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Canadian Federal Election 2019

In what was not an unexpected result, Canada has re-elected a Liberal government under Justin Trudeau for a second term, albeit as a minority government, despite the popular vote, indicating the Conservatives got the most votes.

The Liberals have been re-elected to a strong minority government of 157 seats, just under the 170 seat requirement to form a majority government. The Liberals were down by 20 from the 177 MPs at dissolution. It is to be seen whether or not the Grits will be able to form a coalition government with the New Democratic Party (NDP) or the Bloc Québecois. Andrew Scheer has gained a modest number of seats, albeit not enough to cobble together a minority government with 121 seats, up by 26 seats from 95 MPs at dissolution. Jagmeet Singh and the NDP have sunken to their lowest low since the 2011 “orange wave” in Parliament, dropping to fourth place in terms of seat count from 39 seats to 24 seats, despite a seemingly strong showing in the National English Leaders Debate. Yves-François Blanchet and the Bloc Quebecois have surged in votes, tripling their seat count in Parliament from 10 seats at dissolution to 32 seats, mostly at the expense of the Liberals and the NDP in Quebec. The Greens have gained their first seat on the East Coast, with Jenica Atwin becoming MP for Fredericton, bumping their seat count up to 3 seats. The People’s Party have lost all representation in Parliament, losing their sole seat in the house.

In an upset win, Jody Wilson-Raybould was reelected in her riding of Vancouver Granville as an independent. Raybould had been the former Attorney General under the Liberal banner until her expulsion from the Liberal Party after the breaking of the SNC Lavalin affair, in which Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Privy Council Clerk Michael Wernick allegedly pressured Raybould to enter into a deferred prosecution agreement with the SNC Lavalin engineering firm. The other victim of the Lavalin affair was not able to get re elected through, with former President of the Treasury Board Jane Philpot losing Markham-Stouffville to the Liberals.

Another notable contentious race was that of Milton, which pitted the Liberal candidate, Olympic gold medalist kayaker Adam Van Koeverden, with the Conservative incumbent Lisa Raitt, deputy leader of the Conservative Party and a notable member of the progressive faction of the Conservative Party. Raitt ultimately lost the riding in a close race to Van Koeverden.

Several well-known MPs have been reelected in their ridings: Catherine McKenna, Minister of the Environment; Chrystia Freeland, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Member for Toronto Centre; Bill Morneau, Minister of Finance; Michelle Rempel, MP for Calgary Nose Hill; and Pierre Poilievre, MP for Carleton.

In addition, many notable parliamentarians have been defeated, including the only Liberal incumbent in Alberta, Amarjeet Sohi, and long-time Regina MP, Ralph Goodale. Finally, Maxime Bernier, leader of the right-wing populist People’s Party, was defeated in his own riding of Beauce, a riding held by Bernier since 2006 and held by his father from 1984-1997.

The results of the elections show that the Liberals were not massively hurt by the SNC Lavalin affair or the blackface scandal, though they did lose ground to a resurgent Bloc in the crucial, seat-dense Quebec. As with most minority governments, this one is likely not to last more than a year, likely falling when the next or next-to-next budget is introduced. Justin Trudeau is likely to suffer from more opposition, as many opposition parties have made their position clear on many issues, disagreeing with the Grits. The Conservatives made gains in Alberta, British Columbia and Saskatchewan while maintaining or losing slightly in Ontario and Quebec, mainly to Liberals. Andrew Scheer’s leadership of the Party is likely to be questioned due to this abysmal performance, especially since the Tories raised far more money than the other parties, and due to his personal views, which are more socially conservative. The NDP suffered massively in this election, mostly due to the surging Bloc. It remains to be seen whether or not Jagmeet Singh will survive as leader of the NDP, seeing as he has, like his predecessor Thomas Mulcair, presided over a massive loss in seats – from the once historic 103 seats won in the 2011 orange wave to the 24 they won this time around. The Bloc are the real winners in this election, tripling their seat count in Parliament, mostly due to a softening of the sovereigntism and shifting to a more ‘Quebec interests’ platform. The Bloc have now gained official party status in Parliament, which grants them access to various committees and the right to ask the questions during the all-important Question Period. The Greens made a modest gain of one seat, although have failed to win more seats in the Green-friendly lower mainland region of British Columbia and on Vancouver Island.

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