Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his Liberal Party were narrowly returned to power in Monday’s election and now form a minority government.
Trudeau’s Liberals won 157 seats out of 338 total, while the Conservative opposition won 121, assuming all of Monday’s vote totals are confirmed. 170 seats were needed to form a majority government.
“You did it, my friends, congratulations!” Trudeau told supporters on Tuesday morning.
U.S. President Donald Trump offered early congratulations to Trudeau via Twitter:
Congratulations to @JustinTrudeau on a wonderful and hard fought victory. Canada is well served. I look forward to working with you toward the betterment of both of our countries!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 22, 2019
The Liberal Party is expected to form an alliance with the New Democrat Party (NDP) headed by Jagmeet Singh. The NDP won 24 seats, while the Bloc Québécois won 32.
The results meant a loss of 20 seats for the Liberals and a gain of 26 for the Conservatives. The Bloc Québécois gained 22 seats, while the NDP lost 15. The Liberals lost the nationwide popular vote but fared much better on a seat-by-seat basis than most projections, while the NDP performed well below its popularity as suggested by polls.
Conservative leader Andrew Scheer portrayed Trudeau’s close re-election victory as a warning to the prime minister and his party.
“Tonight Conservatives have put Justin Trudeau on notice. And Mr. Trudeau, when your government falls, Conservatives will be ready and we will win,” said Scheer.
“While tonight’s result isn’t what we wanted, I’m also incredibly proud, proud of our team and proud of the bigger and stronger Conservative team that we’ll send to Ottawa,” he told Conservative Party supporters after the results came in.
Two of the key figures from the SNC-Lavalin corruption scandal that dogged Trudeau, until his blackface scandal eclipsed all other news, were running in the election. Jody Wilson-Raybould, the former attorney general forced out of her position and expelled from the Liberal Party by Trudeau and his allies after she refused to kill an investigation of SNC-Lavalin, retained the seat she won as an independent in the previous election.
Jane Philpott, who resigned from Trudeau’s cabinet to protest Wilson-Raybould’s ouster and was also booted from the Liberal Party, lost her seat.
CBC News summed up the election results by saying Scheer “was able to tap into the palpable anger in Western Canada,” where Trudeau’s policies have hindered oil and gas development, but he “failed to sway enough independent-minded voters in Central and Eastern Canada.”
Although the Conservative Party made gains and won the national popular vote, CBC expected Scheer’s failure to deliver victory at a moment of great vulnerability for Trudeau could spell the end of his party leadership.
“While Trudeau’s campaign was beset by scandal, Scheer also faced questions about his resume and his political positions. Scheer appeared awkward when asked about social issues like gay marriage and abortion. There were also questions about his past as an insurance broker (he was never actually licensed to sell insurance) and his dual Canada-U.S. citizenship,” CBC noted.