Canadians are waking up this morning with a new Prime Minister.
After nine years of blue rule, Canada elected Justin Trudeau’s Liberal party into the country’s top office for the first time since the turn of the millennium. The Liberals took 184 seats, which is enough for a 54 per cent majority government. The Conservatives now assume the position of official opposition with 99 seats.
Toronto’s red shift was especially pronounced:
“We beat fear with hope,” said Trudeau in both English and French at his victory speech in Montreal. “We beat cynicism with hard work. We beat negative, divisive politics with a positive vision that brings Canadians together.”
It looks like John Oliver got his wish, yet the biggest loser of the evening wasn’t outgoing Prime Minister Stephen Harper. That unfortunate designation belongs to the NDP’s Tom Mulcair, whose NDP won just 44 seats in the House of Commons. Harper leaves office after three consecutive federal election victories that granted him almost a decade in power, while Mulcair’s party conceded more than half of its seats since an unprecedented surge under Jack Layton in 2011.
So what was supposed to be a three-party race actually turned into more of a one-and-a-half party jog.
The Bloc Quebecois, buoyed by the NDP’s fall from grace in Quebec, gained six seats in the House (10) while Elizabeth May’s Green Party managed to secure an invite as well (1). The Liberals soaked up the majority of the vote from those who no longer saw orange in French-speaking Canada.
So, what’s next?
The Conservatives spent almost three months focused on attacking Trudeau’s inexperience, more or less attributing his success to his pleasing aesthetic and family name (his father, Pierre, of course, served 15 years as Canada’s Prime Minister and was the original instigator of Trudeaumania). Forty-three-year-old Justin now has four years to prove that he can, in fact, lead a G7 country.
Harper, meanwhile, has already announced his decision to step down as the Conservative leader and will likely be seen next with his family at the Stampede. Mulcair will go down with his ship and has vowed to “get it done” next time.
Preliminary figures from Elections Canada indicate more than 68 per cent of eligible voters cast a ballot (compared to 61 per cent in 2011), which makes it abundantly clear that we were ready for a change. The opportunity for change has now swept through Ottawa and it’s up to Justin Trudeau to deliver.