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Justin Trudeau Won the Canadian Election, at a Cost

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OTTAWA A day after Prime Minister Justin Trudeau called it a turning point in his country’s history, Canada seems to be back exactly where it started.

Mr Trudeau achieved a small victory on Monday as voters came out on record low, but his share of the ruling Liberal Parties in Parliament remains virtually the same as it was during the last session of Parliament. So does every other party.

This helps explain why some Canadians are calling elections nowhere.

And the winner can come out the loser. Critics say the vote may have undermined Trudeau’s credibility and reinforced the notion of many Canadians that he is a political opportunist.

His job is safe, but I still think he comes out reduced to that in the end, said Andrew McDougall, a professor of political science at the University of Toronto.

When Mr Trudeau called the 36-day shortest campaign allowed by law in August, he said he needed a strong mandate to bring the pandemic to its feet and lead the country towards economic recovery.

Mr Trudeau never explicitly acknowledged that he hoped to increase his popularity by pandemic-dealing governments in the majority in Parliament. But he also never denied it.

However, some questioned the timing of the election and the need.

Prominent Liberals, including his friend and former top political adviser Gerald Butts, argued that Mr. Trudeau never offered a compelling case for a minority parliament to have stopped him from achieving his legislative goals, particularly his large pandemic-related spending programs. While the opposition delayed some of Mr Trudeaus’s measures, the only legislation he introduced that did not pass were bills still unresolved when Parliament was dissolved at Mr Trudeaus’s request for a vote.

Anger over the prime ministers’ decision to call an election haunted him throughout the campaign. So did apathy.

Some polls found that few voters were paying much attention, especially before Labor Day, when it seems most nations turned to beaches, boats and barbecues.

Although the election was the most costly in Canadian history, it cost $ 600 million in Canadian voter turnout, which is likely to remain unchanged when the final results come out, it was 58.44 percent, the lowest ever.

During the campaign itself, Mr. Trudeau tried to find an issue that clearly distinguished him from his closest rival, Erin OToole.

The first Conservative leader from Ontario, the most populous province in more than half a century, Mr. OToole devised a new platform for his party that in many key respects differed from Mr. Trudeaus only in scope and detail. Then, when it appeared during the campaign that Trudeau was gaining attention by condemning a conservative promise to repeal the Liberals ban on 1,500 models of assault-style rifles, Mr OToole lifted it, if conditionally.

Mr Trudeau was similarly unable to make progress by defending his climate change measures, including the introduction of a national carbon tax, to his advantage.

Ahead of the campaign, record-breaking heat waves swept across parts of Western Canada, bringing deaths and wildfires out of control, including what consumed a town in British Columbia. He put climate change at the top of the list of concerns for Canadian voters.

But in an effort to attract moderate voters to the Conservative Party, Mr. OToole relinquished its longstanding opposition to carbon taxes, which had been fueled by the party power base in Alberta, the home of the oil sands. Mr OToole issued a proposal for a carbon tax as part of a package of climate measures.

This underestimated Mr. Trudeaus’ efforts to argue that the Conservatives did not have a credible plan to mitigate climate change.

The Conservative Party has introduced a more ambitious platform than in 2019, in part to remove it from the agenda, said Kathryn Harrison, a professor of political science at the University of British Columbia.

At the end of the campaign, Mr. OToole gave Mr. Trudeau an opening, and mr. Trudeau jumped on him. The Conservative leader voiced opposition to Mr Trudeaus’s mandatory vaccination and vaccine passport plans, a stance far beyond what polls show is the Canadian consensus.

Trudeau tried to use the vaccine mandates as a wedge, and it worked quite efficiently, said Duane Bratt, a political scientist at Mount Royal University in Halifax.

But perhaps not as efficient as it should be.

While the final results are days away, Mr. Trudeaus The Liberals were 158 seats, just one more than came out after the 2019 vote and very few of the 170 seats needed to control Parliament. The Conservatives had 119 votes, two less than before.

The Conservative really scored a symbolic victory: They won the majority of the popular vote. But the concentration of conservative support in places like Alberta meant that it did not translate into the largest number of countries.

The new Democrats under Jagmeet Singh, whose support Trudeau will need again to govern, won a new seat and now have 25. The Qubcois bloc came out with 34 seats, a two-win.

With the distribution of power roughly the same as before, Mr. Trudeau will be forced to govern as he did during the last session of Parliament.

The new center-left Democrats will probably try to push Mr Trudeau to pass some of their proposals in exchange for their votes. But Mr. Singhs’s powers are limited. His only alternative if opposed would be to force governments to fall and hold other elections or to support the Conservatives, his ideological opponents.

The Qubcois bloc may also support some liberal bills. But Trudeau will not seek the support of the group, which supports Quebec independence.

Although Mr Trudeau and the Liberals will return to Parliament a little worse for the dress, there is no sign that anyone within the party plans to challenge his leadership, even in the wake of what turned out to be, at best, an election. ill-conceived call.

Mr. Trudeau is the son of Pierre Elliott Trudeau, the famous prime minister and famous liberal polarizer. When the younger Trudeau took the reins, the party had ruled Canada longer than any other, but it had dropped to third place. Many political commentators had it in an hour of death.

The 2015 elections came.

The young Trudeau, who remains Canada’s political celebrity, not only revived the party, but suddenly took it to power by a large margin.

The result, said Lori Turnbull, who teaches political science at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia, is that by 2021, the Liberal Party is under the absolute control of Justin Trudeau. Her political brand, and his personal one, have become the same.

Loyalty to the party is really loyalty to him, which will be really hard when people start to think about who will be the successor, Ms. Turnbull said. But now, if you are part of that movement, then you are all-encompassing with it.

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