Following a nasty election campaign in which the Conservatives tried to apply Donald Trump’s dirty tricks to Canadian politics, the true North electorate proved much more savvy.
While the governing Liberals lost their majority in parliament, they won enough seats (157) last night to hold on to power and form a minority government.
The return of Justin Trudeau’s Liberals to Ottawa ran through Ontario, the province with the largest number of seats.
At dissolution, the Liberals had 76 seats in Ontario; last night they won 77.
In Milton, the new suburb just west of Mississauga, delivered a stunning defeat to Conservative Party deputy leader, Lisa Raitt.
Liberal Adam van Koeverden, an Olympic gold medalist, easily defeated Ms. Raitt. The large Pakistani Canadian vote helped put the Liberal candidate in parliament.
In fact, both in Brampton and Mississauga, the Liberals swept all the seats, again thanks to the large Muslim and Pakistani Canadian vote.
In Brampton, the Sikh community also helped the Liberals win dispelling fears that the NDP would eat away into Liberal vote.
The Liberals’ strategy of scaring the electorate in Ontario into not voting for the NDP because it would allow the Conservatives to win, helped.
This was particularly true among Muslims. They voted out of fear, not conscience. That is not good politics.
In Quebec, the second largest province, the story was very different. The Bloc Quebecois took 32 seats, clawing into Liberal and NDP support where both lost several seats.
Most Canadians heaved a sigh of relief that the People’s Party of Canada (PPC), a more extreme version of the Conservatives, did not win a single seat. Its leader, Maxime Bernier also lost his seat in Quebec.
The Conservatives’ failure to garner much support despite increasing their seat total in parliament to 121, has also been welcomed.
Conservative Party leader Andrew Scheer ran a nasty campaign. He made scandalous allegations against the Liberals and the NDP. He even recruited Matthew McBane who had worked on Trump’s campaign.
In the end, that proved insufficient to propel him into power, even in a minority situation.
While the NDP lost a lot of seats (from 42 to 24), most of them in Quebec, their 24-seat total still places them in a good position because of the Liberals’ minority.
With NDP support, the Liberals can stay in power for at least two to three years or longer. NDP leader Jagmeet Singh is clear: he would not support the Conservative platform but is willing to work with the Liberals.
Obviously, there are certain issues that he would demand the Liberals fulfill.
Throughout the campaign, Jagmeet Singh proved himself an able debater as well as maintained a dignified stance.
He refused to indulge in the mudslinging that Conservative leader Scheer was so fond of.
Starting with a disadvantage at the start of the campaign—polls showed NDP support had dropped considerably since the last election—he worked hard and showed clarity during the televised debates.
The party that benefited the most from televised debates was the Bloc Quebecois whose leader, Yves Francois Blanchet, performed well.
As a consequence, he catapulted the party into a commanding position in Quebec with 32 seats, the only province where the party fielded candidates.
The result has also thrown into sharp focus the east-west divide. The Liberals did not win a single seat in Alberta and got only one seat in Saskatchewan.
Justin Trudeau will have to address western alienation but given that it is Conservative territory, he would be pulled by conflicting demands from the NDP and the western provinces.
Election results for 2019
Liberals : 157
Others: 1 (Judy Wilson Reybould)
PPC: 0 (1)