The 42nd Canadian Federal elections propelled 43-year-old Liberal Party leader Justin Trudeau into the position as the Prime Minister-elect of the country as it delivered a clear verdict, with his party winning an unexpected majority in the House of Commons (the country’s equivalent of the Indian Lok Sabha) and set to form the Government.
While pre-poll projections were for a close fought contest, the Liberals defied predictions to garner a clear majority, winning 184 seats in the 338-member House. In doing so, the party gained over 150 seats when compared to the 2011 elections and increased its vote share by almost 14 points to touch the 40% mark.
Pundits expected a night-long vigil, but by 10.40pm (local time), the national broadcaster, CBC, had declared a Liberal majority, ushering in Canada’s first dynasty, as Justin Trudeau emulates his father Pierre Trudeau who was the country’s prime minister for over 15 years, starting in 1968.
In his victory speech in Montreal, Trudeau, who will become the 23rd Prime Minister of the North American nation, said: “For three years we had a very old fashioned strategy, we met with and talked with as many Canadians as we could and we listened. We won this election because we listened. We did the hard work of slogging it across the country.”
In a message of unity, he said, “Leadership is about bringing people of all different perspectives together.” Joined on the podium by his wife Sophie Gregoire-Trudeau, he was clear the electorate had bought into his campaign mantra of Real Change.
Harper, meanwhile, assumed responsibility for the defeat of his Conservative, which included the downfall of several members of the outgoing Cabinet, including Indo-Canadian Minister of State Bal Gosal. The Tories total seats dropped from 166 to 99, while their vote share dipped by about six points to 32%.
Another victim of what is being described as Trudeaumania was the upending of the fortunes of the third national party, the New Democratic Party. In 2011, it had emerged as the principal Opposition, relegating the Liberals to third position, with 103 seats. Four years later, it is likely to have only 44 MPs.
Trudeau in his remarks stressed he would lead “a government that believes deeply in the diversity of this country”.