In Canada, Prime Minister Trudeau’s Liberal Party won the general election. However, Trudeau missed the desired absolute majority. Because of a series of political affairs, the 49-year-old had lost much of his support recently.
Canada’s Prime Minister Trudeau emerged victorious from the early elections, albeit weaker than polls had predicted. Officially, Canadians should vote on the pandemic policy. However, experts suspect another goal – that Trudeau missed.
Anyone who saw the news broadcasts from Toronto late on Monday evening witnessed a curious spectacle: just before midnight local time, hundreds of people were standing in front of the polling stations to cast their votes. Officially they were closed since 9:30 p.m. But the Canadian city had not gotten a faster process because of the corona pandemic.
Anyone who arrived on time should therefore still vote, the authorities said. The choice had already been decided at this point: the liberal Prime Minister Justin Trudeau would be head of government again, the news channels had already calculated and announced shortly before 10.30 p.m.
The impressions are indicative of a choice that many Canadians had already described as an unnecessary expense. Because actually, they would not have elected a new parliament until 2023. They still stood in front of the polls on Monday evening due to their prime minister. This had called early elections in mid-August, officially, to give Canadians the opportunity to decide on further pandemic policy.
Political experts, however, suspected an entirely different reason. Trudeau wanted to “secure a majority government in the lower house,” says political scientist Stewart Perst, who teaches at Simon Fraser University in the Canadian province of British Columbia. In fact, according to surveys in mid-August, it briefly looked as if Trudeau could achieve a solid majority.
But the Canadians didn’t do him that favour. According to the news broadcaster CBC calculations, his liberal party was able to win the most seats. However, it remained away from an absolute majority. So, as in the previous two years, Trudeau will only be able to form a minority government – and will remain dependent on the support of other parties for his legislative proposals.
“The Canadians did not give Mr Trudeau the majority mandate he wanted,” said Conservative Party leader Erin O’Toole early Tuesday morning. “Rather, the Canadians sent him back with another minority.” And at a high price: the early election cost taxpayers more than 600 million Canadian dollars. O’Toole also accused Trudeau of further dividing the country. He and other parties had previously criticized the new election in the middle of the pandemic.
The timing of the election is not the only reason for the Liberal Party’s poor performance. In some constituencies, frustration had been piling up for a long time, for example, in Atlantic Canada, where the Liberals, under their new chairman Trudeau, recorded a landslide victory in 2015. In the run-up to this election, local fishermen complained that the liberal government in Ottawa was not doing enough to promote their interests. As a result, several electoral districts were lost to the Conservatives that year.
“Many Canadians are frustrated by the liberal tendency first to say one thing and then do the other or perhaps take an action that is symbolically strong but does not necessarily have substance,” said political scientist Perst in an interview shortly before the election with WORLD. As a result, some projects were only implemented years after their announcement – if at all.