Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau narrowly won re-election on Monday but failed to secure a majority in parliament, after alienating some voters by calling a snap vote two years early during a fourth wave of the pandemic.
Canadians gave Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s Liberal Party a victory in Monday’s parliamentary elections, but his gamble to win a majority of seats failed and the result was remarkably similar to the election two years ago. The Liberals won the most seats of any party.
The 49-year-old Trudeau channeled the star power of his father, the Liberal icon and late Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau when he first won election in 2015 and has led his party to the top finish in two elections since.
“I hear you when you say you want to get back to the things you love, not to worry about the pandemic or the election,” Trudeau said from Montreal early on Tuesday morning, acknowledging the decision to hold an early election was deeply unpopular. “You have given this government and this parliament clear direction.”
Trudeau took a gamble with his early election call two years ahead of schedule, betting that his handling of the pandemic and Canada’s high vaccination rates would deliver him a stronger mandate to rule after the 2019 vote left him with a minority government.
Preliminary results indicated his Liberals had won or were leading in 156 seats – short of the 170 needed for a parliamentary majority. Erin O’Toole’s opposition Conservatives had 121. The result largely mirrored the outcome of the 2019 election.
Elections Canada, which oversees the vote, had previously warned that some results would take days to be finalized as mail-in ballots are counted.
Opposition leader O’Toole calling the election a “quick power grab” after conceding defeat early on Tuesday. “Five weeks ago, Mr. Trudeau asked for a majority. Tonight, Canadians did not give Mr. Trudeau the majority mandate he wanted. In fact, Canadians sent him back with another minority at the cost of $600m dollars,” he said.
The projected result would leave Trudeau in power to pursue the most left-leaning agenda the country has seen in at least a generation. Even with a minority, the early results suggest the Liberals will have a stable government, which will allow Trudeau to continue with a big-spending agenda that’s largely backed by his government’s most likely partner, the left-leaning New Democratic Party. Both parties also have campaigned, to varying degrees, on higher taxes for businesses and stricter emission rules for the oil and gas sector.
Former U.S. President Barack Obama and ex-Democratic Party nominee Hillary Clinton tweeted support for Trudeau. There wasn’t a Trump endorsement of O’Toole.
Conservative campaign co-chair Walied Soliman said there is no alignment whatsoever between O’Toole and Trumpism. Soliman said earlier in the day holding Trudeau to a minority government would be a win for O’Toole.