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Canadian PM Justin Trudeau’s party wins election, but misses majority


Canada’s Liberal Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speaks during an election campaign stop in Kitchener, Ontario Canada September 17, 2021.

Carlos Osorio | Reuters

Canadians gave Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s Liberal Party a victory in Monday’s parliamentary elections, but his gamble to win a majority of seats failed.

Liberals won the most seats out of all parties. Trudeau, 49, channelled the star power and influence of his father Pierre Trudeau (1995-2015), and has led his party since to the highest finish in both elections.

Liberals lead in 148 ridings. Conservatives are in 103. Bloc Quebecois is in 28. The leftist New Democratic Party is in 22.

Trudeau didn’t win enough seats that he could pass legislation without having to depend on other parties. Trudeau came into the election with a stable minor government, which was not at threat of being overthrown.

The opposition was relentless in accusing Trudeau of calling an unnecessary early vote — two years before the deadline — for his own personal ambition.

Trudeau was adamant that Canadians wouldn’t support a Conservative government in the face of a pandemic. Canada ranks among the top vaccinated nations in the world. Trudeau’s government has spent hundreds of millions of dollars supporting the economy during lockdowns. He argued that Trudeau’s approach to the Conservatives would have been dangerous. Trudeau believes that Canadians want a government that is scientifically based.

Conservative leader Erin O’Toole did not require that his party’s candidates be vaccinated. He also wouldn’t say how many people were not vaccinated. O’Toole said that vaccination was a personal decision. However, vaccinated Canadians have become increasingly angry at those refusing to get vaccines.

Trudeau, who supports mandatory vaccinations for Canadians traveling by air and rail, is opposed by the Conservatives. Trudeau pointed out that Alberta is currently in crisis, despite being run by the Conservative province government.

O’Toole’s ally, Jason Kenney, Alberta’s Premier, stated that the province could run out of ICU beds within days. Kenney has since apologized and will now introduce a vaccination passport. He also will impose a work-from-home requirement two months after lifting almost all restraints.

An O’Toole win for the Conservatives would have been a repudiation of Trudeau, a politician who has only a small amount of name recognition. O’Toole is 47-years old and was a soldier veteran. He also served as a lawyer before becoming a Member of Parliament nine years ago.

O’Toole, a former lawyer and military veteran, declared himself as a “true blue Conservative” one year ago. With a promise to take back Canada, O’Toole became Conservative Party leader and immediately worked to bring the party to the political center.

O’Toole’s strategy included the disavowal of positions that were held dear to his party’s base on topics such as climate change and guns, in order to appeal to a wider cross-section, a country which tends to be more liberal than its southern neighbour.

He is the son of an experienced politician and has come under fire for saying anything in his quest to win election.

The campaign was dominated by questions about whether O’Toole, a moderate Canadian politician, is really the progressive conservative that he claimed to be. Also, whether O’Toole alienated Conservatives.

Adrian Archambault (a Vancouver-based 53-year old resident) voted Liberal, and stated that he did not mind that the election took place during a pandemic. He also noted that provincial elections were held during the same pandemic.

He said that everyone has been so concerned with Covid over the past few years, it was not a bad idea to do a sort of recheck.

Trudeau is known for his willingness to accept immigrants at a time in history when other countries and the U.S. closed their doors. Trudeau also made cannabis legal in Canada and introduced a carbon tax for climate change mitigation. He also maintained a free trade agreement with Mexico and the U.S. despite threats from former U.S. president Donald Trump to end the deal.

Trudeau received support from former U.S. president Barack Obama and ex-Democratic Party nomination Hillary Clinton via Twitter. O’Toole wasn’t supported by Trump. Walied Soliman (Conservative campaign co-chair) said that O’Toole is not aligned with Trumpism. Soliman stated earlier that O’Toole would win if Trudeau was allowed to form a minority government.