Liberal supporters react as poll numbers come in at Liberal election headquarters in Montreal on Monday Oct. 21, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick

Liberals return with minority government in Election 2019

Polls had suggested a deadlock between the Liberals and the Conservatives

Updated: 9:48 p.m. PT

Justin Trudeau remains prime minister, but the Liberals will need the support of at least one party to maintain a minority government in a country bitterly divided from a bruising 40-day election campaign.

With results still trickling in early Tuesday, the Liberals had 157 seats — 13 short of the 170 needed for a majority in the 338-seat House of Commons.

A resurgent Bloc Quebecois scooped up 32 seats, dashing Liberal hopes of making gains in Quebec that could have ensured a second consecutive majority mandate.

LIVE MAP: Results in Canada’s 2019 federal election

Despite a strong campaign by NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh, his party was leading or elected in just 25 seats and nearly wiped out in Quebec, the province that only eight years ago delivered an orange wave that pushed the NDP into official Opposition status for the first — and so far, only— time. Singh’s tally fell almost 20 seats short of the party’s haul in 2015, which was deemed bad enough by rank and file New Democrats to warrant firing leader Tom Mulcair.

Nevertheless, Monday’s result leaves Singh potentially in the driver’s seat, with New Democrats holding the balance of power.

Trudeau, whose Liberals entered the campaign with 177 seats, will need the support of either the NDP or the Bloc to command the confidence of the House of Commons, the first test of which will come within weeks on a throne speech to open a new session of Parliament.

And that could well exacerbate divisions that deepened over the course of the campaign and were apparent in the Liberals’ being shut out entirely in Alberta and Saskatchewan. The two oil-producing provinces went almost solid blue, delivering every seat to the Conservatives except for Edmonton Strathcona — an NDP seat the party hung onto.

KEEP READING: All but one federal leader re-elected, early results show

Indeed, Andrew Scheer’s Conservatives were slightly ahead in the popular vote overall. But with so much of their vote concentrated in the two western provinces, the party fell short of the Liberals’ tally, taking 121 ridings.

Trudeau can likely count on both the NDP and the Bloc, as well as the three Greens elected Monday, to continue with the Liberal carbon tax, which is reviled in Alberta and Saskatchewan and which Scheer had promised to repeal. Indeed, the three progressive opposition parties will probably push Trudeau to go further, faster in the fight against climate change.

However, Singh has signalled the NDP will fight plans to expand the Trans Mountain Pipeline to carry Alberta oilsands crude to the British Columbia coast, en route to overseas markets. Trudeau’s government purchased the pipeline for $4.5 billion to ensure the expansion project would proceed, a decision that cost the Liberals support among progressive voters but won him no thanks in Alberta.

The Liberals owed their lead over the Tories largely to Ontario. The country’s largest province delivered 79 seats to the Liberals, compared to 36 for the Conservatives and just six for the NDP.

In Quebec, the Liberals were down five to 35 seats, just ahead of the Bloc Quebecois with 32. The Conservatives were leading in 10 and the NDP in just one.

The Liberals dominated in Atlantic Canada. Although they couldn’t replicate the 2015 sweep of all 32 seats in the region, they took a respectable 26 seats, the Conservatives four, the NDP one. In something of a surprise, the Greens took one: Fredericton.

The Green party, which had hoped for a big breakthrough in this election, had three seats, adding only the one in Fredericton to two it already had on Vancouver Island.

READ MORE: Google searches for ‘how to vote’ surge on Election Day

Maxime Bernier, who formed the People’s Party of Canada after narrowly losing the Conservative leadership to Scheer, lost his own Quebec seat in Beauce.

Former attorney general Jody Wilson-Raybould, who quit cabinet amid allegations Trudeau and his officials had inappropriately pressured her to stop the prosecution of SNC-Lavalin — succeeded late Monday in her attempt to win re-election as an independent in Vancouver-Granville.

Her former colleague, Jane Philpott, who quit cabinet in solidarity with Wilson-Raybould, went down to defeat in the Ontario riding of Markham-Stouffville.

Conservative fortunes in Ontario were dragged down by the unpopularity of Progressive Conservative Premier Doug Ford, whom Trudeau linked to Scheer at every opportunity.

And Conservative hopes in Quebec took a beating after Scheer put in what was widely considered a dismal performance in the first French-language leaders’ debate. Scheer was also hit in the dying days of the campaign with reports that his party had hired an outside consulting firm to conduct a “seek and destroy” campaign against Bernier.

READ MORE: Some voters having trouble accessing polling stations, campaign manager says

The Canadian Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

North District RCMP see massive spike in domestic calls

Connection to COVID-19 pandemic likely for reduced call volume, increased severity

Northwest mines lengthen crew rotations in response to COVID-19

Northern Health confident precautions sufficient enough to keep work camps open

Feds and Chamber of Commerce team up to support businesses

PRDCC is offering weekly conference calls to business in Prince Rupert

Fire on Third Ave. in Prince Rupert

Prince Rupert Fire Rescue crew attended the hotel

Fisheries and Oceans Canada lifts at-sea observer requirements due to COVID-19

Fisheries Management Order went into effect April 2 and will remain for 45 days

Here’s how to talk to people who aren’t taking physical distancing seriously

Approach the conversation with empathy says conflict expert

B.C. clears more acute hospital beds as COVID-19 case growth slows

Province holding about 40% of beds empty for peak still to come

As 500K+ apply for emergency benefit, Trudeau says aid coming for Canadians left behind

Canada Emergency Response Benefit provides $2,000 per month

Wearing non-medical masks can stop spread of COVID-19 before symptoms start: Tam

Health officials had previously not recommended wearing them

UPDATE: UK PM Boris Johnson moved to intensive care after COVID-19 symptoms worse

He has been quarantined in his Downing St. residence since being diagnosed with COVID-19 on March 26

Travellers, travel agents ‘in agony’ over refund policies and customer service

Many Canadian carriers are offering customers flights rebookings or travel vouchers — but not refunds

Introverted and extroverted kids likely to react differently to COVID-19 restrictions

B.C. child psychologist says your parenting approach can’t be one-size fits all in social isolation

B.C. begins taking submissions for $2M COVID-19 research fund

Rural health, impact of shifting hospital resources among priorities

Most Read