Federal election 2021: a setback would not be a defeat, argue the liberals

Federal election 2021: a setback would not be a defeat, argue the liberals
Federal election 2021: a setback would not be a defeat, argue the liberals

” I heard you. Justin Trudeau deems he now has a “clear mandate” to implement his “progressive” post-pandemic promises, at the end of a summer election campaign that did little to change the Canadian political map, leaving the minority Liberal government in Parliament.

“You don’t feel like talking about politics and elections anymore. You want us to focus on what we have to do ”, interpreted Justin Trudeau in front of approximately 200 supporters handpicked in a conference room of the hotel The Queen Elizabeth, in Montreal, shortly after one hour of the day. morning, Tuesday.

The re-elected prime minister delivered a unifying speech, promising in particular to take into account the voters who voted for his opponents. He thanked his mother, his wife Sophie and his children, before quoting the former Prime Minister Wilfrid Laurier, according to whom we must now look to the future for “a new, brighter day”.

Justin Trudeau had arrived at the hotel in the late afternoon accompanied by his family, wearing sandals, a camisole and three-quarter length pants, a gym bag in his hand, and his son Xavier on the other. He had to know the popular verdict, namely whether he would succeed in his bet to form a majority government, or at least to elect enough deputies to have a “strong mandate” to face the pandemic and its aftermath.

Sober evening of victory

Inside Queen Elizabeth, hardly any liberal activist spent their evening in the room where Justin Trudeau was to speak, health restrictions oblige. Journalists and television network crews were the only ones to get busy in front of a stage decorated with two large Canadian flags and a screen showing the Liberal slogan: “Let’s move forward together”.

The evening promised to be long. Well aware of the latest polls, the Liberals expected a mixed victory: to come first in number of seats, but still remain in minority territory. As the forecasts suggested, the Liberal deputation in Ottawa should ultimately be identical, or almost identical, to that of 2019 (157 elected, including 155 in office before the dissolution of the House in August). The Liberals still wanted to present the final score as a success.

“It is a privilege to lead Canada. I am not going to be choosy because he has a minority mandate, ”the government House leader Pablo Rodriguez was already saying before the results were known. The deputy for Honoré-Mercier, later easily re-elected, refused to qualify as a “defeat” a possible decline of his party in number of seats.

“It is never a defeat when people trust us to lead the destinies of Canada. It is never a defeat. “

The publication of the first results in the Atlantic suggested a decline of a few seats for the Liberals. The giant screens showed images of long queues at polling stations. No activist had yet arrived at Queen Elizabeth to react to the publication of results from Quebec, Ontario, Manitoba and Alberta. Gradually, the maps of the 78 ridings of Quebec and the fifty ridings of the Greater Toronto Area began to color, on the large screens illuminating the room which would be almost empty without the media. No one was applauding.

Few changes in Quebec

In the end, the results in Quebec varied very little from those of the previous election. Several Liberal ministers and MPs were reelected or were well ahead at the time of this writing. This is the case of Diane Lebouthillier (Gaspésie – Les Îles-de-la-Madeleine), Élisabeth Brière (Sherbrooke), François-Philippe Champagne (Saint-Maurice – Champlain), Jean-Yves Duclos (Quebec) and Soraya Martinez Ferrada (Hochelaga).

Minister Steven Guilbeault had a lead of a few hundred votes in Laurier – Sainte-Marie, as did Florence Gagnon in Longueuil – Saint-Hubert. Liberal MP Brenda Shanahan was trailing behind in Châteauguay-Lacolle, behind Bloc member Patrick O’Hara.

As it became clear that Justin Trudeau’s troops would elect the largest number of MPs to the Commons, it was very uncertain all evening that the Liberal Party would elect more MPs than in the previous Parliament.

“I think people have spoken this evening, and the population is always right,” declared Mélanie Joly, reacting to the fact that her party did not obtain the hoped-for parliamentary majority. ” They [la population] have told us two things tonight: they want a progressive government, and they also want us to work with the other parties. ”

Pablo Rodriguez assures us that the leadership of his leader will not emerge weakened from the democratic exercise that he himself has launched. Justin Trudeau still has the support of the caucus and the Liberal members, “100%,” he said. Invited to comment on the progress of the liberal electoral campaign, which was bombarded with questions on the merits of calling summer elections in the midst of a pandemic and which experienced a crescendo of hostile demonstrations, Pablo Rodriguez retains a salient fact: the question by the moderator of the debate in English.

“What I had not planned was the debate in English, which I, as a Quebecer, shocked me deeply, with this question,” he said. At the end of the campaign, Justin Trudeau multiplied his declarations of attachment to Quebec, even demanding an apology from host Shachi Kurl for a question deemed insulting to Quebecers.

Surprised and disappointed by the support of the Premier of Quebec, François Legault, Pablo Rodriguez assures us that his government will in no way modify its commitments for Quebec. “We will work together, we are used to working together,” added Mélanie Joly.

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