The ruling Liberal Party of Canada is headed towards forming another minority government following the snap elections held on Monday, September 20. With nearly 98% of the results reported so far, prime minister Justin Trudeau is set for a third term in office, but will continue without a parliamentary majority.
According to preliminary results, no major changes are likely to be seen in the composition of the House of Commons. The Liberal Party had won or was leading in 158 seats in the 338-member house. It had won 158 seats in the previous parliamentary elections in 2019.
The Liberals were followed by the Conservative Party with 119 seats, slightly down from 121 in 2019. The regionalist Bloc Québécois maintained their third position for the second time by winning 34 seats (up from 33), followed by the social democratic New Democratic Party with 25 seats (up from 24), and the Green Party with two seats (down from three in 2019).
The vote shares of the parties which have won seats in the House of Commons have also remained more or less the same. Despite maintaining its seat share, the Liberal Party continues to be the second-largest in vote share – at 32%, down from 33% in 2019.
The Conservatives are again leading in the popular vote and have maintained their vote share of 34%. The Bloc Québécois have also maintained their vote share, securing 7.8% votes (compared to 7.7% in 2019). The New Democrats saw a small hike in vote share from around 16% in 2019 to nearly 17.7% in the current elections.
The biggest loss was suffered by the Green Party, which has lost nearly two-thirds of its vote share from nearly 6.6% in 2019 to currently 2.3%. Meanwhile, the right-wing People’s Party, which will continue to be without an elected representative in parliament, has seen the biggest rise in vote share – from 1.6% in 2019 to over 5% in these elections.
The snap elections were called by the Trudeau government last month, more than two years ahead of the scheduled dissolution of the House of Commons in 2023. In the previous elections in 2019, the Trudeau government lost its majority after losing a total of 27 seats.
While snap elections are not uncommon in Canada, according to observers, these elections were a means for the government to maintain the status quo for a longer period.
The elections were declared on the day of Taliban’s takeover of Afghanistan on August 15. The government was heavily criticized by the opposition for its delayed evacuation of Canadians and Afghan citizens who had worked with the Canadian forces and diplomatic mission.
The government also faced criticism for its handling of the COVID-19 pandemic, especially for its delayed distribution of vaccines which only picked up in April, months after Canada cornered a disproportionately large number of contracts for vaccine doses.
The government also came under heavy scrutiny on its stated commitment to indigenous rights after the discovery of mass graves in the nation’s infamous Indian residential schools, as well as the promotion of oil pipelines on native lands in the face of massive indigenous protests and resistance over the past few years.