It was called “the most uncertain federal election in decades,” but at the end of the night, the outcome was what many pundits had predicted: a Liberal minority government. The Liberals won 157 out of 338 seats—27 fewer seats than in 2015, and 13 seats less than the 170 needed to form a majority government. The Conservatives trailed with 121 seats (picking up 22 seats from 2015), followed by the Bloc Québécois with 32 seats (up 22 seats), the NDP with 24 seats (down 20 seats), the Green Party with three seats (up two seats) and one independent seat. Not a single candidate in Maxime Bernier’s People’s Party of Canada won a seat, including Bernier himself.
Here’s what you need to know about what happened last night—and about our new Liberal minority government.
The Bloc Québécois had a huge night
After winning only 10 seats in 2015, the Bloc came roaring back to win 32 seats in 2019 under Yves-François Blanchet’s leadership. So what does this mean? While leaving Canada is currently off the menu, Quebeckers want a party that best represents their values. These values align with a Liberal government when it comes to climate change, but not with Bill 21—the controversial bill passed with the support of the Parti Québécois in June, says Rosie Barton, senior political correspondent at CBC and co-host of The National. (The bill bans teachers, police officers, judges and many others in public sector jobs from wearing items like hijabs, turbans, kippas, and crucifixes at work.)
“What if we get to a place where the federal government decides it does want to intervene?” asks Barton, who also spoke to Chatelaine in advance of election night. “How does the Bloc Québécois respond in a Parliamentary setting?” Trudeau has said that a federal government “might” have to intervene on Bill 21, which could lead to a serious divide with French Canada.