Trudeau Remains as Prime Minister, but Canada More Divided

Canadian Prime Minister Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau arrives at the poling station with his son Hadrian, his wife Sophie and daughter Ella-Grace in Montreal on Monday. (Paul Chiasson/The Canadian Press via AP)

(CN) – Incumbent Justin Trudeau held on to his seat as prime minister of Canada after CBC News called the race for the leader Monday night, but Liberal Party losses in Parliament mean he will be heading a minority government this time around.

Under Canada’s parliamentary system, voters do not directly choose the prime minister, instead electing members of Parliament in their home “riding,” or district. The final tally of elections to the House of Commons will determine which party, or parties, win the authority to form Canada’s next government. That much was clear Monday night – Trudeau’s Liberal Party is projected to win more seats in Parliament than any of Canada’s other five major parties.

But for one party to win a mandate to form a majority government, it must secure 170 out of 338 seats in the House. If no single party wins that many seats, there will be a minority government, where the parties either cobble together a governing coalition or team up on individual issues.

The race during the 40-day election season has been extremely close. So close that Conservative leader Andrew Scheer, who last week inched ahead of Trudeau in the polls, called for a government led by the party that gets the most seats – rather than the party that wins 170 seats. Critics say that is not how Canada’s Parliamentary system works, and the move may backfire now that Trudeau is projected to win more seats than Scheer.

In the final tally, the Liberal Party took 157 seats for the Liberal Party and the Conservatives won 121. Bloc Quebecois became the real star of the night, winning 32 seats and nearly tripling its power in Parliament.

The progressive New Democratic Party lost nearly half its seats, holding on to 24, while the Green Party kept three seats. That means the three small parties are likely partners for Trudeau’s Liberals to get the 170 votes needed to pass legislation.

The far-right People’s Party of Canada won zero seats in Parliament.

Scandals and attack-filled debates meant a surge in support for the country’s smaller parties, save the People’s Party of Canada.

Trudeau recently apologized for three incidents between the late 1980s and 2001 when he wore blackface and brownface. 

This past April, Canada’s independent ethics commission found he tried to derail a corruption trial against the construction company SNC-Lavalin Group. Scheer has called for a criminal investigation into the issue. 

Scheer, meanwhile, recently acknowledged his dual U.S. citizenship. Scheer said he did not broach the subject of his American father because no one asked him about it. And the conservative has refused to make clear his positions on gay marriage and abortion.

Whatever the final details of the new minority government, its leaders will soon make a “speech from the throne” before the House of Commons outlining its agenda. After a debate, the new government must survive a vote of confidence in the House of Commons. If it fails, the election cycle could start all over again.

%d bloggers like this: