Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his Liberals appear poised to return to power as a minority government that will lean on support from smaller parties that may push for stronger environmental policies.
Preliminary results from the October 21 federal elections have the Liberals coming around 158 seats – well shy of the 170 votes needed to command a majority in parliament. They need support from the left-leaning New Democratic Party (NDP) and resurgent Bloc Quebecois.
“From coast to coast to coast, tonight, Canadians rejected division and negativity. They rejected cuts and austerity, and they voted in favor of a progressive agenda and strong action on climate change,” Trudeau told supporters in Montreal early on October 22.
Conservatives, who had made the federal carbon tax a central issue, appear to have picked up at least 20 seats, but their gains were less substantial than polls predicted.
The return of Trudeau and the Liberals to the government ensures that the carbon taxes will remain. The NDP and Bloc will likely back spending to fight climate change and resist pipeline projects, including the Trans Mountain expansion underway.
The results also point to deepening regional divisions. The Liberals appear set to lose its three members of Parliament from Alberta, where legislation covering an oil tanker ban and new restrictions on energy have brought ire from an already conservative province.
Trudeau will be eager to see the passage of the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement once the next Parliament is in session.