We knew from the start that Justin Trudeau had little chance of regaining a majority in the House of Commons. The question was and remains to know if we will leave him another.
It is possible to bounce back after losing your majority, as Trudeau Sr. did in 1974. In 1980, he even managed to regain power after being sent into opposition nine months earlier and announcing his departure.
After the PLQ had elected only seven more deputies than the ADQ in March 2007, Jean Charest was not given a lot of money. Philippe Couillard had started to lay the groundwork for a possible candidacy for his succession, when the star of Mr. Charest suddenly regained luster. Fifteen months later, he had “both hands on the wheel” again.
To survive two minority governments would be a real achievement. In the 1960s, Lester B. Pearson, even crowned with a Nobel Peace Prize for having created the peacekeepers, had not succeeded.
Pierre Elliott Trudeau and Jean Charest were real political beasts, even if we can deplore the way in which they used their talents. For six years, the current Prime Minister has not shown that he is of the same kind. After taking advantage of the novelty and prestige of his name in 2015, it has now been two elections in a row that he essentially wins by default.
If it has been unable to get a majority of MPs elected in the face of dull opponents like Andrew Scheer and Erin O’Toole, the Liberals have every reason to believe they had better find another leader. The “sunny lanes” that Mr. Trudeau dangled in 2015 have long since ceased to dazzle anyone.
Erin O’Toole had made the bet to refocus conservative discourse, which was clearly frightening many voters. He lost it. If it were to lead to the same result as two years ago, those who have silently disapproved of this betrayal of their party’s values or who have expressed dissatisfaction by voting for Maxime Bernier’s PPC will want to make him pay. The CCP’s decline in Alberta is telling.
Refocusing is a delicate operation in an ideological party, on the right as well as on the left, where the end does not necessarily justify the means. Thomas Mulcair tried it in 2015 and NDP activists were quick to show him the door after the defeat. It is true that Mr. Mulcair had greatly forced the dose.
The NDP did not win a third of the 103 seats won under Jack Layton in 2011. Its result is significantly lower than that obtained by Mr. Mulcair, who had elected 44 MPs. Still, Jagmeet Singh will be able to sleep in peace, even if his victory was not confirmed in his constituency at the time of this writing. His program may have been loosely put together, but he said what the activists wanted to hear.
The spectacle of self-destruction that the Green Party has been offering for months is infinitely sad. Although she has focused all of her energies in her riding of Toronto Center, Annamie Paul has been crushed there and will quickly disappear from the scene.
Maxime Bernier has the great advantage that there is no one in his party to kick him out. You probably have to get used to the idea of seeing it hanging out in the landscape for a long time.
Yves-François Blanchet dreamed in color when he spoke of 40 constituencies. Without the stupidity of Shachi Kurl and the consortium which organized the debate in English, how many seats would the Bloc have lost? He will now have to come to terms with the PQ.
François Legault, who wanted the election of a conservative government, also lost his bet, but the most important thing for him was to prevent the Liberals from regaining a majority. With such a weak government, Mr. Trudeau will only be able to cause limited damage.
Mr. Legault would certainly have liked to appear before the electorate in a year, boasting of the few concessions that Mr. O’Toole was willing to make, but he also likes himself in the role of defender of the powers of Quebec and the identity of the nation against the attacks of the wokes, whether they are in Ottawa or Quebec.