TORONTO – The polling stations have opened in Canada for the general elections being held on Monday in which voters will elect the 338 lawmakers in the lower house of Parliament.
The polling places in the provinces of Newfoundland and Labrador on Canada’s Atlantic coast were the first to open at 8:30 am local time, and they will remain open for 12 hours.
The polling stations in the Pacific coast province of British Columbia were the last to open their doors. The voting centers allowed voters in to cast their ballots starting at 7 am and will remain open until 7 pm.
Canada, the world’s second largest country by land area with 9.98 million square kilometers (3.85 million square miles) and 37.5 million residents, spans six time zones.
Elections Canada, the public entity tasked with organizing elections in the country, estimated that 4.7 million people, some 29 percent more than in the 2015 elections, have already voted during the four days set aside for early voting.
The first election results are scheduled to be released about 11 pm on Monday.
The province of Ontario, the country’s most populous region with 14.5 million residents, is the one in which the most lawmakers will be elected. There will be 121 lawmakers chosen from this region, followed by 78 from Quebec and 42 from British Columbia.
Meanwhile, the three northern provinces – Nunavut, Yukon and the Northwest Territories – with a combined population of just 111,663, will each have one seat in Parliament.
Voter surveys indicate that the Liberal Party of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and the Conservative Party each have about 32 percent support among the voting public and experts estimate that neither party will wind up with an absolute majority of parliamentary seats.
In the 2015 elections, the Liberals obtained 39.4 percent of the votes and 177 seats in Parliament while the Conservatives garnered 31.89 percent of the votes and 95 seats, followed by the New Democratic Party with 19.7 percent of the votes and 39 seats.