Canada’s federal election has come and gone. At its conclusion, the evening of October 21, party leaders Justin Trudeau, Andrew Scheer and Jagmeet Singh all claimed part of the victory, while most would agree that all three lost. Trudeau and his Liberal Party lost dozens of seats, falling back into a minority government with 157 seats. Scheer was unable to gain traction in cities like Toronto or Montreal, which caused his Conservative Party to end up short with 121 seats. While Singh was able to capitalize on some momentum near the end of the campaign, his New Democratic caucus was nearly cut in half, going from 44 seats to 24 seats. The Bloc Quebecois was the clear winner of the evening, increasing their seat total to 32 seats and becoming the third-largest party in the House of Commons. The Green Party also made some gains, electing their third-ever Member of Parliament and their first from outside British Columbia.
The two main issues that arose during the campaign were climate change and affordability. These issues will likely predict the early direction of the new government. Over 200 Members of Parliament were elected under a banner that supports carbon pricing, meaning it is likely the price will continue to increase over the coming years to combat climate change. Income tax cuts, increases to the Canada child benefit, and support for homebuyers will also dominate the government’s new agenda.
Scheer and Singh will mostly be focused on their own jobs in the months to come. While Scheer faces a leadership renewal in April 2020, Singh must convince his colleagues that he should continue leading the party that had worse results than those in 2015 that ended Thomas Mulcair’s leadership.
For the equipment industry, there are many platform promises from multiple parties that should be of interest. First, the Liberal Party has committed to continue building the Trans Mountain Pipeline, for which they will most likely get support from the Conservatives. Second, the Liberals have committed to continue supporting apprenticeships through funding. Third, their infrastructure plan, including the Canada Infrastructure Bank, will remain untouched.
The main challenge the new government will face is their ability to work across party lines, especially for their first budget in early 2020. The Liberals will be able to work with the NDP on many social issues that overlap, such as carbon pricing, support for indigenous peoples and support for working-class families. Should the Bloc Quebecois continue to market itself as nationalist over separatist, then the Liberals will be able to also work with them on policies dealing with the economy, and especially Quebec-specific issues. With not a single Member of Parliament from all of Alberta or Saskatchewan, the Liberals will have to show how to work with, and represent, those provinces’ interests.
The remainder of 2019 will see a cabinet swearing-in ceremony and likely a week of sitting in the House of Commons, where the Liberals will deliver their Speech from the Throne, which will direct their agenda for the years to come. They will also move ahead with their promised income tax cut and possibly other campaign promises, which can be easily supported by other parties. The following years will be challenging for the new government but will present many opportunities for cooperative policymaking with other parties and other associations.