Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has won a third term in Canada’s snap election, but fell short of regaining the majority he was seeking, forcing him to rely on smaller parties in another fragmented parliament.
Trudeau’s Liberal Party was elected or leading in 158 of the 338 seats in the House of Commons, with 99 percent of the polls reporting. That is one more seat than he won in the last vote in 2019. The main opposition Conservatives, under Erin O’Toole, won 119 seats, two fewer than last time.
However, the Liberals lost the popular vote to the Conservatives for a second straight election, and won only because of a strong showing in Toronto, Montreal and other cities.
Overall, the result leaves parliament little changed from what it was before Trudeau called the election — a stable minority that gives the prime minister license to continue pursuing a pre-
election big-spending agenda that had already received parliamentary backing earlier this year.
In addition, Trudeau should easily find support in the legislature to press ahead with new campaign pledges, such as raising taxes on financial institutions and imposing stricter emission rules for the oil and gas sector.
“This points to ongoing heavy fiscal support and some upside bias towards wider deficits in the medium term,” Bank of Montreal chief economist Doug Porter said by e-mail. “Of course, since it seems we will be dealing with a minority government, the specifics will remain fluid.”
Other initiatives expected to be brought forward quickly include new regulations that would compel media stream services and social platforms such as Netflix Inc and TikTok Inc to finance and promote Canadian content.
Trudeau had introduced a bill to regulate the sector in the previous parliament that never won passage through the Senate before the election was called.
In his victory speech early yesterday morning in Montreal, Trudeau likened the election result to voters sending parliamentarians “back to work.”
“I hear you when you say you just want to get back to the things you love, and not worry about this pandemic or about an election,” he said.
The Liberal victory is a historic milestone for Trudeau, marking only the eighth time a Canadian leader has won three successive elections. Trudeau’s father, Pierre, also did it.
However, the outcome is also a rebuke of Trudeau’s decision to call a snap election that many Canadians saw as a power grab while the COVID-19 pandemic still rages.
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