Monday 1 March 2021
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Trudeau faces challenge of making laws in new Parliament

Trudeau will need a coalition or special arrangements with different MPs to make different laws, the way Canada has functioned for 15 years

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Politics World Trudeau faces challenge of making laws in new Parliament

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s Liberal Party managed to win the most seats in Canada’s general election but fell short of a majority figure. US President Donald Trump and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson congratulated Trudeau, nevertheless, for winning the most seats.

The Liberal Party is likely to win 157 seats in a tough contest, which is 13 seats less than the majority figure. In such a situation, it will be difficult for Trudeau to make laws in his second term.

The Conservative Party is likely to get 34.4% votes, more than the Liberal Party’s 33%. But then, the Conservative party seems to be lagging behind in terms of the number of seats.

The opposition Conservative Party is expected to get 121 seats. It had won 95 seats in the last election. Canada, this time around, saw 66% voting in the election.

The seats of Left-leaning New Democratic Party (NDP) have decreased, too. However, its pro-Khalistan leader Jagmeet Singh can play the role of a kingmaker, as no other party is willing to extend its support to Trudeau. The NDP is likely to get 24 seats in the 338-seat parliament.

This federal election was seen as a referendum for Trudeau, whose first term was replete with ups and downs.

Trudeau addressed his supporters in Montreal, saying Canadians have “rejected division and negativity” in this election. “They rejected cuts and austerity, and they voted in favour of a progressive agenda, and strong action on climate change,” he said.

“I have heard you, my friends. You are sending our Liberal team back to work – back to Ottawa with a clear mandate: We will make life more affordable, we will continue to fight climate change, we will get guns off our streets, and we will keep investing in Canadians,” Trudeau said.

Trudeau added that it had been the “greatest honour” of his life to serve as prime minister for the past four years. He thanked voters for putting their trust in him and his party once more. “We will continue what we have begun,” he told the crowd.  He said, “I thank the people for having faith in us and for taking the country in the right direction.”

Trudeau addressed also those who did not vote and assured them that his government would work for the benefit of everyone every day.

This time Trudeau is seen winning fewer seats than the number won in his previous term, but the result is disappointing for Conservative leader Andrew Shearer (Scheer) as well.

Trudeau came to power in 2015 promising “real” and “progressive” change. But after four years in power, Trudeau faced criticism for not fulfilling these promises. He supported the expansion of the Trans Mountain oil pipeline project and this damaged his image. He did not fulfil the promise of reform in the federal election. This left some of the left-leaning voters angry with him.

However, according to an independent assessment conducted by many Canadian academics, Trudeau has fulfilled almost or partially half of the promises. This record is better than that of any other government of Canada in the past 35 years.

During the election, Trudeau’s image was tarnished when his photographs with black makeup went viral on three separate occasions.

After the election results, Trudeau mentioned the provinces of Quebec and Western Canada in his speech. His party has not performed well in these places. He said, “I have heard and understood your frustration.”

Shearer said that he was very proud that a large contingent of the Conservative Party was going to go to the capital Ottawa. He said that his party had challenged Trudeau, damaged his leadership and his government would fall soon.

Road ahead for Canada, Trudeau

A large section of the Indian media has enthusiastically reported that Indian-origin Singh would call the shots in the new Canadian Parliament. However, several minority governments have survived without coalitions in Canada.

A minority government in Canada is not new. In the last 15 years, three such governments have been in power. But a coalition government is rarely formed in this country. It was last tried by the Liberal Party and the NDP in 2008, but the government was dissolved after the Parliament led by the then Prime Minister Stephen Harper was adjourned.

Analysts believe that there may be some re-engagement between the Liberal Party and the NDP. They believe that the Bloc Québécois, which has softened its stand on the demands of independence, will neither go to any coalition nor push for another election. Rather, in a post-results speech, block leader Wes-François Blanchett said, “We have to find a way to run this Parliament properly.”

If Trudeau does not form a coalition, he will need to make special agreements with different parties or MPs to get Bills passed in Parliament.

At the same time, Shearer will have to assess his situation. He had put himself in front of the people of Canada as a candidate who was talking directly on issues affecting voters’ lives and their pockets. The plank did not work for the Conservative Party, but the party had to face questions and criticism on issues like gay marriage and abortion.

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