Canada held an election yesterday and Justin Trudeau, leader of the Liberal Party, will retain his post as prime minister as his party kept enough seats to form a minority government.
After a tight campaign that saw the two leading parties struggle to break out of the pack, the Liberals under Justin Trudeau have held on to just enough seats in Atlantic Canada, Quebec and Ontario to secure a minority government.
Both Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer and NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh have spoken with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to acknowledge the election results.
While final ballots are still being counted in several ridings, the Liberals are expected to win 156 seats, 21 fewer than they started with 40 days ago. The Conservatives moved up from 95 seats to an estimated 122, while the NDP lost 15 seats to end up with 24.
The Liberals managed to win despite preliminary numbers showing the Conservatives won the popular vote, taking 34.5 per cent of the vote to the Liberals’ 33 per cent. That result was most pronounced in the Prairies, where Conservative turnout and support was very high.
For those of you unfamiliar with how the parliamentary system works, here’s a brief explainer: The party that wins the most seats for the federal parliament in the local districts in the provinces (called “ridings”) gets to form the government, and the leader of that party gets to be prime minister. If that worked here in the United States, that would mean Nancy Pelosi would be running things. (Would that it were so…)
It wasn’t an easy race for Trudeau. He’s faced a number of stumbles, including a few scandals and his own black-face stupidity from his distant past. But the Conservative leader, Andrew Scheer, didn’t do himself any favors by having to explain why he was a dual Canadian/U.S. citizen (a situation somewhat similar to Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX); it’s his dad’s fault), and having to explain his previous views on marriage equality (he was against it).
The Conservatives did very well out west — the Liberals didn’t win a single seat in Alberta and Saskatchewan — but it’s also sparsely populated as compared to Ontario and Quebec, and the fact that there’s more than one major party in the mix diluted the Liberals’ support in the east and Atlantic Canada.
A couple of notes of observation: Canadian elections take forty days from the time they’re called to election day. Wouldn’t that be nice? Also, during the election, the news media, or at least the CBC, does not refer to the incumbent prime minister by his title; he or she is “[Party] leader.” Therefore for the last forty days, it’s been “Liberal leader Justin Trudeau,” not “Prime Minister Justin Trudeau,” even though he still is the PM. I assume that’s because the press doesn’t want to give the slightest impression that they’re favoring one party over another. That’s very Canadian: always play fair.