Canada Votes
October 21, 2019

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his Liberal Party celebrated Monday night as the CBC, Canada's national broadcaster, projected that Trudeau won a second term in Monday's national elections. While the Liberals are expected to win a plurality of seats in Parliament, they are seen falling short of the 170 needed for an outright majority in the 338-seat legislature. Polls had suggested Andrew Scheer and his Conservative Party were within striking distance of unseating Trudeau, but the Liberals had a stronger-than-expected showing.

Trudeau, Scheer, Bloc Quebecois leader Yves-François Blanchet, New Democratic Party (NDP) leader Jagmeet Singh, and Green Party leader Elizabeth May all won or are projected to win their respective seats, but Maxime Bernier, leader of the right-wing People's Party of Canada (PPC) lost his Quebec district to a Conservative challenger, Richard Lehoux. Bernier, who had represented the riding, or district, since 2006, founded the PPC in 2018 after losing the race to be Conservative leader.

If Trudeau heads a minority government, it means his Liberals will need support from other parties to pass legislation; the NDP is the most likely governing partner. The two prime ministers before Trudeau, Liberal Paul Martin and Conservative Stephen Harper, led three successive minority governments between 2004 and 2011, and "both got significant business through the House during their minority tenures," CBC News notes.

Still, the political landscape has changed since Trudeau, 47, won his landslide victory in 2015, University of Toronto history and international relations professor Robert Bothwell tells The Associated Press. "Trudeau is going to have to command a caucus that will not be as grateful than it was in 2015," he said, and as for Scheer, 40, "he's gone," Bothwell predicted. "He ran a really dirty campaign. There is nothing to be proud of on his side. He had the opportunity and blew it." Peter Weber

October 21, 2019

Canadians elect a new Parliament in national elections Monday, and polls suggest that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau could become the first Canadian leader in 84 years to be ousted after one four-year term with a parliamentary majority. Trudeau's Liberal Party is neck-and-neck with the Conservative Party and its leader, Andrew Scheer, though it seems likely neither party will win an outright majority of Parliament's 338 seats.

If the election results in Canada's first coalition government since 1972, the likely combinations would be Trudeau being joined by the New Democratic Party (NDP) or the Conservatives pairing up with the separatist Bloc Quebecois. NDP leader Jagmeet Singh has suggested he is open to a governing coalition with the Liberals, though Trudeau has not made similar public overtures.

The campaign has been "nasty," especially by Canadian standards, says CNN's Paula Newton. Trudeau's once-high popularity has been eroded by unmet expectations and a series of controversies and scandals, most recently his admission he has worn blackface on multiple occasions. The blackface controversy doesn't seem to have shifted public opinion much, and Scheer, a career politician who only recently disclosed that he holds dual U.S.-Canadian citizenship, has been unable to gain traction with his attacks on Trudeau.

The net result of the dirt-slinging has been a disenchanted electorate and "a desert from a public policy point of view," veteran Canadian pollster Nik Nanos tells CNN. "If people were to describe the election, it would be 'Indecision 2019.'" Preliminary results for Canada's 338 ridings, or parliamentary districts, are expected to be announced Monday night. Peter Weber

October 19, 2015

After nearly a decade in power, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper and his Conservative Party will be relegated to minority party status in national elections on Monday, and Canada will probably have a coalition government, according to polls. The Liberals, led by 41-year-old Justin Trudeau, are leading the Conservatives by about 9 percentage points, 39.1 percent to 30.5 percent, in the latest CTV/Globe and Mail tracking poll, The Associated Press reports, with the left-leaning New Democrats at 19.7 percent. According to a survey last week by Nanos Research, 71 percent of Canadians say it is time for a change of government.

The Liberal resurgence is being attributed to Canada's poor economic performance — more dependent on energy and mining after three terms with Harper in office, Canada has been hit badly by the slump in energy prices — and to a positive, surprisingly strong campaign by Trudeau, a former teacher and the son of long-serving Canadian Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau. Harper had hoped to undo much of Pierre Trudeau's liberal legacy, AP says, but three terms probably weren't enough. Justin Trudeau has promised to boost the economy, stuck in two quarters of negative growth, and Canada's hard-hit manufacturing sector by spending heavily on infrastructure.

The Conservatives won a majority of seats in the 2011 federal elections, but even if Harper manages to hold onto a plurality on Monday, the Liberals and New Democrats had said they will band together and stifle his agenda, likely leading to new elections. "It's hard for me to see a path for his survival now," Tom Flanagan, Harper's former campaign manager, tells AP. "When you play out all the scenarios they all seem to end with a defeat on election night or a very tenuous victory that would not allow Harper to survive very long." Peter Weber

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