Harper Against Trudeau In Canadian Elections

TORONTO  (AP) -

Canadians voted Monday to decide whether to extend Conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s near-decade in power or to elect a liberal to lead the country.

Harper has been a staunch ally of Israel and enjoys a warm relationship with its prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu.

He has trailed in opinion polls behind Liberal leader Justin Trudeau, the son of late Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau. Canada has pivoted to the center-right under Harper, who has lowered sales and corporate taxes, avoided climate-change legislation and clashed with the Obama administration over the Keystone XL Pipeline.

The elder Trudeau, who took office in 1968 and led Canada for most of the next 16 years, is a storied name in Canadian history, responsible for the country’s version of the bill of rights.

His son, who has re-energized the Liberal Party since its devastating electoral losses four years ago, promises to raise taxes on the rich and run deficits for three years to boost government spending.

“We have a chance to bring real change to Canada and bring an end to the Harper decade,” Justin Trudeau said in Harper’s adopted home province of Alberta, traditionally a Conservative stronghold.