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Trudeau Claims Majority Victory in General Election

October 22, 2015 | News

Trudeau at his victory ceremony. The New Yorker

The Canadian people have spoken, well at least the majority did.  The total voter turnout of 17,546,697 accounted for 68% of eligible voters in Canada, and 61% of the total Canadian population.  It was the highest voter turnout in decades, especially when compared to the 61% achieved in the 2011 federal election. Cleary most Canadians found themselves glued to reports and polls showing that this was supposed to be one of the tightest electoral races in Canadian history.

Things turned out a bit differently, as Justin Trudeau and the Liberal party cruised to an easy majority, winning a total of 184 seats.  This is a huge increase for the Liberals, who only had 36 seats in the 2011 election. The 54.4 % majority they now have marks the first time any party has ever started a campaign in third place in election polls and proceed to win, let alone by majority.

The era of the Conservatives and Stephen Harper is now over.  Harper, who was re-elected in his riding of Calgary-Heritage, has announced that he will be stepping down as the leader of the Conservative party after almost a decade in charge.  The Conservatives lost a total of 60 seats, dropping from 159 to 99 or 31.89 %. The NDP seemed to have suffered the most, ceding their spot as the official opposition to the Tories and losing 51 seats, holding only 44 seats. The Green Party and Elizabeth May clawed on to 1 seat, May’s own riding in British Colombia.  The Bloc Quebecois gained a total of 8 seats from 2011’s dismal 2 for a total of 10 seats. However, this still leaves them two seats short of being recognized as an official party and even leader Gilled Duceppe was unable to win in his riding of Laurier-Sainte-Marie, the second time he has failed to be elected as MP while acting as leader of the Bloc Quebecois.

The NDP looked to be the early favorites in this “long” election campaign.  The first poll results of the 11 week election campaign showed them climbing as high as 37 % according to some opinion polls.  But GDP and fiscal report releases showed the Canadian economy to be in trouble, even in a recession (the only G7 country currently in one) and other factors slowly led the NDP to fall in polls.  Many may have believed that Canada doesn’t have the money for such programs like 15$ a day daycare amongst others that Mulcair promised.

Across Montreal, some of the riding races were closer than others. The two ridings where Dawson lies; Ville-Marie—Le Sud-Ouest—Île-des-Soeurs and Notre-Dame-de-Grâce—Westmount were both won by Liberals Marc Miller and Marc Garneau by margins between 50 to 58% of the vote.  Other nearby riding included Outremont, where NDP leader Thomas Mulcair was given a run for his money, beating Liberal opponent Rachel Benyadan by 10% only. In the Mount-Royal riding, which has been Liberal for the last 50 years with notable MPs including Pierre Elliot Trudeau and human rights activist Irwin Cotler, a tight race was expected between former mayors of Cote St. Luc Anthony Housefather of the Liberal Party and Robert Libman of the Conservative Party.  However, Housefather cruised to victory, gaining a total of 50% of the vote as opposed to Libman’s 38%. Mario Jacinto Rimbao of the NDP came in third 8% of the vote in the riding. The majority of the island appears to be red, apart from a handful of NDP ridings and La Pointe-de-l’Île where former Bloc Quebecois leader Mario Beaulieu claimed victory.

Nearby in Quebec City, there has been a bit of a surprise in events.  The city centre is Liberal, which was expected. However the Conservatives claimed multiple ridings in the suburbs and areas surrounding Quebec City.  This helped bring the total amount of Conservative ridings in Quebec up to 12, double from the 6 that the Conservatives won in the 2011 federal election.

Provincial premiers have reacted well to the Trudeau’s and the Liberals win, with Quebec Premier publicly announcing his congratulations for Trudeau via social media.  The past decade has been filled with clashes between premiers and Ottawa on account of disagreements with policies. Trudeau has stated the need for better relations and has made it one of his first priorities as prime minister.

During his acceptance speech, Trudeau stated that “Canadians from all across this great country sent a clear message tonight: It’s time for a change in this country” and that “We won this election because we listened, we did the hard work of slogging across the country”. He also stated that, referring to the Canadian people, “You built this platform. You built this movement. You told us what you need to be successful. You told us what kind of government you want, and we built the plan to make it happen”

Justin Trudeau will take the office in the near future, becoming both the youngest prime minister in Canadian history, aged 43, and the first son of a former prime minister to take up the same office.  His father was the notable Pierre Elliot Trudeau who dominated Canadian politics from the late 1960’s to the early 1980’s. Trudeau has said that he will name his cabinet on November 4th and has also stated that there will be an equal gender balance.  He is expected to quickly bring Parliament back into session and he is already back in Ottawa, stopping first to greet people at Jarry metro station in his home riding of Papineau in Eastern Montreal.


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