Wednesday, 22 September 2021 04:00

Trudeau begins third term weakened at helm of Canada minority government Featured

Justin Trudeau’s snap election gamble has landed the Canadian leader back at square one: reelected without a majority, the liberal prime minister will once more need backing from opposition rivals to govern.

His Liberals were leading or elected in 158 out of 338 electoral districts, according to official projections Tuesday morning (21 September).

The Conservatives, with 119 seats, will return to Ottawa as official opposition, while Trudeau will need to try to secure support from smaller factions — the separatist Bloc Quebecois (with 34 seats) or the leftist New Democrats (25) — to pass his agenda.

Before going back to work, Trudeau gladhanded commuters at a subway station in his Montreal electoral district of Papineau. “It is I who thank you,” he told supporters, snapping selfies with a few.

“I am very happy with the way he managed the pandemic” and “am happy to know that it is he who will get us out of it,” said Giugetta Iovino.

Others reminded him of their high expectations. “I’m counting on you to act for the environment!” called out a young woman.

In a victory speech late Monday, Trudeau said he heard loud and clear: “You just want to get back to the things you love and not worry about this pandemic, or about an election.”

He acknowledged that Canadians voted for “your members of Parliament of all stripes (to) have your back in this crisis, and beyond.”

At the same time, the prime minister leaned on Canadians to embrace bold new measures, saying: “The moment we face demands real important change and you have given this parliament and this government clear direction.”

European Council President Charles Michel was among the first offer congratulations to Trudeau, tweeting: “In these times we need solid friendships to promote multilateral solutions, and build on our strong cooperation and shared values.”

My warmest congratulations to you dear @JustinTrudeau on your re-election as Prime minister of Canada