Canadas Trudeau retains power in election but will have minority government – Reuters Canada

Canada\s Trudeau retains power in election but will have minority government - Reuters Canada
Canadian election results 2019: A riding-by-riding map of the vote
MONTREAL (Reuters) – Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s Liberals held onto power after a closely fought election on Monday but were reduced to a minority government that will need the support in Parliament of a smaller left-leaning party.

Liberal leader and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his wife Sophie Gregoire Trudeau wave to supporters after the federal election at the Palais des Congres in Montreal, Quebec, Canada October 22, 2019. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri The vote showed a deeply divided country with the defeated Conservatives winning the popular vote, while a resurgent separatist Bloc Quebecois made big strides in the mainly French-speaking province of Quebec.

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.

The Liberals had won or were leading in 156 out of 338 seats in Monday’s vote, according to Elections Canada. That put the Liberals far short of the 170 seats needed for a second straight majority government.

Video: What happens if election ends with minority government

“You did it, my friends. Congratulations,” Trudeau told supporters in Montreal early on Tuesday, speaking as his main opponents were giving concession speeches.

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.

Trudeau, who took power in 2015 as a charismatic figure promising “sunny ways,” saw his popularity drop over old photos of him in blackface and his handling of a corporate corruption case. He will now have to rely on the New Democratic Party (NDP) to push through key legislation.

Video: Justin Trudeaus Liberal Party projected to form minority govt

Although the NDP had a disappointing night, with the 24 seats it had won or was leading in down sharply from the 2015 election when it won 44, the party could exercise significant influence over Trudeau’s next government.

“I think a Liberal government supported by the NDP is likely going to lean farther left,” said John Manley, a former Liberal finance minister who now works in the private sector.

Final dash: The leaders were leaving nothing to chance over the weekend. After a marathon journey on Saturday that took Justin Trudeau from Niagara Falls, Ont. to Calgary, he finished in B.C. urging voters to stick with the Liberals lest they open the door to a Conservative government. Andrew Scheer, also in B.C. Sunday, touted his campaign’s success with its message of “hope” and reminded voters that he isn’t just a smiling Stephen Harper. Meanwhile NDP leader Jagmeet Singh, also in B.C., appealed to young voters — “Hey I respect you, I value you and I want your input” — and those Liberal fence sitters who might get cold feet about switching their vote.

Video: Liberal supporters react as Canadas Trudeau set to hold onto power | AFP

“It raises a series of issues about what are the demands that an NDP party would make. What’s the price of governing going to be? I think businesses are going to be reluctant to make any moves until they get some satisfaction around that.”

A Liberal Minority Government

told him his party would be “working hard to deliver on making sure we deliver the priorities that Canadians have.”

Expect more energy executives to speak openly about Alberta going it alone, confident the provinces wealth is better hoarded within its boundaries than shared with Canada. Before the vote, the CEO of the $1.5-billion Calgary firm Whitecap Resources urged workers to share a letter arguing that a separatist movement becomes real the day after a Liberal win. More will want to leave if we continue to be exploited for our revenue and vilified for our industry, says the letter, published by left-leaning website Press Progress.

Ahead of the vote, opinion polls showed a tight race between Trudeau and his main rival, Conservative leader Andrew Scheer.

“Tonight we have put him on notice,” Scheer said in Regina, Saskatchewan, of Trudeau. “His leadership is damaged and his government will end soon and when that time comes, we will be ready and we will win.

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Trudeau, 47, who has championed diversity as prime minister, was endorsed by former U.S. President Barack Obama in the final stretch of the campaign and is viewed as one of the last remaining progressive leaders among the world’s major democracies.

“I am happy we have a minority Liberal government as opposed to Conservative. I think having a strong NDP presence in the house means that there is going to be a progressive element,” she said. Issa says for her and her community Quebec’s Bill 21 was top of mind for the federal election.

But the son of the late Liberal Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau also had to overcome a sense of fatigue with his government.

“I think a minority government is good for democracy. I think it will force all parties to work together,” said Ronny Al-Nosir with Quebec’s Force Juenesse, or Youth Force, a group of young people working to “defend and improve intergenerational equity in public policy”.

U.S. President Donald Trump, whose relationship with Trudeau has been testy at times, congratulated him “on a wonderful and hard fought victory” via Twitter.

The second term allows the Liberal leader to cement one of the most left-leaning agendas the country has seen in at least a generation — progressive on social issues, willing to run deficits to tackle income disparities, assertive on climate change and fervently internationalist in an era of populism. The push to the left would be accelerated if the Liberals are forced to team up with the NDP — an alliance that will produce some trepidation in Canadas energy sector, already saddled with reduced oil prices due to pipeline bottlenecks. Trudeau can also turn to other parties for support on a vote-by-vote basis.

The Bloc Quebecois saw its support jump in Quebec, the only place where the separatist party contests elections. It was elected or ahead in 32 seats, more than three times what the party won in 2015.

Hes also now overseeing a more divided nation than the one he inherited. The results exposed a stark regional divide. The Conservatives — which have championed the oil sector — were on pace to finish second with at least 122 districts, with the bulk of those in the four western provinces. The Bloc Quebecois are on pace to finish with 32 districts, more than triple their tally from 2015. The Liberals won only 15 seats west of Ontario.

“Dear Quebecers, I heard your message tonight,” said Trudeau, who also addressed voters in two western provinces where Liberals were shut out of seats.

“To Canadians in Alberta and Saskatchewan, know that you are an essential part of our great country. I’ve heard your frustration and I want to be there to support you. Let us all work hard to bring our country together,” he said.

It also may mean Trudeau will need to ramp up spending marginally more than promised. The Liberals pledged to increase the government deficit to $27.4 billion next year to fund new campaign promises, bringing it above one per cent of gross domestic product for the first time since 2012. Thats even before any new measures needed to accommodate requests from the NDP to win their support.

Toronto and surrounding area key to Liberal electoral victory

The Greens, who have assailed Trudeau for not doing enough to combat climate change, also made gains on Monday.

“Markets don’t like uncertainty so it will all depend on what coalition they can come up with and how sustainable that will become,” said Greg Taylor, portfolio manager at Purpose Investments in Toronto.

“The bigger problem is it seems that Canadians have never been more divided and the next government really needs to work to correct that. Alberta is at risk of a broader separatist movement and that would be a major negative for Canada.”

Two Liberal Cabinet ministers lost their seats in western Canada, including veteran Ralph Goodale, the public safety minister. Anger at Trudeau has mounted in the oil-producing region over federal environmental policies that the energy industry says will harm output.

The oil industry’s top lobbying group has blamed Trudeau’s policies for throttling investment in the sector, and some global energy companies have shed assets in the oil sands region of Alberta, the country’s main oil-producing province.

Tories, NDP and Greens score wins in Atlantic Canada, but Liberals hold fast

Canada’s economy, however, has been on a general upswing in 2019. The Canadian dollar has been the best-performing G10 currency this year, rising more than 4% against its U.S. counterpart, as the economy added jobs at a robust pace and inflation stayed closed to the Bank of Canada’s 2% target.

Trudeau could also turn to the Bloc in his search for votes in the House of Commons. But doing a deal with a separatist party would open Trudeau up to criticism that he is willing to get into bed with a party committed to breaking the country up.

The six-week official campaign period was a rough and meandering ride with dirty tactics on both sides in the G7 country.

The liberal image of Trudeau, whose father opened the country to mass immigration, took a severe blow when pictures emerged early in the campaign of him wearing blackface in the early 1990s and in 2001.

Trudeau had already been wrestling with the fallout from accusations he pressured his justice minister to help shield engineering firm SNC-Lavalin Group Inc from corruption charges. In August, a top watchdog said Trudeau breached ethics rules.

Scheer also proved to be a determined opponent, although his hopes for a major breakthrough were dashed.

The first is the road to a coalition, which would include some NDP ministers in a Trudeau Liberal government (Don Davies would be an excellent minister of health). Trudeaus father, Pierre, offered that to the NDP in 1980 because he had no seats west of Winnipeg and wanted NDP support for his constitutional patriation and Charter of Rights and Freedoms. The NDP turned him down but did leverage a better charter and recognition of aboriginal rights for their support.

He had promised to balance the federal budget and eliminate a “carbon tax” on fossil fuels.

A couple of months ago, as an old NDP warhorse, I was asked to do a fundraising pitch in Penticton for NDP MP Richard Cannings right after Singh spoke. Looking at a smiling leader I told the audience that, like a lot of Canadians, I didnt know Jagmeet Singh but his speech zeroing in on two topics, climate change and pharmacare, appealed to young and old nicely.

“The Tories made a fundamental mistake by being opposed to the carbon tax,” said Hugh Segal, who was chief of staff to former Conservative Prime Minister Brian Mulroney.

Negotiating such a document would be tough but possible, despite the Liberals reputation for arrogance towards the opposition in the day-to-day House business. Its worked in B.C. to get an agreed-on climate change policy and has given us a degree of stability, which Canadians crave these days. As far as I know its never been done federally.

“I’ve often heard it said the worst mistake a party can make is to get sucked into its own low expectations of the population,” he said.

Reporting by Nelson Wyatt in Montreal, David Ljunggren and Steve Scherer in Ottawa, Moira Warburton, Fergal Smith and Anna Mehler Paperny in Toronto and Nathan Meyer in Regina; Writing by Steve Scherer and Paul Simao; Editing by Amran Abocar and Peter Cooney