After a tumultuous, scandal-plagued 40-day election campaign, Justin Trudeau and the Liberals have won a minority government in Canada, taking 157 seats. Trudeau will serve as the Canadian prime minister for a second term and the Conservatives will continue to form opposition. The Canadian Liberals lost seats from 2015 (when they won a majority) and will now have to gain support from at least one party to pass any legislation and fulfil its campaign promises in the coming years.
The election night wasn’t the nail-biting, too-close-to-call race many pundits expected (some said the ballot count could go into the morning), but it was still an eventful evening that ended with the divisiveness the election became known for. Instead of waiting their turns to speak — it’s customary to for the winning candidate to go last — Trudeau, Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer, and the NDP’s Jagmeet Singh all gave their election night remarks at the same time, each offering tepid calls for unity.
Here, we break down some of the election night’s highlights.
What were the final election results?
A party needs 170 seats for a majority government, and the Liberals squeaked through to land 157 seats, with support coming from Ontario and Quebec. The Conservatives, which will form the opposition, finished with 121 seats, a resurgent Bloc Québécois took 32 seats, the NDP garnered 24, and the Green Party took a historic 3 seats. This was a close race, with the Conservatives narrowly winning the popular vote, with 34.4% to the Liberals’ 33.1%, the lowest popular vote margin in Canadian history.
What were the biggest upsets?
The Liberals were completed shut out from every riding in Saskatchewan, which went completely Conservative. In Alberta, Conservatives won 69% of the popular vote and all but one seat, which went to the NDP’s Heather McPherson.
Last night also saw the first Green Party MP victory outside of British Columbia, with a historic win for Jenica Atwin in Fredericton, New Brunswick.
Yves-François Blanchet and the Bloc Québécois took a third of the popular vote in Quebec, becoming the most unexpected story of the election. The huge win for the party shows a major shift in the province’s politics and will provide a new challenge for the Liberals.
Finally, in a shocking upset, Liberal and former Olympian Adam van Koeverden unseated long-time Conservative and Deputy PC Leader Lisa Raitt in the Milton, Ontario riding after an 11-year term.
What does a Liberal minority government mean for the NDP?
Last night, pundits on Canada's Public Broadcaster CBC credited the NDP’s showing to the “Singh save,” or in other words, the impressive last-minute push by leader Jagmeet Singh to secure more seats than earlier projected. It still wasn’t a great showing for the NDP — in 2015, it had 44 seats and this year it dipped to 24, enough for official party status, but taking a big hit in Quebec. Since the Liberals will have to work with another party if they want to get anything done, the NDP has enough seats to be a power player.
What did Justin Trudeau say in his victory speech?
Aside from the poor etiquette of speaking at the same time as his opponents, Trudeau gave an energetic victory speech in which he proclaimed that “Canadians rejected division and negativity” in their decision to re-elect the Liberal Party. “You’re sending our Liberal team back to work in Ottawa, with a clear mandate — we will make life more affordable, we will continue to fight climate change, we will get guns off our streets, and we will keep investing in Canadians,” the prime minister said. He spoke to Quebec and the Prairies directly, acknowledging his party’s dismal showing in each region. “Regardless of how you cast your ballot, ours is a team that will fight for all Canadians,” he said.
What did Andrew Scheer say about his loss?
Scheer conceded the loss, thanking his staff, family and voters and then delivered a speech that reiterated many of the talking points of his campaign. “Not only have they lost over 20 seats, but Mr. Trudeau has also lost votes and lost support in every region of the country,” 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.” If you were expecting a humble or gracious concession address, this wasn’t it.
Did Jane Philpott and Jody Wilson-Raybould win their ridings?
Simply put, Philpott lost and Wilson-Raybould won. The embattled former Liberal members were forced out of the caucus after the SNC-Lavalin affair and chose to run as independents. Philpott lost to Liberal Helena Jaczek in the Markham-Stouffville riding while Wilson-Raybould edged out her Liberal opponent for a win in the Vancouver Granville riding as the only independent representative in the country.
Will Maxime Bernier continue on in his riding as a climate-change denying bigot?
Nope! The leader of the People’s Party of Canada was defeated handily by Conservative candidate Richard Lehoux by more than 6,000 votes. After creating his own party and running on a platform of hate and in opposition to science, Bernier not only lost his riding, but the future of his party looks bleak. The people have spoken.