OTTAWA (Citynews) Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau won enough votes to earn his third term as prime minister during Canada’s pandemic election, Citynews has estimated.
With the results still out on Monday night, it is unclear whether the Liberals will form a majority or minority government.
Upon dissolution, the Liberals had 155 seats, the Conservatives 119, the Bloc Québécois 32, the NDP 24 and the Greens two. Five independents and one post were also vacant.
Trudeau halted his minority government on August 15 – two years after the Liberals were reduced to a minority.
The Liberal leader’s night began with a weaker performance than in the 2019 election. The Liberals were down three seats in Atlantic Canada, while the Conservatives won nine seats – more than double the four seats they won in 2019.
The Liberals contested 27 of those Atlantic Canada seats.
But the results in Quebec and Ontario were enough to give Trudeau’s liberals victory in the 2021 federal election.
Results started coming at a slow pace as polling was closed across the country.
Part of this was due to the large number of mail-in ballots. Elections Canada said about 6.8 million people voted early, most of them in advance elections held more than a week ago, and the rest by mail or by special ballots at Election Canada offices.
There were also several reports of long lineups at polling stations. Overall fewer polling stations were open as many schools were not used as polling places due to the pandemic.
Trudeau cast his vote with his three children on Monday morning at the ride to Papineau, Ky. His wife Sophie Gregoire Trudeau, who had already voted, waited at the entrance of the polling station.
Trudeau’s youngest son, 7-year-old Hadrian, grabbed his father’s hand and accompanied him to the voting booth, before the two pushed the ballot box together.
When Trudeau called for an election on August 15 – two years after the Liberals were reduced to a minority – he called on Canadians to decide how to end the fight against COVID-19 and lead the country’s recovery Who is most suitable?
But mixed results in the 38-day campaign elections soon showed that the Liberals’ hope of converting a minority government into a majority was not a successful feat.
Opposition leaders relentlessly lashed out at Trudeau’s “selfish” choice to put his quest for a majority ahead of the interests of Canadians in the midst of a deadly pandemic.
Afghanistan passed into the hands of the Taliban the day Trudeau announced the election – leaving thousands of Canadians and Afghans helping with Canada’s military mission – only adding to the anger at his timing.
As liberal support waned, O’Toole’s Conservatives picked up some momentum. Trudeau attempted to drive a wedge on issues such as abortion, private health care and mandatory vaccinations for federal workers.
The liberal platform recorded new spending of $78 billion over the next five years, with no plans to balance the budget.
One of the new promises was to establish rules under the Canadian Health Act to control access to sexual and reproductive health, such as abortion.
The platform also includes plans to ban assault weapons, mandate a gun buyback program, and give $1 billion to help provinces ban handguns in their jurisdiction.
The Liberal plan also included $10-a-day of childcare and sick leave.
When it comes to the ongoing fight against COVID-19, Trudeau said his party supports immunization certificates and mandatory vaccines for people traveling on planes and trains.
The victory brought Trudeau back to the same position he had held since the 2015 federal election, in which the Liberals won a majority of 184 seats.
But Trudeau had come into the limelight in Canada long before 2015.
The eldest son of one of Canada’s most famous prime ministers, Pierre Elliot Trudeau, the young Trudeau showed no interest in politics at first. He worked as a teacher in Vancouver after graduating from McGill University in Montreal.
Trudeau then came into the public eye in 2000 at his father’s funeral, where he delivered an emotional eulogy. His star came out from there.
The former drama teacher first won her seat in Papineau to be elected Member of Parliament in 2008. Five years later, the Liberals elected him as the leader of the party. In 2015, he became the Prime Minister of Canada, easily defeating the then Conservative leader Stephen Harper.
And whether he’s fighting Harper’s government in the House before that, or fighting Sen. Patrick Brazzo in a charity boxing match, Trudeau has been a magnet for attention.
His comments on why his first cabinet was gender-balanced went viral around the world.
“Because it’s 2015,” was the response that traveled around the world — the first of many viral moments. Others, such as a trip to India in 2018, which saw several wardrobe changes, were shared for reasons less flattering.
That’s because the glow of 2015 – in the eyes of Canadians – may have emanated from Trudeau.
The now 49-year-old has faced several scandals in his six years as prime minister: The Aga Khan, SNC-Lavalin’, Blackface and We Charity.
But none has diminished his popularity among Liberal supporters.
With files from The Canadian Press.