The people of Canada went out on October 21 to vote for the next leader of their country. The polls are closed, the votes have been counted, and Canadians have learned that Liberal Party leader Justin Trudeau will continue as their prime minister. Unlike the US, Canada uses the Westminster system, which is based on the British tradition of a parliament and a prime minister as head of government.
Trudeau only won a minority government – can his party survive the pressure from his opponents?
Canada Votes 2019: The Results
Trudeau secured a victory with 157 seats in parliament, losing 29 areas compared to the 2015 election. The Conservatives finished the race with a 121-seat total, but they had expected much bigger gains, especially in the province of Quebec. Prime Minister Trudeau addressed his supporters and promised that his government would fight for all Canadians, not just the ones who voted for him and his party.
The New Democratic Party, led by rookie federal politician Jagmeet Singh, lost 18 seats for a total of 24. Singh told New Democrats that “Canadians have sent a clear message tonight that they want a government that works for them, not the rich and powerful, not for the well-connected.”
The biggest storyline of the evening was the resurgence of the Bloc Quebecois. This group advocates for the French-speaking province of Quebec to separate from the rest of Canada. The separatist party gained 22 seats and is now the third-largest political party with 32 seats.
A Short Leash
Prime Minister Trudeau’s progressive ideas have gained him support with some voters and repelled others. His popularity has declined, in part due to recent scandals in which photos and video footage surfaced showing the prime minister wearing blackface (dark makeup to imitate black or brown-skinned people). He has also been accused of corruption; some people have claimed he tried to stop a criminal investigation into the engineering company SNC-Lavalin.
The Canadian people chose to give Trudeau another shot as prime minister, but with fewer seats in parliament.