Justin Trudeau, the leader of the Liberal Party, will enjoy another term as prime minister of Canada after winning a minority government in the recent federal election. Despite a tumultuous four years that saw everything from blackface to trying to put the kibosh on a criminal investigation, one-third of the electorate gave him another shot at governing the country. But the results did make it clear that the prime minister could be on a short leash as the balance of power rests with two other political parties.
A Liberal Win or a Conservative Loss?
Heading into the Canadian election, the pollsters forecast that it would either be a Liberal minority government or a Conservative one. Well, it was a coin toss, and the grits pulled out a victory.
At 10:30 p.m. EST, it was confirmed that Trudeau and his Liberals would form a government. Twenty minutes later, Canadians learned that the nation would be on the brink of an election in a year or two as the prime minister will rule with a minority government, meaning Trudeau needs the support of several other Members of Parliament to advance his agenda.
The Liberals won 157 seats, losing 29 from the last election in 2015. The Conservatives secured 121 seats, adding to its representation by 23. The biggest surprise of the evening was the Bloc Quebecois’ resurgence, gaining 22 seats and becoming the third-biggest party in the country. The New Democrats will push their far-left agenda with 24 Members of Parliament, shedding 18 seats. The Green Party has secured three seats. The People’s Party of Canada failed to earn a seat; leader Maxime Bernier lost his Quebec riding of Beauce, and the PPC’s gamble on former Toronto Mayor Rob Ford’s wife, Renata Ford, did not pay off after nominating her to attempt represent Etobicoke North.
Trudeau and his Liberals no longer possess a majority. So, what now?
Because of the sizeable number of parliamentary seats, the Liberals do not need to form a coalition with the NDP, but they do need to reach across the aisle for support to pass legislation. If the Liberals move ahead with policies that they already share with the NDP, such as a national pharmacare plan, then they can find a friend in Jagmeet Singh. However, if the grits propose a new budget and it gets shot down, then you can say goodbye #elxn43 and say hello to #elxn44 in just a few months.
The Tories, meanwhile, are expected to be in disarray. The Conservatives, led by Andrew Scheer, failed to muster considerable support in Quebec – the Liberals had also hoped for significant gains in the province. Instead, the region showed a lot of love to the Bloc Quebecois, a separatist party that was considered dead for the last couple of election cycles, as it can now inject itself into political discourse and help set the agenda.
Ultimately, you can anticipate Prime Minister Trudeau doing a lot of courting. Perhaps he will spend more time in Ottawa, wining and dining opponents to garner their approval. In fact, he might be so desperate to cling to power that he could very well make more appearances in the nation’s capital than on daytime television talk shows and magazine covers in the US.
Grab your Double-Double and maple syrup because it is going to be a fascinating year.
The 43rd general election produced many interesting narratives that will be dissected for years to come.
A ruling party that only hung onto power because it lost less than the opposition. Two major political forces failed to grow their bases beyond old-stock conservatives and urban progressives. A separatist party that was diagnosed as dead had been resuscitated and turned into the third-largest political party in the country, despite capturing just 9% of the popular vote. A far-left party, once destined for glory after the Orange Crush of 2011, failed to generate any significant momentum with a rookie federal politician at the helm. A new libertarian-lite movement did not gain any seats and saw its leader lose his place in the House of Commons.
While Canadian politics might not be as sexy as south of the border, Ottawa can still boast an intriguing national tale that will leave the electorate hanging on to every vote in parliament for the next year.