Despite Blocs comeback, Quebec helps propel Liberals to minority government – CBC.ca

Despite Bloc\s comeback, Quebec helps propel Liberals to minority government - CBC.ca
Canadian election results 2019: A riding-by-riding map of the vote
Quebecers will wake up to a divided province, with the Liberals maintaining a strong presence, even as the Bloc enjoyed a resurgence in popularity.

With nearly all the votes counted in Quebec, the Liberals were projected to win in 35 ridings, the Bloc Québécois in 32 and the Conservatives in 10. The NDP was reduced to a single seat: the party's Quebec lieutenant, Alexandre Boulerice, won a third term in the riding of Rosemont–La-Petite-Patrie. 

Historically viewed as a crucial battleground, Quebec once again featured prominently throughout the election, with heated debate on issues ranging from the banning of religious symbols to the placement of future pipelines.

The Liberals took 40 of the province's 78 seats in the 2015 election, helping to propel Justin Trudeau to a comfortable majority government.

All three leaders found a common enemy in the final days of the campaign: Yves-François Blanchet. The resurgence of the Bloc Quebecois has come at the expense of all three main parties in the province. So when Blanchet said in a speech Saturday night that Quebeckers “will have to once again consider giving itself all the attributes of sovereignty,” Trudeau and Scheer pounced, warning of another sovereignty referendum, while Singh insisted the Bloc’s nationalist leanings would get in the way of fighting climate change.

This time around, the Liberals faced a much tougher test from the Bloc. The sovereignist party gained momentum under leader Yves-François Blanchet, who easily took his riding of Beloeil-Chambly on Montreal's South Shore.

Blanchet, a former Parti Québécois cabinet minister, played off a renewed sense of nationalism under Premier François Legault's popular Coalition Avenir Québec government.

In so doing, he helped lead the party back to relevance after it was limited to 10 seats in the last election and only four in 2011.

I do not know who will win [this] election. The data thats been made available suggest that we could have the first popular vote and seat split in 40 years (in 1979, Joe Clark won the most seats under the Progressive Conservative banner despite losing the popular vote to Pierre Trudeaus Liberals by as much as four points nationally). This time, it appears more likely that the Liberals will win the most seats while the Conservatives earn the most votes.

During the campaign, Blanchet vowed to fend off any federal government challenge to Bill 21, the province's religious symbols law, to block any attempt by the government in Ottawa to approve a new pipeline that would go through the province, and to vote against any attempt at abolishing the carbon tax.

"We propose to be the voice of the Quebec nation," Blanchet said before a boisterous crowd in Montreal. 

Canadians will be asked this fall to choose between moving forward with the Liberals or getting ahead with the Conservatives. A voter walks past a sign directing voters to a polling station for the Canadian federal election in Cremona, Alta., Monday, Oct. 19, 2015. (Jeff McIntosh/CP)

"It's not part of our mandate," he said. "We have to learn how to relisten to Quebecers, in that perspective."

Election Day is finally here. After 40 days of mudslinging, nastiness and the occasional bout of policy discussion, Canadians will decide the next chapter of our democracy and tonight we will learn what shape the next government will take and who will lead it. (*Maybe.)

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who comfortably won his Montreal riding of Papineau, argued throughout the campaign the Liberals would best represent Quebecers in Ottawa as a progressive government that would defend their environmental concerns.

Needed: One strategy to unite Alberta with the rest of Canada: If Trudeau does come out of tonight the winner, he’s got his work cut out for him to soothe the resentment and fear gripping Alberta, and yes that means building a pipeline, writes Jason Markusoff:

Many high-profile Liberal candidates were re-elected, including cabinet ministers Marc Garneau and Mélanie Joly, as well as environmentalist Steven Guilbeault.

Over to you: It’s tempting to be cynical after the campaign we’ve just had. But with scores of seats considered toss-ups, as the Maclean’s editorial from the latest print edition notes, everything might just come down to your vote.

In his victory speech, speaking in French, Trudeau said, "I heard your message tonight," and promised to represent the interests of Quebec in Ottawa.

Welcome to a sneak peek of the Macleans Politics Insider newsletter. Sign-up at the bottom of the page to get it delivered straight to your inbox.

Until the wee hours of vote counting, it appeared the NDP's Ruth Ellen Brosseau might win her seat Berthier-Maskinongé for a third term, but the popular Brosseau — a parachute candidate in 2011 who was easily re-elected four years later — lost to the Bloc's Yves Perron in a tight race.

Before you do cast your ballot, check out the Maclean’s federal election platform guide to see where the parties stand on all the big issues.

That reduced the New Democrats to a single seat in Quebec, after winning 59 of 78 seats only two elections ago. That's despite NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh's promise to hand the province more powers and more social services.

We have no such certainty as of tonight, although a minority scenario appears far more likely than any majority. Read more ››

Singh, a Sikh who wears a turban, struggled to gain traction in the province, even though he said he wouldn't interfere in a court challenge against Bill 21.

Singh told a crowd in British Columbia, where he won his riding of Burnaby South, that he "won't abandon Quebec" and that he wants to unite progressive movements across the country.

And the election was also a veritable death knell for the countrys fledging far right party, the Peoples Party of Canada. Its leader, former Conservative MP Maxime Bernier, adopted the tone and substance of Trumpian nativism, decrying multiculturalism and promising to decrease immigration. Formed just over a year ago, the PPC ran a nearly full slate of candidates, yet failed to win a single seat.

"We will continue to have a presence there. I will have a presence there," he said in French.

The party is also firmly against further pipeline development, which puts it at odds with the Liberal plan to expand the Trans Mountain Pipeline. However, the NDPs newfound power – the party has never formed a government – is tempered by its empty coffers and Canadas election fatigue, meaning expediency will likely trump ideology in the short and medium term.

The Conservatives under Andrew Scheer put an emphasis on strong local candidates and lower taxes in the hope of winning over new voters. 

The Liberal party lost a significant number of votes and seats in the election. Trudeaus reputation as Canadas Sweet Woke Bae Prince is damaged, perhaps permanently, because of his onetime penchant painting his face black. Yet in winning the election despite it all, Justin Trudeau has again turned the focus on his right-leaning rivals across the aisle.

But he struggled during the French-language debates to defend his past comments on abortion and his plan to create a Canada-wide "energy corridor."

Trudeaus personal reputation suffered another blow when pictures emerged of him in blackface – and suffered again when he couldnt say how often hed donned it in public. Though he repeatedly apologised, the incident played into the well-hewed caricature of Trudeau as a hypocritical, out-of-touch dilettante.

In the end, the Conservatives were unable to make inroads in the province and saw themselves lose ground compared to 2016, when they won 12 seats in Quebec.

Yet in defeating Conservative party, the Liberals have instead called into question the direction of conservativism in Canada. The Conservative leader, Andrew Scheer, himself a social conservative, was decidedly uncomfortable discussing issues of abortion, same sex marriage and climate change.

Maxime Bernier, who formed the right-wing People's Party of Canada after losing out in the Conservative leadership race, lost his riding of Beauce. 

NDP leader Jagmeet Singh, a practising Sikh, is the first person of colour to lead a federal political party in Canadas history. The NDP platform is chock full of progressive initiatives, including a national pharmacare plan and a tax on the ultra-rich to help pay for it.

Conservative Richard Lehoux, a former local mayor who comes from long line of dairy farmers, took the riding.

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Yet any jitters quickly turned to cheers as the party secured a minority government, thereby rescuing Trudeaus legacy – and probably tilting Canadas political landscape further to the left in the process.

The Liberals, led by Justin Trudeau, will head back to parliament for a second consecutive term as the governing party, although theyll need to negotiate support from at least one other party in order to pass any legislation while they are in office.

Trudeau will instead look to his left to prop up his minority government. With just over two dozen seats, the New Democratic Party will likely hold the balance of power in Parliament.

Neither the Liberals nor Conservatives hit the 170-seat threshold needed for a majority government as polls were counted Monday night.

Read more Lofty words aside, Canadas 43rd election campaign capped a particularly bruising year for Trudeau, who rose to power in 2014 as an outspoken progressive.

Trudeau has also held on to his Montreal-area seat of Papineau while Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer defended his Regina-Qu’Appelle riding and Bloc Quebecois Leader Yves-Francois Blanchet unseated NDP incumbent Matthew Dube in the Quebec riding of Beloeil-Chambly.

Canadas 43rd election campaign capped a particularly bruising year for Trudeau, but in the end his right-leaning rivals fared worse

NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh’s party sank to fourth place behind the Bloc Quebecois but he won his Burnaby South seat while Green party Leader Elizabeth May also kept her Saanich-Gulf Islands riding.

People’s Party of Canada Leader Maxime Bernier lost his seat in Beauce, Que., to Conservative candidate Richard Lehoux.

Trudeau gave what can best be described as a victory speech in terms of tone but in it, insisted that his party has won a “clear mandate” from Canadians despite losing roughly 20 seats compared to his 2015 results and now being reliant on another party if they want to get anything done.

While the Liberals had previously held 177 seats, Trudeau now holds 156 seats and will not be able to pass any legislation without getting at least one other party on board to support their bills. The Conservatives, on the other hand, picked up 23 seats to sit at 122 and the Bloc Quebecois roughly tripled their showing in Quebec to 32 seats.

Trudeau, however, walked onto stage after Scheer had begun his own speech and began giving his own, which did not acknowledge some of the major hits the Liberals took in the form of the defeat of veterans like Ralph Goodale, who has served as public safety minister, or the wipe-out of his party’s four seats in Alberta.

To my fellow Canadians it has been the greatest honour of my life to serve you for these past four years and tonight you are sending us back to work for you,” Trudeau said.

We take this responsibility seriously and we will work hard for you and your families … to those who did not vote for us know that we will work every single day for you, we will govern for everyone. Regardless of how you cast your ballot ours is a team that will fight for all Canadians.

Scheer in his own speech said he had congratulated Trudeau on winning the most seats but cast the reduction in Liberal seats as a rebuke from voters to Trudeau, warning that Conservatives will be focused on taking him on next time.

Singh also said he had congratulated Trudeau and all eyes will now be on both him and on Blanchet for how they could plan on working with the Liberals in a minority government.

Overall, the results showed stark divides across the country with the Liberals locked out of Alberta entirely and keeping only a scant handful of seats in the Prairies, while cracks emerged in the Liberal hold on Atlantic Canada after sweeping that region in 2015.

In Ontario and Quebec, a strong number of Liberal cabinet ministers kept their seats but the resurgence of the Bloc Quebecois appears to have eaten into the strength of the Liberal vote in Quebec while the Conservatives suffered a major upset in Ontario in the defeat of party veteran Lisa Raitt to her Liberal challenger.

The Greens also won a historic three seats, keeping two that they already held on Vancouver Island and picking up an addition seat in New Brunswick.

Meanwhile in B.C., the big story is the victory of former Liberal attorney general Jody Wilson-Raybould as an Independent in Vancouver Granville.

Voters in Atlantic Canada gave the Liberals a slight early lead as the first poll results began rolling in on Monday night.

Of those Atlantic Liberals, the cabinet ministers who have held onto their seats are Dominic LeBlanc, Seamus ORegan, Bernadette Jordan, Ginette Petitpas Taylor and Lawrence MacAulay. Geoff Regan, who was Speaker of the House of Commons most recently, and long-time Liberal Wayne Easter also retained their seats.

Liberal backbenchers Scott Simms, Gudie Hutchings, Ken McDonald, René Arseneault, Bobby Morrissey, Andy Fillmore and Serge Cormier also secured their seats, as did Darrell Sampson, Darren Fisher, Sean Fraser, Sean Casey and Churence Rogers.

Rookie Liberal candidate Kody Blois also held on to the Kings-Hants seat vacated by former cabinet minister Scott Brison earlier this year.

Several Conservatives managed to chip away at the Liberal hold on Atlantic Canada, though, with three formerly red seats swinging blue.

Conservative Richard Bragdon won the riding of Tobique–Mactaquac from incumbent Liberal T.J. Harvey. John Williamson also won the riding of New Brunswick Southwest from Liberal incumbent Karen Ludwig.

Conservative Rob Moore also won the New Brunswick seat of Fundy Royal from Liberal Alaina Lockhart, who was among the crop of first-time MPs swept into office in 2015.

But the comeback story of the night so far is that of the NDP’s Jack Harris, who will be returning to Ottawa.

Harris had been a longtime NDP MP for the Newfoundland riding of St. John’s East before he lost to Liberal Nick Whelan in 2015.

The Green Party also won a surprise upset in Fredericton, N.B., taking that seat away from the incumbent Liberals.

Results in Quebec also hinted at early signs of strong showing by the Bloc Quebecois, with that party taking 20 seats so far in the province.

Several Liberal cabinet ministers from Quebec have kept their seats: Marc Garneau, Melanie Joly and David Lametti held onto their Montreal-area seats, while Jean-Yves Duclos kept his Quebec City seat in what had been predicted to be a close race.

Pablo Rodriguez, who served as minister of Canadian heritage in the last government, also kept his seat, as did longtime Liberal Francis Scarpaleggia.

Francois-Philippe Champagne, who was infrastructure minister, kept his Saint-Maurice—Champlain riding too.

Prominent Conservatives in that province who also kept their seats include Gérard Deltell, Pierre Paul-Hus, Alain Rayes, Luc Berthold and Steven Blaney.

In Ontario, the big upset of the night came in Milton, where Lisa Raitt, who had represented the riding for 11 years, lost her seat to Liberal challenger and four-time Olympian Adam van Koeverden.

Kirsty Duncan was the first of the Liberal cabinet ministers from that province to secure her Toronto-area seat, as did Chrystia Freeland, Bill Blair, Bill Morneau, Mary Ng, Carolyn Bennett and Navdeep Bains.

Bardish Chagger and Ahmed Hussen also held onto their seats while Jane Philpott, who had been a rising star in the Liberal government until she quit cabinet in protest amid the SNC-Lavalin scandal and was subsequently ejected from caucus by Trudeau, lost her Markham-Stouffville seat to the Liberal challenger.

Maverick Liberal Nathaniel Erskine-Smith also kept his downtown Toronto seat in Beaches-East York while Patty Hajdu, who served as a cabinet minister in the last government, held on to her Thunder Bay-Superior North seat.

Closer to Ottawa, Liberal Mona Fortier held on to the historically safe seat of Ottawa-Vanier, while David McGuinty kept his seat of Ottawa South and Anita Vandenbeld maintained Ottawa West-Nepean.

Marie-France Lalonde kept the riding of Orleans in Liberal hands after quitting her role as MPP for that same riding provincially last month.

Catherine McKenna, who served as environment minister in the last government, also held on to her Ottawa Centre riding.

Large swathes of the Prairies are seeing a strong Conservative showing, with the party largely sweeping Alberta so far and many parts of Saskatchewan and Manitoba. Of the Conservatives in the West, James Bezan was the first to secure his Manitoba riding of Selkirk-Interlake-Eastman.

The major upset in Saskatchewan came in the defeat of veteran Liberal cabinet minister Ralph Goodale, who had represented Regina-Wascana for 26 years.

Conservative Candice Bergan also kept her Manitoba seat while incumbent Conservatives Larry Maguire, Dan Mazier, Robert Kitchen, Glen Motz, Ted Falk, Cathay Wagantall, John Barlow and Arnold Viersen also kept theirs in that province and in Alberta and Saskatchewan.

The Liberals were locked out of Wild Rose country entirely, losing their Edmonton Centre seat held by Randy Boissonnault as well as Edmonton Mill Woods, which had been held by Amarjeet Sohi, who served as natural resources minister.

They also lost Calgary Centre, which had been held by Kent Hehr, as well as Calgary Skyview, which had been held by Darshan Kang before he was kicked out of the Liberal caucus to sit as an Independent.

Conservatives Shannon Stubbs, Rachael Harder, Mike Lake, Stephanie Kusie, Michael Cooper, Garnett Genuis and Chris Warkentin are also among the incumbents who held on to their Alberta seats, while Bob Zimmer and Todd Doherty maintained their B.C. seats.

Lamoureux represents Winnipeg North while Carr, who served as a cabinet minister in the last government, held on to Winnipeg South Centre.

The NDP’s Niki Ashton also held on to her Manitoba riding of Churchill-Keewatinook Aski as did Daniel Blaikie in Elmwood-Transcona.

The NDP has also kept two seats in B.C. so far: Skeena-Bulkley Valley, which had been represented by long-time NDP MP Nathan Cullen until he announced earlier this year he would not run again, will be held now by Taylor Bachrach, while Jenny Kwan keeps her Vancouver East seat.

But the major headline out of B.C. was the victory of former Liberal attorney general Jody Wilson-Raybould as an Independent candidate.

Wilson-Raybould was removed from her role as attorney general earlier this year and later quit cabinet entirely before being ejected from Trudeau for her role in raising red flags about the SNC-Lavalin scandal during explosive testimony before the House of Commons justice committee.

Harjit Sajjan, who served as Liberal defence minister, kept his seat in Vancouver South while Joyce Murray, who has served as president of the Treasury Board, also kept Vancouver Quadra for the party and Jonathan Wilkinson, the minister of fisheries, maintained his seat in North Vancouver.