Canadians will continue to question why an election was called during a pandemic since the final seat tally looks almost the same as it was when the House of Commons was dissolved in early August.

After a 36-day campaign and a $610-million election, the Liberal party led by Justin Trudeau will continue to have a minority government.

As of 11 a.m. ET, Liberal candidates were leading or elected in 158 ridings, an addition of just one seat when compared with the 2019 contest.

In his victory speech in Montreal, Trudeau said Canadians are “sending us back to work with a clear mandate to get Canada through this pandemic and to brighter days ahead.

“I hear you when you say you just want to get back to the things you love and not worry about this pandemic or about an election,” he added. “Your members of Parliament of all stripes will have your back in this crisis and beyond. Canadians are able to get around any obstacle and that is exactly what we will continue to do.”

Even though pre-election polls had the two main parties running neck and neck, Conservative leader Erin O’Toole didn’t manage to steer his party to a win. In fact the Tories are on track to win in 119 ridings — two fewer seats than the party won under former Conservative leader Andrew Scheer.

But even though his party saw little to no gains in its vote share and seat count, O’Toole said he had no plans to resign. He vowed to stay at the helm and make another attempt to defeat Trudeau in the next election, which he said could come as soon as 2023.

Election night was just as disappointing for Jagmeet Singh as the NDP is expected to add just one more seat to its 2019 count.

“Friends, I want you to know that our fight will continue,” Singh said in his concession speech while keeping up his rhetoric about making the “ultra rich” pay more in taxes. “We are going to keep on fighting to make sure that the super wealthy pay their fair share,” added Singh.

Green party leader, Annamie Paul was unsuccessful in getting a seat in her Toronto Centre riding and finished a disappointing fourth. The party did however pick up the Kitchener Centre riding where the Liberal candidate Rajinder Saini dropped out amid allegations of harassment.

With nearly 16 million votes counted so far, the Conservatives reportedly have about 34 per cent of the ballots cast while the Liberals have 32 per cent, the NDP nearly 18 per cent and the Green Party has 2.3 per cent.

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