Justin Trudeau Scored A Victory, But He’s Facing A More Divided Country

Zi-Ann Lum

MONTREAL — Five days ago, Justin Trudeau slammed his Conservative opponents for one of the “dirtiest, nastiest campaigns” Canada has ever seen. On Monday, the Liberal leader came out on top with enough seats to secure a minority government.

“Coast to coast to coast, tonight, Canadians rejected division and negativity,” he told the crowd at Montreal’s Palais des congrès convention centre, which served as the Liberal party’s election night headquarters.

“They rejected cuts and austerity and they voted in favour of a progressive agenda and strong action on climate change.” 

Canadians gave Liberals a second mandate to continue the work they started in 2015, but a measurable division has emerged. The Liberals were shut out of seats in Alberta and Saskatchewan, prompting Trudeau to specifically reach out to voters there. 

“And to Canadians in Alberta and Saskatchewan, know that you are an essential part of our great country,” the Liberal leader said. “I’ve heard your frustration and I want to be there to support you. Let us all work hard to bring our country together.”

Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau arrives to speak to supporters after the federal election at the Palais des Congres in Montreal on Oct. 22, 2019.

The environment was a major defining issue that differentiated the Liberal and Conservative platforms. The Tories picked up more seats in the Prairies Monday, where voters welcomed the stronger opposition to Trudeau’s climate plan.

Yet the Liberals’ climate plan is exactly why so many young people showed up Monday night in Montreal to cheer on Trudeau.

Chip Smith’s voice was strained from yelling so much as the night’s results rolled in. The McGill history and political science student volunteered with Liberal star candidate Steven Guilbeault’s campaign. He said he heard a lot of concerns about the environment while door knocking in the riding of Laurier–Sainte-Marie in downtown Montreal.

“We also saw that with the turnout for the [climate] strike recently with Greta Thunburg,” said Smith, who cast his first-ever federal vote. 

“I think people know that this is...

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