Justin Trudeau will be Canada’s next prime minister after leading the Liberal Party to a stunning majority government win, dashing the hopes of Stephen Harper, who had been seeking his fourth consecutive mandate, CBC News has projected.
Speaking to his supporters, Harper made no mention about his political future, but the head of the Conservative Party released a statement indicating that the prime minister asked him to reach out to the caucus to name an interim leader.
“The people are never wrong,” Harper told his supporters, adding that he accepts the results without hesitation.
This will be the second time Canada will be led by a Trudeau, as the Liberal leader follows in the footsteps of his father, Pierre Elliott Trudeau, who served as prime minister for almost 16 years before retiring in 1984.
The Tories will form the Official Opposition, moving Tom Mulcair’s NDP to third-party status.
While the results are a stinging rebuke to Harper, who based his party’s campaign largely on questioning Trudeau’s readiness to lead, it’s a total reversal of political fortunes for the Liberals. The party suffered a crushing loss in 2011 and held only 36 seats at the time of Parliament’s dissolution.
Now, the Liberals are leading or elected in more than 180 ridings, having won seats in every province and taking the lead in all provinces except Alberta and Saskatchewan. The Tories were leading or elected in more than 100 seats, while the NDP was at 35. The Bloc, meanwhile, was leading or elected in 10 seats.
The Liberals were leading with 40 per cent of the popular vote, followed by the Conservatives with 32 per cent. The NDP dropped to only 18 per cent.
In Ontario, key to the victory, the Liberal Party was leading or elected in around 80 seats, and was also ahead in Quebec, where Liberals had been declared the winners in more than two dozen ridings and were leading in several more.
The Liberals were leading in Ontario’s big cities, but also outside the urban centres, especially in the suburban 905 area around Toronto.
The Conservatives had held 159 seats in the 308-seat House of Commons and the NDP had 95, with another 18 seats either vacant, held by Independents or shared between the Green Party (two seats) and the Bloc Québécois and a splinter group.
Because of population growth, 30 new seats have been added this election, including 15 in Ontario, six each for Alberta and British Columbia and three more for Quebec.
Tonight’s results also dealt a severe blow to the NDP, which at the beginning of the 11-week campaign was considered a front-runner, but was on the path to lose 50 seats in Quebec, which in the last election was a significant source of the so-called orange wave.
Mulcair, who gave no hint about his political future, told his supporters tonight that the election has been about change, that Canadians had voted to turn the page on 10 years of Harper government and rejected “the politics of fear and division.”
He said Trudeau made ambitious commitments and Canadians will have high expectations for their next Parliament.
The Liberal Party jumped to a solid lead early in the evening, as results suggested it would paint Atlantic Canada red and sweep the entire region.
The losses for the Conservatives include two cabinet ministers: Conservative Fisheries and Oceans Minister Gail Shea in P.E.I. and Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Minister Bernard Valcourt in New Brunswick.
Among other significant losses include Peter MacKay’s former riding in Central Nova, a riding that the former defence minister had held since 1997. Meanwhile, the NDP was poised to lose all six seats it has held.
Meanwhile, across the country, some people attempting to vote have reported a number of problems. Many of these reports have originated on Twitter and Facebook and have not been independently confirmed by CBC News.
There have been several reports of people being told that the identification they brought with them was not sufficient to cast a ballot, even when the identification was a driver’s licence, which according to Elections Canada’s website is adequate. Some people on social media also complained that Elections Canada volunteers seemed unprepared to handle the workload of the day. (CBC News)