Justin Trudeau wins second term as Canadian Prime Minister

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Trudeau-reelected-retains-power-in-Election-Shares the stage with his wife Photo-Credit-Reuters

New York: Canadian voters have handed Justin Trudeau a second term as Prime Minister, though his center-left Liberal Party lost seats and will go into minority government.

New Democrat leader Jagmeet Singh said his party did not achieve the results it wanted but would “play a constructive and positive role in the new government that Canadians have chosen”.

Trudeau’s victory came despite Trudeau’s victory came, despite a drop in popularity since his landslide triumph in 2015 and the emergence of several photos during the election campaign of him posing in brownface as a young man.

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Conservative leader Andrew Scheer was unable to generate enough enthusiasm among voters to win the seats required to form a government.

The Conservatives’ pledge to repeal the country’s carbon tax failed to resonate with voters in the electorally important suburbs of Ontario and Quebec.

In his victory speech, Trudeau said that he had heard the frustration of Canadians who did not support his party.

“We will govern for everyone regardless of how you cast your ballot,” he said.

“We seek hardship for none and prosperity for all – that is the world we are working towards.”

US President Donald Trump, who has had an often tense relationship with Trudeau, tweeted: “Congratulations to @JustinTrudeau on a wonderful and hard-fought victory. Canada is well served. I look forward to working with you toward the betterment of both of our countries!”

In his concession speech, Scheer predicted that Trudeau’s second term would be short-lived and pointed out that his party won more votes than the Liberals.

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“Tonight Conservatives have put Justin Trudeau on notice,” he said to applause from party loyalists.

“And Mr. Trudeau when your government falls Conservatives will be ready and we will win … We are the government in waiting.”

The polls, which in the final days of the campaign suggested a narrow victory for the Liberals, turned out to be accurate.

The Bloc Québécois, a party devoted to Quebec nationalism, picked up a substantial number of seats in that province, denying the Liberal Party the seats required to form government in its own right.

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The Liberals are forecast to win 156 seats, down from 184 in the past election and short of the 170 needed to win a parliamentary majority.

The Conservatives are expected to win 122 seats, the Bloc Québécois 32 seats and the left-wing New Democrats 23 seats.

The Green Party won three seats.

The Conservatives narrowly won the popular vote with 34 percent, ahead of the Liberals on 33 percent and the New Democrats on 15 percent. But they did not pick up votes in the urban areas where they needed to make significant gains under the country’s first-past-the-post electoral system.

After winning power four years ago, Trudeau created a gender-balanced cabinet and legalised assisted dying and recreational marijuana.

The economy has performed strongly since his 2015 victory, with unemployment at 5.5 percent.

But Trudeau has recently been dogged by scandals, especially the so-called SNC-Lavalin affair.

In August the Canadian Parliament’s ethics commissioner found that Trudeau improperly influenced the then minister of justice and attorney-general to intervene in a criminal case against SNC-Lavalin, a Quebec-based construction company.

The affair led to the downfall of two cabinet ministers and Trudeau’s top advisor.

Earlier this year Trudeau’s approval ratings sank to 28 percent, significantly lower than Trump’s.

“He can’t even remember how many times he put blackface on because the fact of the matter is he’s always wearing a mask,” Scheer said during a campaign leaders’ debate.

The Conservatives tried to capitalise on Trudeau’s unpopularity but failed to expand support beyond their base in western Canada.

Speaking to supporters on Monday night, Bloc Québécois leader Yves-François Blanchet ruled out forming a coalition government with either major party.

But he said his party would work together on policies that improve life for Quebec’s residents.

“This is a Parliament we will have to make work,” he said.

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Writer Matthew Knott is a reporter for The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age based in the United States. This was first published in, “The Age”. TIO did not edit any content

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