The Liberals managed to clinch onto a minority government as the rest of parliament used their seats to play musical chairs. There were plenty of winners and losers.
As divisions in Canadian multiply, the rise and fall of third parties further changes the state of affairs in Ottawa. While the main narrative of the election was dedicated towards the two dominating parties (Liberals and Conservatives), Monday night also featured unique performance on behalf of other parties vying to break up the red-blue binary.
As the Bloc made a strong return in Quebec, the Bloc Quebecois garnered 22 seats which largely took from NDP and Liberal totals. As the NDP managed to retain its strength in most ridings outside of Quebec (where most of its losses were made), one gain since the last election was made in the riding of St. John’s East, where long-time local politician Jack Harris was able to re-take his seat from Nick Whalen. This represents a reversal of an infamous upset during the 2015 election, where Harris had represented the riding between 1987-1988 and 2008-2015.
Erin Weir, a former NDP member who declared himself a member of the CCF (a long defunct predecessor to the former), did not run for re-election in Regina-Lewvan after allegations of sexual harassment expelled him from the caucus. Weir’s seat was taken by Conservative candidate Warren Steinley.
The Green Party was able to increase their seat count from 2 to 3, resulting in a net gain which had been criticized by some commentators as an underwhelming result. The new addition to the Green assembly is the election of Jenica Atwin in Fredericton, New Brunswick. As Elizabeth May pointed out in her post-election speech, this marked a two thirds majority female caucus within the party.
Maxime Bernier’s campaign ultimately ended in an outright removal from parliament; the sole seat held by the People’s Party of Canada was taken by the Conservative party which it leapt from. In Beauce, Richard Lehoux was able to to win the riding by a near ten point lead. Among the other candidates in the riding was the infamous Rhinoceros party, a satirical organisation, who arranged for another resident named Maxime Bernier (no relation) to compete against the PPC. The ‘faux Max’ was able to gather 1,072 votes, 1.81% of the total riding; it remains to be seen whether this was out of genuine support or confusion amongst PPC voters. Regardless, the votes grabbed by the Rhinos would not have been enough to help the PPC. Despite this dismal turn of events, “Mad Max” has claimed that this is not the end of the party and is apparently planning the future of a party in exile.
Jody Wilson-Raybould was able to successfully hold her seat as an independent subsequent to her departure from the Liberal party in the wake of the SNC-Lavalin affair. This marks the only independent seat attained during the 2019 election.
As Canadian politics charter into new and confusing waters, Trudeau may be encouraged to cooperate with members who otherwise would have been seen as opponents.