Canada's Trudeau Wins 2nd Term 10/22 06:16
TORONTO (AP) -- Prime Minister Justin Trudeau won a second term in Canada's
national elections Monday, losing the majority but delivering unexpectedly
strong results despite having been weakened by a series of scandals that
tarnished his image as a liberal icon.
Trudeau's Liberal party took the most seats in Parliament, giving it the
best chance to form a government. However, falling short of a majority meant
the Liberals would have to rely on an opposition party to pass legislation.
"It's not quite the same as 2015. It's not all owing to the leader," said
Robert Bothwell, a professor of Canadian history and international relations at
the University of Toronto. "Trudeau is prime minister because the rest of the
party was able to pull itself together and prevail. While Trudeau certainly
deserves credit for what has happened he's really going to have to demonstrate
qualities that he hasn't yet shown."
Still, the results were a victory for Trudeau, whose clean-cut image took a
hit after old photos of him in blackface and brownface surfaced last month.
"I'm surprised at how well Trudeau has done," said Nelson Wiseman, a
political science professor at the University of Toronto. "I don't think
anybody expected Trudeau to get a majority but they are not that far off."
With results still trickling in early Tuesday, the Liberals had 156 seats
--- 14 short of the 170 needed for a majority in the 338-seat House of Commons.
"Tonight Canadians rejected division and negativity. They rejected cuts and
austerity. They elected a progressive agenda and strong action on climate
change," Trudeau said early Tuesday.
His address to supporters came, unusually, as his Conservative rival, Andrew
Scheer, had just begun speaking to his own supporters, forcing networks to tear
away from Scheer's speech. But the prime minister struck a conciliatory note:
"To those who did not vote for us, know that we will work every single day for
you, we will govern for everyone," Trudeau said.
The Canadian vote came down to what was essentially a choice between the
handsome and charismatic Trudeau and Scheer, the Conservatives' unassuming
leader who was seen as the perfect antidote to Trudeau's flash and celebrity.
Trudeau reasserted liberalism in 2015 after almost 10 years of Conservative
Party government in Canada, but scandals combined with high expectations
damaged his prospects.
Perhaps sensing Trudeau was in trouble, Barack Obama made an unprecedented
endorsement by a former American president in urging Canadians to re-elect
Trudeau and saying the world needs his progressive leadership now.
Trudeau, son of the liberal icon and late Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau, is
one of the few remaining progressive world leaders in the Trump era and even
appeared on the cover of Rolling Stone magazine under the headline "Why Can't
He Be Our President?"
Scheer, 40, is a career politician who was seen as a possible antidote to
Trudeau's flash. But Bothwell said late Monday that he expected Scheer to
"He's gone," Bothwell said. "He ran a really dirty campaign. There is
nothing to be proud of on his side. He had the opportunity and blew it."
Among other things, Scheer called Trudeau a phony who couldn't even remember
how many times he had worn blackface.
In his concession speech, Scheer said the results showed Trudeau was much
weakened since his 2015 election, when pundits had predicted the beginning of
another Trudeau dynasty.
"Tonight Conservatives have put Justin Trudeau on notice," Scheer said. "And
Mr. Trudeau when your government falls, Conservatives will be ready and we will
Trudeau also was hurt by a scandal that erupted this year when his former
attorney general said he pressured her to halt the prosecution of a Quebec
company. Trudeau has said he was standing up for jobs, but the damage gave a
boost to the Conservative Party.
Trudeau's Liberals will likely rely on the New Democrats to form a new
government and pass legislation. Opposition New Democrat leader Jagmeet Singh
said early Tuesday he had congratulated Trudeau and vowed to play a
constructive role in Parliament.
Wiseman, from the University of Toronto, said Monday's results left the
Conservatives deeply disappointed.
"They had an opportunity here to win," he said.
Scheer had promised to end a national carbon tax and cut government
spending, including foreign aid, by 25%.
Trudeau embraced immigration at a time when the U.S. and other countries are
closing their doors, and he legalized cannabis nationwide.
His efforts to strike a balance on the environment and the economy have been
criticized by both the right and left. He brought in a carbon tax to fight
climate change but rescued a stalled pipeline expansion project to get
Alberta's oil to international markets.
His also negotiated a new free trade deal for Canada with the U.S. and
Mexico amid threats by U.S. President Donald Trump to scrap it.
Trump, who has clashed with Trudeau over trade, tweeted his congratulations
early Tuesday, saying, "Canada is well served."
Pat Gill, a Vancouver retiree, said she voted for Trudeau.
"I think people know he's made some mistakes," said Gill, who is 74. "I'm
hoping he's learned in the last four years. I still think he's our best bet."