Justin Trudeau: The good news – and bad – for Canada’s PM

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Canada's PM

PM Justin Trudeau has retained power in Canada’s election but lost both his majority and – by a slight margin – the popular vote. Here is a breakdown of the good news for his Liberal party – and the bad.

The good news – he was still in power

This is a tough election battle for the liberals but there is a sense on Monday night between the party faithful in Montreal that they can now breathe a little easier.

When the TV networks began projecting a minority Liberal supporters on election night headquarters erupted into chants of “four more years” as a sense of relief through the crowd.

“The Liberals did better than we thought they would,” said supporter Brian, who prefers not to give his last name, said he had been frightened by polls showing a tight race.

Former Liberal MP Marlene Jennings says voters “have shown they still have confidence in the Liberal government and Justin Trudeau, and they certainly do not want a Conservative government, even a minority government”.

However, Ms. Jennings conceded he grew frustrated watching the campaign sidetracked by the “so-called scandal” over the past few weeks.

“There were moments during the campaign in which I want to take the Liberal strategy and shake them and say: ‘Why do not we talk about the great things that we would do again and again?'”

The bad news – his star power is reduced

PM Trudeau had a very long honeymoon with the most political standards – but its popularity has certainly dimmed with the Canadian public.

Where he stumbles?

Even before the election campaign started on 11 September, his approval ratings have slipped.

The first problem with the Canadian public comes after an overseas trip to India disaster, which took place against the background of the photo-ops in the Trudeau family complex featuring traditional Indian clothing.

Then came the affairs of the SNC-Lavalin – ethics scandal related to the effort to suppress the former attorney general to cut a deal for a company to face a corruption trial, which further tarnished Mr. Trudeau’s private brand.

That the former Attorney General, Jody Wilson-Raybould, was booted from the Liberal party by Mr. Trudeau.

Against the odds, Ms. Wilson-Raybould ran and won as an independent in his Vancouver riding.

He was a vocal critic of Mr. Trudeau and will serve as a reminder that the scandal in the House of Commons.

Finally, the revelation that Mr. Trudeau wore blackface – widely seen as racist caricatures – on at least three occasions rocked the Liberal campaign and forced Mr. Trudeau to ask Canadians to forgive him for his past behavior.

The bad news – Liberal Lost theWest

Prairie provinces of Alberta and Saskatchewan Conservative fully turned blue – with the exception of the New Democratic Party (NDP) stronghold in the city of Edmonton.

The blue wave that helped the Conservatives gained nearly 30 seats in the election Monday, taking them from 95 to around 122.

Liberals will never sweep regions is very conservative. Even at the peak of their popularity in 2015 they only hold a few seats in the two provinces.

But now Alberta and Saskatchewan have sturdy turned away from the party Mr. Trudeau in the sense of western Canada whose interests are not represented in the Canadian capital Ottawa.

Bad news – the Bloc bounced back

Bloc Quebecois also has had a revival.

Voters have been lowered parties calling for Quebec sovereignty to the sidelines in the last two elections – but his luck changed under the new leadership of Yves-François Blanchet, and they were more than three times the number of seats, from 10 to about 32.

Mr. Blanchet campaigned with the slogan “Quebec, c’est nous” or “Our Quebec”, and became a strong voice in Ottawa for the interest that the province.

Party, which only runs candidates in Quebec, is at odds with Mr. Trudeau on issues such as the law of secularism province controversial – Bill 21 – which prevents judges, police, teachers and civil servants holding several other positions on the wearing of religious symbols such as the kippah, turban or headscarf at work.

PM Trudeau did offer an olive branch to those Canadians who refuse Liberals at the ballot box and said he had heard the frustration of voters pasture loud and clear.

“For those who do not choose us, know that we will work every day for you,” he said. “We will arrange for everyone.”

Good news – he can still govern with a minority

Mr. Trudeau will need the support of other parties to enact the promised “progressive agenda” if he wants to remain in power.

One possible ally is the NDP, which could help the Liberals to survive the confidence vote and to pass key legislation.

But that support comes at a cost.

NDP leader Jagmeet Singh has set a laundry list of party priorities in minority situations: support for a national pharmacare plan, investment in housing, tackling student debt, lowering the cell phone bill and internet, the action on the climate, and raising taxes on the richest Canada.

But Mr. Singh’s position is less clear on the Trans Mountain pipeline project, which will triple the current capacity of the pipeline carrying crude oil to the west coast.

Mr. Trudeau’s Liberals support the project, saying it is the national interest of Canada.

In his speech to supporters late Tuesday morning, Mr. Singh promised his party would play a “positive role” in Ottawa.

Yet support for the minority government also usually have an expiration date.

On average, the last minority government in Canada about a year and a half to two years, much shorter than the usual four-year term majority.

The good news – the voters want climate action

The Conservatives have pledged to immediately revoke the signature of PM Trudeau’s climate policy if they came to power.

But now it looks like the federal carbon tax – imposed on the four provinces that do not already have a program of their own cap-and-trade or a price on carbon in place – will live another day.

It should not be too difficult for Mr. Trudeau to secure cross-party support for its climate policies.

The NDP, the Bloc Quebecois, and Canada’s Greens, which added a seat in Atlantic Canada, all campaigned on taking action on the environment.

“You’ve asked us to show even more vision and ambition as we tackle the greatest challenge of this era – climate change,” PM Trudeau said in his victory speech.

“That is exactly what we’ll do.”

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