When Canadians went to the polls on Monday, they sent a clear message to Justin Trudeau and his Liberal Party. The message is that they were by-and-large unhappy with his government and how it has operated over the past term.
Canadians weren’t so unhappy that they chose to elect a Conservative government under Andrew Scheer, and the Liberals will be forming a minority government. The Conservatives, however, bolstered by strong showings in Saskatchewan and Alberta, won the popular vote.
The Liberals received 33.06 percent of the popular vote and won 157 seats in the House of Commons, while the Conservatives received 34.4 percent of the popular vote, but only won 121 seats in the House. Jagmeet Singh’s New Democratic Party received 15.9 percent of the popular vote and won 24 seats, while the Bloc Québécois won 32 seats with only 7.7 percent of the popular vote. This is the first time since 1979 that the party which won the most votes didn’t win the most seats.
Canadian voters are divided from east and west. The Liberals won three-quarters of their seats from Quebec and Ontario, while the Conservatives dominated Alberta and Saskatchewan so vompletely that the Liberals didn’t win a single seat in those two provinces.
Canadian voters definitely sent a message to Trudeau that he and his party need to be better if they hope to stay in power. The past year-and-a-half has been very difficult for Trudeau.
When he came to power in 2015, he touted that he and his party would do government differently. He also said that his government’s relationship with Indigenous Peoples was its most important relationship.
Fast-forward to 2019. Trudeau lost two key Cabinet ministers in Jody Wilson-Raybould and Jane Philpott. They both resigned from the Trudeau Cabinet as fallout from the SNC Lavalin affair. More recently, the Trudeau government has filed a formal appeal to the Canadian Human Rights Tribunals decision to ordering the federal government to pay $40,000 per child taken from homes and communities under the on-reserve child welfare system.
Another one of the Trudeau promises was to implement the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples during the 2015 campaign. But soon after his election, Trudeau had his then-Attorney General Wilson-Raybould tell the world that implementing the UNDRIP was unworkable within the context of Canadian law.
The federal government under Justin Trudeau has thus far failed to follow through on some of its most basic promises. There are still years-long boil water advisories in First Nations communities to the point that communities like Attawapiskat have declared water crises.
With this re-election, coupled with a minority government, Trudeau has received a second chance from his constituents to show that he can do government differently. He has a second chance to show Indigenous Peoples in Canada that his government’s relationship with their nations are indeed his government’s most important relationship.
It’s not often that people get second chances in life, hopefully Trudeau won’t squander this chance.