February 19, 2017 1:02 pm

Justin Trudeau sets byelection for Ottawa-Vanier for April 3

Ottawa-Vanier MP Mauril Belanger gives the thumbs up as he receives applause after using a tablet with text-to-speech program to defend his proposed changes to neutralize gender in the lyrics to "O Canada" in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Friday, May 6, 2016. Belanger could see his private member's bill to make the national anthem more gender neutral pass a final hurdle today in the House of Commons.

THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
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OTTAWA – Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has set the date for a byelection in an Ottawa riding left vacant by the death of Mauril Belanger.

The byelection will be held April 3.

Belanger held the long-standing Liberal seat for more than 20 years before his death in August 2016, months after being diagnosed with ALS.

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READ MORE: Funeral for MP Mauril Belanger ends with playing of gender neutral ‘O Canada’

The byelection is the first of five that will happen this year.

Trudeau has until the end of the month to set a byelection date in Calgary Heritage, which was former prime minister Stephen Harper’s riding until his retirement last year, and until the end of March to set a byelection date in Calgary Midnapore, which Jason Kenney left to run for the leadership of the Alberta Progressive Conservatives.

By the summer, dates will also have to be set in the Toronto area riding of Markham-Thornhill, which longtime Liberal John MacCallum left to become ambassador to China, and the Montreal riding of Saint-Laurent that Liberal Stephane Dion held for two decades before leaving politics earlier this month to become ambassador to the European Union and Germany.

WATCH: Full speech: Prime Minister Justin Trudeau pays tribute to Mauril Bélanger

© 2017 The Canadian Press

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