Justin Trudeau's Close Shave
Despite losing his majority in the House of Commons and the popular vote overall, Justin Trudeau has proven yet again to be a Teflon politician narrowing winning the Canadian election on Monday the 21st October.
Trudeau’s Liberal Party, which had struggled earlier in the year due to an ethics scandal surrounding the Quebec company SNC-Lavalin, was further hit by the emergence that the Prime Minister, known for being an international bastion for progressive, ‘woke’ values, donned blackface as a teacher in his 20’s. However, the election was marked by increasing division across Canada, and a lack of any other parties’ ability to present themselves as an effective, alternative Government.
The Conservative Party led by former House of Commons Speaker, Andrew Scheer came out of the election winning the popular vote. However, this was down to simply increasing their vote share in their strongholds of Western, oil-dominated provinces, where their signature pledge to scrap the carbon tax gained traction. However, in the urban centres of Toronto, Vancouver and Montreal; what was seen as a rejection of climate change, along with Scheer’s previous votes against abortion and same-sex marriage; simply meant that the Conservatives had no hope of winning against Trudeau. Throughout the campaign Trudeau somehow managed to maintain his progressive image.
The electoral picture was further blotted by the French-speaking province of Quebec experiencing a ‘renaissance’ in nationalism. Taking the form of the pro-independence Bloc Quebecois, lead by Yves-Francois Blanchet, it shot up to become the third largest party nationwide. Many in Quebec were motivated by the perceived attack on their secular values from major party leaders in the form of their opposition to Bill 21, which bans religious symbols being worn by public employees. The province, which can be adequately described as an ‘electoral bellwether on steroids’, denied both the Conservatives and Liberals significant seat gains needed for a majority government.
In the end, the Liberals were able to benefit from a collapse in the left-leaning New Democratic Party’s vote, and an unexpectedly poor performance from the Green Party. By picking up the progressive and left-leaning votes that saw them keep crucial marginals in suburban areas from being gained by the Conservatives, the Liberals found a path to victory. Yet Trudeau has no seats in either the provinces of Saskatchewan and Alberta- where hatred for him and his politics strongly resembles that held by many Brexit-backing communities to Westminster here in Britain.
So, at the end of this 48-day campaign, Canada is perhaps more divided than ever before. With separatism on the rise in Quebec and Western Canada, a Conservative Party hyped up to cause trouble in the hung Parliament, Trudeau is in for a rough ride. The once widely loved rockstar of progressive politics has now made the transition to controversial statesman. Hiis country, renowned for its generosity and inclusivity, is on the cusp of becoming beholden by populism and Trudeau has an almighty battle ahead.