First Past the Post-er Boy: The Loss of Trudeau’s Majority

Canada’s 2019 federal election review

Megan Amato // Associate News Editor
Sam Barnes // Photographer

Tensions were high during election night on Oct. 21 as party leaders gave their last campaign speeches and waited for the results to come in. After ballots were counted across the nation, it would be announced that Justin Trudeau’s Liberal Cabinet had won a minority government in a tight race against Andrew Scheer’s Conservative’s. 

Several scandals marred Trudeau’s election campaign from the SNC-Lavalin Affair to his party’s $4.5 billion purchase of the Trans Mountain Pipeline, and more recently, the photos that resurfaced of Justin Trudeau in brown face. Despite communities across Canada losing faith in the Liberal Party, they managed to win 157 seats to the Conservative’s 121, but lost the popular vote. The polls have shown a more pronounced division across Canada when compared to the last election when the Liberal’s won a majority and the popular vote.

This discontentment perhaps is the cause of resurgence from the Bloc Québécois who gained 22 extra seats in this election, becoming the third largest party with NDP just behind. Green Party gained one seat—in New Brunswick—to total three seats and one independent seat was kept in Vancouver’s South Granville riding. To stabilize the government, the Liberals will have to gain the support from NDP or Bloc Québécois despite some opposing policies.

“I hope that [a Liberal minority] allows for smaller parties such as the NDP and Green Party to have a bigger voice in parliament, where issues such as the Opioid Crisis in Vancouver, the Climate Crisis, and the Clean Water Crisis facing indigenous communities across Canada can gain support,” said biology student Kaileigh Bunting. “I hope that this new government will take the needs of this next generation seriously, and enact meaningful change in the years to come.” 

Most of British Columbia has historically been an NDP riding but the party lost three seats in BC and 15 total across the country despite early predictions supporting a rise in votes for the party and their leader, Jagmeet Singh. The Conservatives won many seats across BC—mainly in the east—gaining eight more seats than the previous election. The divide between the NDP and Conservative’s politics has the potential to cause serious contention regarding controversial BC issues such as pipelines running from Alberta through BC and the Carbon Tax. 

The loss of NDP seats wasn’t the only surprise of the evening as many felt blindsided by the Bloc Québécois surge in votes. “It was definitely a shock, considering that most thought that the Bloc was a horse on its last legs, so to say. So it will be interesting to see how Quebec’s identity comes into play during the next term,” said CapU student Nirosh Saravanan.

Another surprise was that Jody Wilson-Raybould managed to keep her seat in the Vancouver Granville riding as an independent. Wilson-Raybould had previously been the representative for that region under the Liberal’s but after the SNC-Lavalin scandal she resigned and began running under Independant this May.

The results of this election has voiced dissatisfaction from many regions and communities across Canada. Like Saravanan, some had hoped to see more of an NDP turnout this election, while separation movement’s like Wexit continue to gain momentum in Alberta and in parts of the west. Indigninous communities across Canada are also becoming increasingly disillusioned with the Liberal government’s lacklustre effort to fulfill previous election promises.

“The main fear for me is the division of Canadian identity and dissatisfaction with the federal government,” Saravanan added when asked about his fears about the future. “With growing tensions between provinces and the federal government, it becomes harder and harder to see that we’re in this together.”

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