The Liberals dominated many battleground Greater Toronto Area ridings – Global News

The Liberals dominated many battleground Greater Toronto Area ridings - Global News
Canadian election results 2019: A riding-by-riding map of the vote
The Liberal Party once again swept the crucial region of the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) during this election, pointing to the role the region plays in determining which party will lead the country.

This includes in the riding of Milton, where star Liberal candidate and Olympic kayaker Adam van Koeverden beat veteran Conservative MP Lisa Raitt. The Liberals also maintained their presence in the core of Toronto, including overcoming tight races against the NDP.

Bethany Lindsay has more than a decade of experience in B.C. journalism, with a focus on the courts, health and social justice issues. She has also reported on human rights and crimes against humanity in Cambodia. Questions or news tips? Get in touch at [email protected] or on Twitter through @bethanylindsay.

Braid: Trudeau minority has to go ahead with Trans Mountain

Over the course of the campaign, party leaders continuously made stops in the dozens of ridings across the GTA.

Overall, there were fewer changes on election night in the Lower Mainland than many other places in Canada: In 20 of 26 electoral districts, the incumbent party — or candidate, in the case of Wilson-Raybould — were leading or elected, with a few close races going late into the night.

The Liberals had the most at stake, having won the majority of the region’s seats during the 2015 election, making them critical to hold onto this time around.

“You can’t become prime minister if you don’t do well in the Greater Toronto Area,” said Myer Siemiatycki on Global News’ West Block on Sunday.

The Liberals kept their seats in Vancouver Centre, Vancouver Quadra, Vancouver South, North Vancouver, West Vancouver-Sunshine Coast-Sea to Sky Country, Burnaby North-Seymour, Delta, Surrey Centre, Surrey-Newton,  Fleetwood-Port Kells and Coquitlam-Port Coquitlam.

In 2011, the GTA went Conservative and that resulted in the party gaining the most seats in Parliament.

The political map for the Lower Mainland turned out to be a colourful one, with blobs of orange, red and blue, plus just a hint of grey in Vancouver Granville, where former cabinet minister Jody Wilson-Raybould held onto her seat as an independent.

Broadly speaking, most GTA riding battles are between the Liberals and the Conservatives, with a few ridings in the Toronto core that come down to fights between the Liberals and the NDP.

Its basically two parties fighting over the same set of voters who have the same concerns, but the parties have quite distinct approaches to addressing those concerns,” Peter Loewen, a political science professor at the University of Toronto, previously told Global News.

“So that makes it an interesting testbed to see which approaches to government are going to be the ones that win out there.

Many Liberal candidates had been touting the Canadian Child Benefit, while defending the Liberal government’s carbon tax as necessary for fostering environmental stewardship.

Conservatives had played up their proposal to do away with the carbon tax, something that is meant to appeal to those who commute to work by car in the region, and other tax cuts.

Thought he is running in a B.C. riding, NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh has deep roots in Brampton, where he served as a provincial MPP, and where his brother currently serves as an MPP. Brampton is crucial because of its five ridings, all of which were won by the Liberal Party in 2015.

There were, however, a few suburban areas where voters decided to switch back to the Conservative Party, following a 2015 election where the Liberals won ridings they historically weren't competitive in.

One of Singh’s first campaign stops was in Brampton, where he promised to build a new hospital in the city, despite the fact that such measures fall under provincial and municipal jurisdiction.

The Liberals and NDP held on to some key seats in Metro Vancouver on election night, while the Conservatives swept  the Fraser Valley, taking back some of their former seats.

And Ontario Progressive Conservative Premier Doug Ford has been a polarizing figure for the region. He’s been relegated to the sidelines during the campaign, not appearing once alongside Scheer, though Alberta Premier Jason Kenney stumped for the Conservatives in the GTA earlier this month.

Wilson-Raybould, at one time the Liberal justice minister, won Vancouver Granville after a tight three-way race with her opponents in the Liberal and Conservative parties.

When Scheer campaigned in Ford’s riding of Etobicoke North, the Premier was nowhere to be seen.

With no single party holding a majority of votes in the House of Commons, longtime Vancouver Centre Liberal Hedy Fry says co-operation will be key for her party.

As the premier has said previously, he wishes all candidates well in the upcoming federal election but he is focused on governing and improving life for the people of Ontario,” a Ford spokesperson told reporters at the time.

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And Trudeau has continuously weaponized the Ford name during campaign speeches, arguing that the priorities of a Scheer government would closely mirror those of Ford, whose tanking popularly has coincided with a number of unpopular budget cuts.

A recent Global News analysis showed that Trudeau has invoked Ford’s name at least as many times than he has mentioned Scheer.

The party also picked up seats from the Liberals in Mission-Matsqui-Fraser Canyon and Pitt Meadows-Maple Ridge.

Hes Premier Bogeyman, Scott Reid, a former adviser to Liberal prime minister Paul Martin, told the Canadian Press. For the Liberals, that means hes a walking, talking, sometimes shouting, example to voters in Ontario of what youll get federally if you vote for Andrew Scheer.

"His determination after the 1972 election not only to govern strongly but also to lay the foundation for a new Liberal majority had a major impact on his administration," John English wrote in his book Just Watch Me, describing how Pierre Trudeau responded to narrowly winning a minority government just four years after Trudeaumania hit. "[F]irst, he was less cautious and more willing to take chances; and second, he considered the expressly political consequences of his government's decisions and actions far more often than he had before."

Alberta conservatives will hate this. But with Andrew Scheer’s Conservatives beaten, the remaining hope for Trans Mountain construction is Justin Trudeau in (limited) power.

On stage in Montreal, he framed the result as a win for a "progressive" agenda and a loss for the Conservative alternative. The parliamentary math likely will require him to regularly satisfy either the Bloc or the NDP, and that may give him licence to lean into that progressive agenda. The Conservatives may go looking for another leader, giving Trudeau more time and room to operate.

There is a view, advanced here sometimes, that a minority is disastrous because the NDP, Greens and/or Bloc Quebecois will force Trudeau to abandon Trans Mountain.

With less than half of the seats, Trudeau's Liberals will have to keep angling and negotiating to win each day in the House of Commons. With just four seats between Thunder Bay and the Rocky Mountains, the Liberals will be newly challenged by questions about the restive West. And suddenly, the Bloc Québécois is a significant presence again.

But on Monday, the vast majority of Canadians cast a moderate vote on both pipelines and climate policy. Trudeau will ignore that at his peril.

He may have saved his campaign, and his government, by responding to the blackface photos as he did: standing in a public square in Winnipeg and taking every question the travelling press corps could muster. And he closed this campaign with a flourish, significantly buoyed by the endorsement of his old friend, Barack Obama.

The NDP lost 15 seats from their 2015 total. The Greens gained one, for a total of three — hardly the grand breakthrough.

Four years ago, that might have seemed entirely inevitable. But as recently as a week ago it seemed very possible that the Liberals were going to finish in second place. A month ago — when those images of the "Arabian Nights" gala in 2001 were published — it seemed like Trudeau might be finished entirely.

The Conservatives won 26 more seats than they had at dissolution. The Liberals lost 20. Even Saskatchewan Liberal icon Ralph Goodale went down.

The first four years of Justin Trudeau's government might suggest a need to both take more chances and take more care — to move more aggressively on policy, but to be more mindful of the political damage that can be done when you aren't careful about what you do and how you run your government.

The Conservatives are all in for the pipeline. And the Liberals, we must remember, still say they will build Trans Mountain and put all the profits into green energy. They did buy the thing for $4.5 billion.

The next act of Trudeau's remarkable political career will depend on what he takes away from the experiences of the last five weeks and the previous four years — how he chooses to apply himself and what he has learned to the challenges that this election result lays out before him.

During the campaign, Trudeau kept stressing that point, even as he neglected to blast the hostile Green and NDP policies.

The "what ifs" that hang in the air could fill a few chapters in a book. What if Trudeau had just worn a suit when he went to India? What if he hadn't shuffled Jody Wilson-Raybould from the justice portfolio? What if he'd admitted to the blackface photo three years ago?

Composite photo of NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh and Green Party Leader Elizabeth May during the first leaders debate of the campaign, on Sept. 12, 2019. Frank Gunn/Pool via Reuters

The Greens and NDP got 21 per cent of the popular vote. If you throw in the pipeline-hating Bloc Quebecois, the total is just over 30 per cent.

By those recent standards, this is an incredible victory for the Liberal Party. By any measure, a victory is preferable to the alternative. This one will have seismic impacts on the short-term and long-term future of federal policy in this country — not least for climate policy.

And so, in a general way, the two big parties that favour the pipeline got well over double the support of the much smaller parties that oppose it.

He should now resolve to stop doing that — but it has to be acknowledged that Trudeau has come through on multiple occasions when the odds did not seem to be in his favour. His resilience — or the durability of his connection with the public — should not be underestimated.

By the numbers, Jagmeet Singh’s NDP now has the perfect number of seats to support the Liberals in a minority.

The Liberals got 155. Backing from the 25 New Democrats would put them comfortably over the 170-vote majority hurdle.

And Bloc Quebecois Leader Yves-Francois Blanchet, whose party won 32 seats, said clearly that the Liberals should stay in power.

The cabinet that Trudeau brought into this election is almost entirely intact, but it has lost its most experienced and steadiest member: Ralph Goodale. Someone with Goodale's knowledge and skill would have been particularly valuable in a minority situation.

The conventional thinking is that Singh or Blanchet would make a deal with Trudeau to support the Liberals, perhaps including a condition to stop the pipeline.

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

But don’t forget the Conservatives. If the pipeline was at stake in a vote, they might very well back the Liberals. They should, if their interest is the economy rather than just power.

Aaron Wherry has covered Parliament Hill since 2007 and has written for Maclean's, the National Post and the Globe and Mail. He is the author of Promise & Peril, a book about Justin Trudeau's years in power.

The other factor is exhaustion. No party will want a quick election, least of all the NDP, which will be flat broke. The small parties have far less fundraising capacity to rebound quickly, especially when they lost ground in campaigns.

Every election is a cause for reflection and a chance to start again. Canadians have not chosen to start on an entirely new direction. But Trudeau will have a chance to think about how he moves forward.

There is another tactic for running a minority government. In 1979, Progressive Conservative prime minister Joe Clark called it governing like a majority.

In 1972, Pierre Trudeau turned to Allan MacEachen, the masterful House leader, to keep the Liberal government moving. Justin Trudeau could use someone like that. Goodale might have been that someone.

It didn’t work for Clark because of clumsy handling. The Liberals defeated his budget because of government failure to round up MPs at a crucial moment. Pierre Trudeau went on to thump the PCs in the 1980 election.

Managed well, though, governing like a majority can work. Former prime minister Stephen Harper did it through two minorities, making no deals but adroitly stickhandling legislation. Then he finally won his majority in 2011.

Today, Justin Trudeau is close enough to a majority — 14 seats short — that he could play this same game with some public legitimacy. The next federal election may be two years off.

Now, what would happen if Trudeau were to bow to the NDP (and the wishes of Singh’s Burnaby riding) and cancel the pipeline, or just let it fade away?

First, he would face a tremendous uproar from the Conservatives, who would do everything in their power to force an election.

Trudeau would damage his party by blowing up his entire energy transition and green growth strategy. He would waste $4.5 billion in public funds. He would look like both a fraud and a patsy for minority opinion.

Trudeau will have a fight in his caucus. Newly elected Montreal Liberal Stephen Guilbeault, a founder of the Quebec environmental outfit Equiterre, called Monday night for scrapping Trans Mountain.

But if Trudeau does that, he’ll be going against the great majority who voted Monday night. Just try it.