After calling for a snap election, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was able to retain his position after a close race.
He was unable to secure a majority of seats in parliament for his party, the Liberal Party.
So far, 98% of votes counted have been counted. These preliminary results indicate the Liberals secured 158 seats, short of their goal of 170. Notably, the Liberals did gain two seats from Alberta, a province known for its oil production.
“The rightwing Conservatives went into the campaign with a fresh face,” noted The Guardian. Veteran Erin O’Toole “only took the party leadership last year. His policies include undoing some of the Liberal party’s green measures, but he has also run a campaign focusing on worker’s rights,”
Conservatives are expected to have 122 seats when the results are finalized.
“Like in 2019, the party is projected to have won the popular vote. But the first-past-the-post system — awarding victory to the candidate with most votes in any given constituency — means that has not translated to seats won,” per the BBC.
Liberals, in fact, typically win support from urban and suburban areas where there are typically more seats.
In addition to the Conservative and the Liberals, there were also candidates from the leftwing New Democrats and the separatist Bloc Québécois, which has power in the electoral system because their support is concentrated in the French-speaking province of Quebec.
Trudeau, 49, has been in power since 2015. He is the son of former Liberal Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau. When the younger Trudeau admitted in 2019 that he had donned blackface years ago, his party slipped into a governmental minority. He called for the election two years ahead of schedule hoping to expand his party’s power.
The election cost some 600 million in Canadian dollars (about $470 million in U.S. dollars) and was the most expensive in the country’s history.
O’Toole suggested it was a waste of time and money.
“Canadians sent him back with another minority at a cost of $600m and deeper divisions in our great country,” he told reporters.
According to Reuters, “polls reported results much more slowly than usual, with some stations forced to limit occupancy due to COVID-19 restrictions. Long lines forced some electors to wait hours to vote in southern Ontario, a critical battleground.”
Trudeau will be reliant on compromises with opposition parties now in order to successfully pass legislation. Minority governments are not unusual in Canada but coalitions are rare.