Canadas Trudeau clings to power; must court left after losing popular vote – Reuters Canada

Canada\s Trudeau clings to power; must court left after losing popular vote - Reuters Canada
Canadian election results 2019: A riding-by-riding map of the vote
OTTAWA (Reuters) – Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau hung onto power after a tight election on Monday that saw his government reduced to a minority, results that will likely push his agenda to the left while alienating energy producing provinces.

Liberal leader and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau reacts beside his wife Sophie Gregoire Trudeau after the federal election at the Palais des Congres in Montreal, Quebec, Canada October 22, 2019. REUTERS/Carlo AllegriTrudeau, one of the world’s most prominent progressive politicians, struggled domestic scandals. He now looks set to govern with support from the left-leaning New Democrats, who have 24 seats.

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.

His Liberals did not win any seats in the oil-rich provinces of Alberta and Saskatchewan. The party was leading or elected in 157 seats, a decrease of 20, preliminary results showed.

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.

Minority governments in Canada rarely last more than 2-1/2 years. Although the New Democrats lost 16 seats, leader Jagmeet Singh is positioned to press for action on priorities such as more social spending and increased action on climate change.

One senior Liberal noted that many legislators need to serve another two years to meet the six-year requirement for a Parliamentary pension.

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.

“That gives us a pretty free hand for that period,” said the Liberal, who requested anonymity given the sensitivity of the matter.

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

The New Democrats struck deals to help keep Liberal minority governments in power from 1972-1974 and in 2005.[L2N277069]

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.

The Canadian dollar weakened 0.2% to 1.3120 per U.S. dollar, or 76.22 U.S. cents, as investors worried about how the minority government would manage the resource sector. Canada’s main stock index edged higher at the open.

Trudeau visited Montreal’s subway, posing for selfies with commuters early on Tuesday, an echo of 2015 when he did the same thing.

This win was different. But Trudeau barely mentioned the loss of his majority when he spoke to supporters early on Tuesday, saying he had “a clear mandate” for a progressive agenda and more action to combat global warming.

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.

This is unlikely to please the western provinces of Alberta and Saskatchewan, which cast out every Liberal legislator amid anger over what the energy industry sees as overly stringent environmental rules.

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 most prominent victim was Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale, one of Trudeau’s top cabinet members.

Trudeau’s liberal image took a blow early in the campaign when photos emerged of him wearing blackface in the early 1990s and in 2001.

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.

He had already been wrestling with the fallout from accusations he pressured former Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould to help shield engineering firm SNC-Lavalin Group Inc (SNC.TO) from corruption charges. In August, a top watchdog said he had breached ethics rules.

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.

Wilson-Raybould, now an independent member of parliament, retained her seat on Monday, a feat in a country where nearly all legislators are backed by major parties. Former minister Jane Philpott, who also quit cabinet over the affair and ran as an independent, lost her Ontario riding.

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?

Preliminary results gave the Liberals 33.1% of the popular vote, below the opposition Conservatives’ 34.4%.

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

The election was a disappointment for Conservative leader Andrew Scheer, who had sought a majority. With nearly all votes counted on Tuesday morning his party was leading or elected in 121 ridings, up only 24 seats.

Scheer said he would continue to lead the party, but the result looks set to reopen questions about his future. Even before the election, some in the party were speculating about a leadership challenge if he lost.

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.

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

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.

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.

The list of Conservative gains in Ontario from Liberal 2015 wins is short. Two of them are in eastern Ontario (Northumberland-Peterborough South, Hastings-Lennox and Addington). The other is in Aurora-Oak-Ridges-Richmond Hill, where Leona Alleslev retained her seat. This means it's not really a gain, because although she'd won for the Liberals in 2015, she'd crossed the floor, so was running as a Conservative incumbent.

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

Certainly the Liberals felt Ford was providing them with ammunition with which to hammer Scheer. Even Ford knew he was toxic to the Conservative brand. He all but disappeared from public view after late August. He adjourned the legislature until next week (six weeks later than usually scheduled). He took questions from reporters only twice all campaign, in relatively off-the-beaten-track northern locations.

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.

Some say the central Conservative Party campaign failed to support Ontario candidates. "They did nothing for Lisa (Raitt)," a Conservative told me Monday night, asking not to be named to speak candidly about party internal matters. That Conservative also said Scheer failed to present a real vision for why to vote for him, rather than just against Trudeau. 

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 Conservatives not only failed to make the significant gains they needed in Ontario, they also lost a seat they'd held for the past 11 years. Former cabinet minister and leadership candidate Lisa Raitt's loss in Milton to Liberal political newcomer Adam Van Koeverden will reverberate among Conservative circles. 

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.

Justin Trudeau's Liberals barely sustained any damage in Canada's biggest province, with their seat count dropping just one from the 80 they'd won in the last election. Ontario MPs will now make up half of Trudeau's caucus when he returns to Parliament Hill with a minority. 

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.

There's a danger of overstating what's come to be called the "Ford Factor" in this election. But, the popular vote results in Ontario are not in step with the rest of the country, and that certainly could have something to do with provincial politics. 

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.

Some on the ground in Ontario are grumbling about Andrew Scheer and his campaign team. These Conservatives feel Scheer failed to do enough to define himself in Ontario, allowing the Liberals to capture the narrative and define Scheer as a Doug Ford wannabe.  

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 additional seat in New Brunswick.

The NDP also lost a pair of seats in southwestern Ontario, Windsor-Tecumseh and Essex. That reduces the NDP's seat count in this province to just six. 

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

It is a priority for CBC to create a website that is accessible to all Canadians including people with visual, hearing, motor and cognitive challenges.

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

Ontario once again has picked the party that will form the federal government, as it has done now for 13 of the last 14 elections. 

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.

Once in office, he attempted to please both the left and right flanks of Canadas centrist voters and instead irritated suburbanites and environmentalists by at once introducing a carbon tax and buying an oil pipeline. His image was further damaged when his government was found to have pushed for judicial leniency for SNC-Lavalin, a scandal-plagued engineering firm based in the politically crucial province of Quebec.

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

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.

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.

Though Scheers plan to scrap Trudeaus carbon tax was popular in Canadas oil-producing regions, it put him at odds with public opinion across the country. As a result, the party failed to gain momentum in either Quebec or the vote-rich confines of suburban Ontario.

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.

From coast to coast to coast, Canadians rejected division, Trudeau said in his victory speech. We will continue to fight climate change, we will get guns off our streets and we will keep investing in Canadians.

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.

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.

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.

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

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.