting greenhouse gas emissions and reducing emissions from coal-fired power plants.
Trudeau also announced that the government will create a $4.5-billion climate fund for the provinces and territories to fund climate change mitigation projects and to develop climate science literacy and knowledge.
A Conservative government would also impose a carbon tax, which would increase taxes on many goods and services, and impose a cap-and-trade system on emissions.
But most of the new taxes on Canadian goods and industries would be set to expire at the end of 2019.