Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s Liberal Party has won enough seats to secure him a second four-year term following a contentious election cycle — but is expected lose his majority in Parliament.
Liberals won 157 seats in Monday’s election with 33.1 percent of the vote — nearly 6 million ballots. Andrew Scheer’s Conservative Party won 121 seats and a 34.5 percent share, or 6.1 million votes.
Trudeau, in Montreal, thanked supporters and staff Tuesday for the victory.
“You did it, my friends. Congratulations,” he said. “From coast to coast to coast tonight, Canadians rejected division and negativity. They rejected cuts and austerity and they voted in favor of a progressive agenda and strong action on climate change.”
U.S. President Donald Trump was quick to congratulate Trudeau on Twitter for a “wonderful and hard-fought victory.”
“Canada is well served,” Trump said. “I look forward to working with you toward the betterment of both of our countries!”
Going into the election, CBC’s Poll Tracker gave the Liberals a slight edge of 32 to 31.6 percent over the Conservative Party. Conservatives made substantial gains Monday, earning some 20 seats more than they did in 2015.
However, Trudeau’s win falls below the 170 seats needed for a majority and is a loss of 30 seats from the 2015 election when he rode into power on charisma, good looks and promises of re-liberalizing Canada’s image that had been pulled right under the Conservatives’ rule.
The source of Trudeau’s losses Monday could be his image was tarnished shortly after the campaign began in September, when the first of three photos emerged showing him in brownface and wearing a turban.
“This is something I shouldn’t have done many years ago,” he said of an old yearbook photo. “I take responsibility for my decision to do that. I didn’t think it was racist at the time. I now realize it was.”
Candidates attacked Trudeau for it, including Scheer, who has repeatedly stated he won’t walk in Toronto’s LGBT Pride Parade. Scheer, 40, has also faced scandal during this campaign, coming under scrutiny for being a dual citizen with a U.S. passport. When questioned why he never mentioned his U.S. citizenship, he replied, “No one’s ever asked me before about it.” He has since said he will renounce the citizenship he received through his U.S.-born father.
In his concession speech Tuesday, Scheer said voters sent a message to Trudeau and his Liberal Party.
“While tonight’s result isn’t what we wanted, I am also incredibly proud — proud of our team, proud of our campaign and proud of the bigger and stronger Conservative team that we will send to Ottawa,” he said. “Tonight, Conservatives have put Justin Trudeau on notice, and Mr. Trudeau, when your government falls, Conservatives will be ready and we will win.”
The minor but strong conservative Quebec party, the Bloc Quebecois, gained about twice as many seats (32) as it did in the last vote. Elizabeth May’s Green Party won three and the Independent Party one. The left-wing New Democrat Party, led by Jagmeet Singh, took a substantial hit after winning 44 seats four years ago.
“Thank you, Canada,” Singh tweeted early Tuesday. “What a night — and what an unforgettable journey this campaign has been. With our new NDP caucus in Ottawa, I’m incredibly excited to continue our critical work to achieve the priorities that we’ve heard from people across this country.”ۆ