OTTAWA/MONTREAL- Speculation mounted on Thursday that Canada's election campaign will formally begin on Sunday, with the governing Conservatives planning a Montreal rally on Sunday evening at which Prime Minister Stephen Harper is expected to speak.
The Conservative campaign spokesman, Kory Teneycke, also said on CBC television that the first election debate, on Aug 6, would be within the formal part of the campaign.
While the Oct. 19 date of this year's general election is fixed, the campaign does not start officially until the prime minister gives the word.
By law, Harper must do so by Sept. 13, but Conservative sources said this week that he would likely opt to start early, possibly the first week of August.
The Conservative Party has announced a rally on Sunday evening, Aug. 2, in Mount Royal, an electoral district in Montreal where the Conservatives have a shot at picking up a seat from the Liberals. Two Conservative sources said Harper would address the rally.