Liberal Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau remains in power after securing his third term in an early snap parliamentary election. His bid to secure parliament in his favor, however, has failed.
Trudeau requested an early election in hopes of securing a majority in parliament, making it easier to pass legislation. He faced significant pushback and criticism for calling an election amidst a pandemic; critics arguing that it wasn’t about the country’s best interest but simply an effort to cement the prime minister’s position of power.
As of Tuesday, ballots were still being counted though Trudeau has claimed the victory.
The Canadian government works differently than the government in America. The prime minister isn’t elected directly by the people. The seat goes to the leader of the party with the majority of seats in the House of Commons or allies with another party to reach a majority.
So when Trudeau announced that he wanted an election two years early, it was an effort to increase the number of seats his party occupies in the House of Commons. This would give him ultimate authority over what happens in the country instead of splitting decision-making responsibilities with another political party.
According to the Associated Press, “Trudeau has struggled to justify why he’s holding the election early amid the pandemic, and the opposition has been relentless in accusing him of doing it for his own personal ambition. But Trudeau is betting that Canadians will reward him for navigating the coronavirus crisis better than most countries.”
The election’s preliminary results revealed that everything remained virtually the same rather than gain the additional seats they needed to make the 170 majority to gain control. Trudeau did not get the majority he thought he would, as the preliminary count was 156.
Chief economist at BMO Capital Markets Doug Porter said in a note, “Canada’s political landscape looks remarkably similar after this election to the way it did before – almost as if Canadians spelled out ‘we don’t want an election now’ with their votes.”
In fact, results were eerily similar to those from 2019. The conservatives elected 119 seats, two less than 2019. The left-wing New Democrats were leading or winning with 25 seats, the Bloc Québécois with 34 seats, and the Greens down to two seats.
Trudeau seemed to ignore that the results did nothing but reiterate his citizens’ 2019 stance, saying that the vote gave the government and parliament “clear direction.”
Though his conservative rival, Erin O’Toole, conceded his loss, he expressed his sentiments in French. “Five weeks ago, Mr. Trudeau asked for a majority; he said the minority parliament was ‘unworkable.’ But tonight, Canadians did not give Mr. Trudeau the majority mandate he wanted. In fact, Canadians sent him back with another minority at the cost of 600 million Canadian dollars and deeper divisions in our great country.”
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