Ottawa, Oct 22 (IANS) Incumbent Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s Liberal Party has emerged victorious in the tightly contested general elections, and will return to power as a minority government, media reports said on Tuesday.
Speaking to cheering party leaders and followers at the Liberals’ headquarters in Montreal, Trudeau, 47, said early Tuesday that he would always put “this country and its people first”, reports CBC News.
“From coast to coast to coast, tonight Canadians rejected division and negativity. They rejected cuts and austerity. They voted in favour of a progressive agenda and strong action on climate change,” he said.
“We will make life more affordable, we will continue to fight climate change, we will get guns off our streets.
“We seek hardship for none and prosperity for all,” he added.
The Liberals were expected to claim 156 seats, 14 short of a majority. His centre-right Conservative rivals are heading for 122 seats, a marked increase from the 95 it held before.
Despite some early losses in Canada’s eastern provinces, the Liberals won in Atlantic Canada, Quebec and Ontario, giving them a second term in office. The party won a majority (184 seats) in the 2015 polls
Monday’s polls, which took place for 338 ridings or seats, were the country’s 43rd general elections to elect members of the House of Commons.
This federal election was seen as a referendum on Trudeau, who had to apologize not just for wearing blackface during a school event nearly two decades ago, but admitting that he had no idea how many times he had chosen to do so in his life.
Trudeau and his main rival Conservative leader Andrew Scheer were the two top contenders, followed by the New Democrat Party’s (NDP) Jagmeet Singh, the first turban-wearing Sikh to sit as a provincial legislator in Ontario, Green Party leader Elizabeth May, Bloc Quebecois chief Yves-Francois Blanchet and People’s Party of Canada Leader Maxime Bernier.
Scheer, who is yet to concede, told supporters in Regina: “Let’s remember this feeling.”
He implored supporters to use the results of this election “to redouble our efforts” because “Canadians are counting on us”.
Speaking from his home district in Burnaby, British Columbia, Singh acknowledged some disappointing results but focused on the future, the BBC reported.
“When we get back to Ottawa, every single day that we’re in Parliament, New Democrats are going to be working hard to make sure your life is better, that Canadians’ life is better, that peoples’ lives are better,” he said.
Meanwhile, May called the results a “success for the party”. “We enter Parliament as the first caucus… that is two-thirds women. Just saying,” she added.
US President Donald Trump congratulated Trudeau on a “hard fought victory” and he looked forward “to working with you toward the betterment of both of our countries”.