Following Canada’s legislative election, Liberal leader Justin Trudeau appears to be on track to build yet another minority administration. The poll, according to the prime minister, was presented as a referendum on his party’s management of the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to preliminary results released on Tuesday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau‘s Liberal Party is expected to win the most seats in Canada’s emergency election. However, the ruling party fell short of forming a majority government against Erin O’Toole’s Conservatives.
With over 99 percent of ballots counted, Elections Canada showed the Liberals leading in 158 electoral districts and the Conservatives ahead in 119.
Trudeau needed 170 seats to give his party control of the legislature. The outcome, however, only represents a minor improvement for the Liberal Party since the polls in 2019.
The prime minister called the special election to learn how Canadians felt about his handling of the COVID-19 outbreak.
“You are sending us back to work with a clear mandate to get Canada through this pandemic, and to the brighter days ahead,” Trudeau said in an address to his party, adding, “what we’ve seen tonight is that millions of Canadians have chosen a progressive plan,” despite the fact that a minority government was not what he had hoped for.
Trudeau admitted that he would have to collaborate with others.
In his address to supporters in Montreal, he added, “You just want to know that your members of parliament of all stripes will have your back in this crisis.”
The vote, as well as discussion of more voting, caused discord among Canadians, according to Conservative Party leader Erin O’Toole.“Tonight Canadians did not give Mr Trudeau the majority mandate he wanted. In fact, Canadians sent him back with another minority at the cost of $600-million and deeper divisions in our great country.”
Trudeau appears to have heeded the criticism, stating that “Canadians do not want to hear about elections anymore.”
A number of international authorities congratulated the 49-year-old lawmaker on his electoral victory.
“Our partnership has never been closer than the past years.” German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas tweeted in a congratulatory message to Trudeau. “Looking forward to working with you to defend democratic values, uphold the international order and defend human rights.”
European Council President Charles Michel tweeted his “warmest congratulations” to Trudeau. “In these times we need solid friendships to promote multilateral solutions, and build on our strong cooperation and shared values,” Michel said.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said in a congratulatory note to Trudeau that he is sure “the special partnership between Ukraine and Canada will be further strengthening.”
Trudeau, the charismatic son of former Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau, was elected in 2015. However, after a second election in the fall of 2019, which resulted in a minority government, his hold on power was considerably weakened. After images of him in blackface at a university party appeared in 2001, his reputation as a modern anti-discrimination activist plummeted.
Another motive for the early election, according to the Liberal party leader, was to strengthen the mandate for his administration’s management of the COVID-19 pandemic. Canada ranks among the countries with the highest vaccination rates in the world, with almost 73.4 percent of the population inoculated.
One of the key topics of discussion on the campaign trail has been the next step in the fight against the virus, with Trudeau arguing for a more aggressive vaccine programme with national mandates. Instead, O’Toole advocates for the use of quick testing.
“This election is about building a better future for our kids and grandkids. That’s why we need you to make your voice heard today and vote for the future you want to see,” Trudeau tweeted Monday with the hashtag #Forward for Everyone.
On Monday, O’Toole shared a snapshot of himself and his wife casting their ballots. While advocating tax reform and a more robust foreign policy toward China, he claims to have a strategy “to assure a better life” for Canadians.