Canada elections: PM Justin Trudeau set to stay in power but miss majority mark
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will remain in power in Ottawa, but his ruling Liberal Party has been unable to secure the majority mark it had desperately sought in the Canada elections that were held on Monday.
Justin Trudeau himself had initiated the call for snap polls in mid-August in a bid to turn his minority government into a majority one. But the projected results of the 2021 Canada elections have turned out to be almost a replay of the 2019 polls when the Liberals settled for a minority government.
A party will have to win at least 170 out of 338 seats in Canada’s House of Commons to form a majority government.
Trudeau won comfortably from his riding of Papineau in Quebec, while the Liberals were leading or had won 156 seats and the Conservatives had 123 in the Canada elections.
In the 2019 general elections, Justin Trudeau’s Liberals had won 157 seats while the Conservatives had secured 121.
Addressing his supporters in Montreal, Trudeau said “millions of Canadians have chosen a progressive plan”. “You are sending us back to work with a clear mandate to get through this pandemic,” he told the cheering crowd.
In a message to voters who seemed unhappy with the decision to call snap elections, he said in French, “I’ve heard you, you don’t want to be talking politics or elections any more.”
The PM said the voters had given his government “clear direction” and that it was “ready” to deliver on a number of issues, such as as the Covid-19 pandemic, the economy, climate change and Indigenous reconciliation.
This time round, the Conservative Party had about 34% of the vote share, about 1.5% higher than the Liberals that is also a repeat of the 2019 outcome, according to the Canada election results.
Canadian networks announced that a Liberal government led by Justin Trudeau would be formed at 10.30pm local time in Ottawa on Tuesday as early results and trends made it clear that the principal opposition Conservative Party would be unable to match the number of seats the ruling party was on target to capture.
Conservative Party leader Erin O’Toole spoke at the party headquarters in Oshawa in Ontario, attacking Trudeau and saying the PM “was hoping for a quick power grab” and Canadians denied him the “majority mandate he wanted”.
He said he had congratulated Trudeau before arriving to deliver his speech, but warned the PM against trying to precipitate another round elections in 18 months.
While the New Democratic Party (NDP) under Indo-Canadian leader Jagmeet Singh may have hoped for a considerable increase in the number of seats, progressive voters instead seemed to have opted for the Liberals.
The NDP was at around 30 seats, an improvement over the 24 in 2019 and this may ensure that Jagmeet Singh will remain as the party’s leader, according to Canada election results.
The NDP is in a tight race in the Canada elections with the Bloc Quebecois for the position of the third-largest party in the House of Commons.
The Conservatives failed to make a dent in the seat-rich Greater Toronto Area (GTA), which was crucial in the party’s bid to overtake the Liberals on seat count and form the single-largest party.
The defeat in the 2021 Canada elections could go on to endanger the continuation of Erin O’Toole as the leader of the Conservative Party since he has been unable to improve the party’s performance considerably.
His predecessor Andrew Scheer had won the national vote share over the Liberals in 2019 with 121 seats, increasing the figure over the 99 in 2015, but still had to resign as he couldn’t manage an outright win.
Despite managing to win, according to Canada election results, Justin Trudeau might still have to face questions over why he precipitated a CAN$610 million (US$478mn) election in the middle of the Covid-19 pandemic.
In the initial days of campaigning after the snap polls were declared in mid-August, the Liberals first led the Tories by double digits, but the gap disappeared within days of the announcement of the September 20 elections.