Justin Trudeau won the Canadian election, at a price

OTTAWA – One day after an election that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau called a “pivotal moment” in his country’s history, Canada appears...


OTTAWA – One day after an election that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau called a “pivotal moment” in his country’s history, Canada appears to be back to square one.

Mr. Trudeau won a slim victory Monday after voters surrendered in record numbers, but his Liberal Party’s power share in parliament remains virtually the same as in the last session of parliament. The same goes for all the other parties.

It helps explain why some Canadians call it an election that leads nowhere.

And the winner may turn out to be the loser. Critics say the vote may have undermined Mr. Trudeau’s credibility and reinforced the idea among many Canadians that he is a political opportunist.

“His job is secure, but I still think he comes out diminished in the end,” said Andrew McDougall, professor of political science at the University of Toronto.

When Mr. Trudeau called the 36 day campaign – the shortest allowed by law – in August he said he needed a strong mandate to bring the pandemic to heel and lead the country towards economic recovery.

Mr. Trudeau never explicitly acknowledged that he hoped to increase his popularity from the government’s handling of the pandemic to a majority in Parliament. But he never denied it either.

Yet some questioned both the timing of the election and the necessity.

Prominent Liberals, including his friend and former political adviser Gerald Butts, argued that Mr. Trudeau had never presented a convincing argument that a minority parliament had prevented him from achieving his legislative goals, especially his legislative goals. major spending programs linked to the pandemic. While the opposition delayed some of Mr. Trudeau’s measures, the only bill he introduced that did not pass was the bills still pending when Parliament was dissolved at the behest of vote of Mr. Trudeau.

Anger against the Prime Minister decision to call an election followed him throughout the campaign. Apathy too.

Several polls have found that few voters pay much attention, especially before Labor Day when it appears much of the nation’s attention has turned to beaches, boats and barbecues. .

Although the election was the costliest in Canadian history – it cost CAN $ 600 million – voter turnout, which is expected to remain unchanged when the final results are released, was 58.44%, the lowest ever.

During the campaign itself, Mr. Trudeau struggled to find an issue that clearly sets him apart from his closest rival, Erin O’Toole.

The first Conservative leader of Ontario, the most populous province, in more than half a century, Mr. O’Toole drafted a new platform for his party that, on many key issues, was no different from that of Mr. Trudeau only by its scope and detail. Then, when it emerged during the campaign that Mr. Trudeau was gaining ground by condemning a Conservative pledge to repeal the Liberals’ ban on 1,500 assault rifle models, Mr. O’Toole abandoned him, so conditionally.

Mr. Trudeau was also unable to move forward in defending his climate change measures, including this implementation of a national carbon tax, to its advantage.

Before the campaign, record heat waves descended in parts of western Canada, bringing death and uncontrollable Forest fires, including one who consumed a city ​​in British Columbia. He put climate change higher on the list of concerns of Canadian voters.

But in an effort to attract moderate voters to the Conservative Party, Mr. O’Toole dropped his long-standing opposition to carbon taxes, which had been driven by the party’s power base in Alberta, the homeland of the oil sands. Mr. O’Toole released a carbon tax proposal as part of a climate package.

This undermined Mr. Trudeau’s efforts to argue that the Conservatives did not have a credible plan to mitigate climate change.

“The Conservative Party presented a more ambitious platform than in 2019, in part to remove that from the agendaSaid Kathryn Harrison, professor of political science at the University of British Columbia.

At the end of the campaign, Mr. O’Toole gave Mr. Trudeau an opening, and Mr. Trudeau jumped on it. The Conservative leader has voiced his opposition to Trudeau’s mandatory vaccination and passport vaccination plans, a position well outside what polls show is the Canadian consensus.

“Trudeau tried to use the vaccination warrants as a wedge, and it worked quite effectively,” said Duane Bratt, a political scientist at Mount Royal University in Halifax.

But maybe not efficiently enough.

While the final results are in a few days, the The Liberals held 158 seats, just one more than the one they dated after the 2019 vote – and well below the 170 seats needed to control Parliament. The Conservatives won 119 votes, two less than before.

The Conservatives won a symbolic victory: they won the majority of the popular vote. But the concentration of Conservative support in places like Alberta meant that did not translate into the most seats.

New Democrats under Jagmeet Singh, which Mr. Trudeau will still need to govern, won a new seat and now has 25. The Bloc Québécois came out with 34 seats, a gain of two.

With a roughly the same distribution of power as before, Mr. Trudeau will be forced to govern as he did in the last session of Parliament.

Center-left New Democrats are likely to try to push Trudeau to pass some of their proposals in exchange for their votes. But Mr. Singh’s powers are limited. His only alternative if he is pushed back would be to force the downfall of the government – and another election – or to support the conservatives, his ideological opponents.

The Bloc Québécois could also support certain Liberal bills. But Mr. Trudeau will not court the support of the group, which defends the independence of Quebec.

While Mr. Trudeau and the Liberals will return to Parliament a little more tired, there is no indication that anyone in the party is considering challenging his leadership, even in the aftermath of what has turned out to be an election at best. poorly designed. call.

Mr. Trudeau is the son of Pierre Elliott Trudeau, the famous – and famous polarizer – Liberal Prime Minister. When the young Trudeau took the reins, the party had ruled Canada longer than any other, but had fallen to third place. Many political commentators had put him under surveillance.

The 2015 election.

The young Mr. Trudeau, who remains Canada’s greatest political celebrity, not only revived the party, but unexpectedly propelled it to power by a wide margin.

The result, said Lori Turnbull, who teaches political science at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia, is that by 2021 the Liberal Party is under the absolute control of Justin Trudeau. His political brand and his personal brand have become one and the same.

“Loyalty to the party is really loyalty to it, which is going to be really difficult when people start to think about who will be the successor,” Ms. Turnbull said. “But right now, if you’re part of that movement, then you’re all-in with it.”

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Newsrust - US Top News: Justin Trudeau won the Canadian election, at a price
Justin Trudeau won the Canadian election, at a price
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