Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper has triggered an election campaign and the set the vote for Oct. 19.

Harper and his Conservative party are seeking a fourth term after almost a decade in power. The prime minister dissolved Parliament Sunday.

Harper, in power since 2006, has managed to nudge an instinctively center-left country to the right. He has gradually lowered sales and corporate taxes, avoided climate change legislation, supported the oil industry against the environmental lobby, increased military spending and backed Israel's right-wing government.

Analysts say the election is a toss-up and Harper faces an uphill battle to form another majority government.

If Harper wins he'll become the first prime minister since Sir Wilfrid Laurier in 1908 to win four consecutive elections.