Canadians say they welcome Liberal leader Justin Trudeau’s shock election win over Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s Conservatives.
MONTREAL, QUEBEC, CANADA (OCTOBER 20, 2015) (CBC) – Canadians across the country on Tuesday (October 20) said they were happy with the previous night’s election result, which saw Liberal leader Justin Trudeau surge to a stunning majority victory, toppling Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s Conservatives with a promise of change.
“I mean, I will give former prime minister — I love saying that — former Prime Minister Harper one thing,” said a voter on the streets of Halifax. “He energized the voters. Not the way he wanted, but he energized the voters.”
A woman in Montreal agreed, saying she was happy despite her party not winning. “At least Stephen Harper is not there anymore,” she said.
Harper conceded defeat and the Conservative party announced his resignation, ending a nine-year run in power and the 56-year-old’s brand of fiscal and cultural conservatism that voters appeared to sour on.
The Liberals seized a Parliamentary majority, a turn in political fortunes that smashed the record for the number of seats gained from one election to the next. The center-left Liberals had been a distant third place party before this election.
“I guess it’s the negative that drives people, right?” said another Halifax voter of the results. “If you’re content, you know, you’re content, and if you’re not content you say so. I’d say that’s what that demonstrated.”
The photogenic son of former Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau pledged to run a C$10 billion annual budget deficit for three years to invest in infrastructure and help stimulate Canada’s anemic economic growth.
This rattled financial markets ahead of the vote and the Canadian dollar weakened on news of his victory.
Trudeau has said he will repair Canada’s cool relations with the Obama administration, withdraw Canada from the combat mission against Islamic State militants in favor of humanitarian aid and training, and tackle climate change.
Trudeau vaulted from third place to lead the polls in the final days of the campaign, and will now return to the Prime Minister’s residence in Ottawa where he grew up as a child.
Liberal supporters at the party’s campaign headquarters broke into cheers and whistles when television projected that Trudeau would be the next prime minister.
The Conservatives become the official opposition in Parliament, with the left-leaning New Democratic Party in third.
The NDP’s fall was highlighted in Quebec, where it had the majority of its seats, while the separatist Bloc Quebecois won 10 seats, up from just two previously. BQ leader Gilles Duceppe, however, failed to win a seat.
The Liberals’ win marks a swing toward a more multilateral approach in global politics by the Canadian government, which has distanced itself from the United Nations in recent years.
The former teacher took charge of the party just two years ago and guided it out of the political wilderness with a pledge of economic stimulus and stirring appeals for a return to social liberalism.