Wed, 03 Jun 2020

A weakened Prime Minister Justin Trudeau set out on Tuesday to secure the support of smaller parties he will need to form a government after winning Canada's nail-biter general election but falling short of a majority.

Trudeau's Liberals took 157 seats in the 338-member House of Commons, down from a comfortable majority of 184 in the last ballot (and from 177 at the dissolution of parliament), official results showed.

The standard-bearer for progressivism will now have to seek some kind of accommodation with the Bloc Quebecois or the New Democratic Party (NDP) to consolidate his position.

WATCH | Canada's Trudeau admits to racist 'brownface' makeup

Before launching talks with their leaders Trudeau greeted people at a subway station in Montreal and posed for selfies.

He was scheduled to address the nation on Wednesday.


On Monday evening Trudeau received congratulations from US President Donald Trump and on Tuesday from European Council President Donald Tusk.

"From coast to coast to coast, tonight Canadians rejected division and negativity," Trudeau said in his victory speech.

"And they rejected cuts and austerity and voted in favor of a progressive agenda and strong action on climate change."

The win, after a horse race with the Tories, was a vindication for Trudeau, amid a campaign in which his Liberals lost support across Canada.

Going into the elections his golden-boy image had already been damaged by ethics lapses in the handling of the bribery prosecution of engineering giant SNC-Lavalin. His popularity took a further hit with the emergence during the campaign of old photographs of him in blackface makeup.

The scandals, which also included his bullying of his attorney general, could still be investigated by federal police.

Defeated Conservative leader Andrew Scheer warned that Canada's oil sector, which is struggling with low prices and a lack of pipeline capacity, is "under attack" from climate activists and government policies.

He said the environmental protections of the Trudeau Liberals, who campaigned for tougher climate action, could be further devastating.


Trudeau "must be willing to change course, to stop his attacks on the energy sector, and to recognise when western Canada succeeds all of Canada succeeds," said Scheer.

The Conservatives won 121 seats but beat the Liberals in the popular vote, taking 34.4% to their 33.1%.

Although Trudeau did better than expected, Scheer issued a warning to the prime minister, saying Canadians had "passed judgement" on him and the Liberals.

"We have put him on notice, his leadership is damaged and his government will end soon and when that time comes, the Conservatives will be ready and we will win!"

Trudeau, a 47-year-old former school teacher, dominated Canadian politics over the four years of his first term, but faced a grilling during the 40-day election campaign, which he described as one of the "dirtiest and nastiest" in Canadian history.

Yves-Francois Blanchet, head of the Bloc Quebecois, a down-and-out party that scored a big comeback on Monday, said he could work with the new government if the interests of French-speaking Quebec are preserved.

"Our top consideration is Quebec," said Blanchet, whose party will have 32 seats in the next parliament.

"We will do things on a case-by-case basis. If it helps Quebec, we'll be in favor. If it doesn't, we won't," he said.

Sign up for Europe News

a daily newsletter full of things to discuss over drinks.and the great thing is that it's on the house!