Justin Trudeau’s Liberals Win Canadian Election, Fall Short of Majority


PRIME Minister Justin Trudeau eked out a win in Canada’s federal election Monday, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation projected, but he failed to secure the majority he had sought last month when he rolled the dice and plunged the country into a bruising snap election.

With more than 80 percent of the polls reported, preliminary results indicated as at Tuesday morning that the Liberals had won or were leading in 158 of the 338 seats in the House of Commons, short of the 170 required for a majority.

Erin O’Toole’s Conservatives trailed with 121 seats.

It was unclear when the final outcome would be known. There were a record number of mail-in ballots to be assessed beginning Tuesday, and some polling centers reported long lines. When the election was called, the Liberals held 155 seats and the Conservatives had 119, which would leave the makeup of Parliament virtually unchanged at the end of the 36-day, nearly $480 million campaign.

The vote Monday capped a campaign that many here felt was unnecessary, failed to inspire much enthusiasm and featured ugly scenes of protesters — many of them opposed to coronavirus vaccines and vaccine mandates — screaming vulgarities at Trudeau and his family and at one point pelting him with gravel.

The campaign, wrote a Toronto Star columnist, “has essentially been a bad mood looking for a place to land.”

A Globe and Mail writer described it as a “mean, shallow, silly, pointless affair.”

Trudeau disagreed. Speaking to hundreds of supporters gathered at a hotel in downtown Montreal, the prime minister said that voters had given him a “clear mandate to get Canada through this pandemic and to the brighter days ahead.”

“There are still votes to be counted, but what we’ve seen tonight is that millions of Canadians have chosen a progressive plan,” he said shortly after 1 a.m. Tuesday. “Some have talked about division, but that’s not what I see.”

Trudeau rolled the dice on a snap election. Canadian voters will decide whether his gamble pays off.

Trudeau, 49, came to power in 2015 on promises of “real change,” casting himself as a feminist, climate warrior and champion of liberal values. He has since been buffeted by scandals, including revelations that he wore blackface makeup as a younger man. His government was reduced to a minority in 2019.

But even after six years of baggage and unfulfilled pledges, the race was not expected to be close. And though Trudeau clung to power, the results were expected to be viewed as a disappointment for the telegenic Liberal Party leader that could renew questions about his judgment.

He held a comfortable lead over O’Toole, 48, when he called the snap vote last month — two years before the next fixed election date under Canadian law — betting that his pandemic response would deliver him a majority.

But Trudeau misjudged the public appetite for a vote and ran a lackluster campaign. His rivals criticized him for calling an election during Canada’s fourth pandemic wave; at a campaign stop in Ontario last week, O’Toole called the decision “vain, risky and selfish.” Voters appeared to agree, viewing it as a power grab.


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