Calgary’s a sea blue with one red seat at the table

It’s 2019 all over again: Liberals form a minority government for the second election in a row and local political scientists say this doesn’t bode well for Justin Trudeau.

By Krista Sylvester | September 21, 2021 |7:33 am

Prime Minister Justine Trudeau and been reelected for the third time.

Photo: @Liberalca // Instagram

The more things change, the more they stay the same. 

Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau was re-elected as prime minister but Canadians stopped short of giving him unlimited power as the party will only form a minority government for the second election in a row. 

“Very similar results as 2019. I mean, there are seats that have shifted from one party to the other, but it’s very close to the 2019 results,” says local political scientist Duane Bratt.

“And you have to ask yourself, what are we doing here? To go through all of this in an unnecessary election and get a very similar result.” 

What it means for the parties 

It’s a lacklustre result for the Liberals, Bratt says, adding these results do not bode well for Trudeau who was looking to capitalize on an early election in hopes of attaining a majority government. 

“I think it’s going to be difficult for him to go into another election. This is back-to-back minority governments. He called it, he called it to go to a majority. And he’s not doing it. He didn’t succeed.”

Bratt says there will be pressure on Trudeau to step down and make room for a new LIberal leader. 

“Not right away, but I think it will happen. He’s polling below the party. The party is doing better than Justin Trudeau. 

Trudeau faced criticism from opposition and critics for calling the election in the midst of the fourth — and worst — wave of the pandemic and Canadians made their voices heard at the polls. 

Now, Trudeau and the Liberals will need the support of other parties in order to govern. 

As for Erin O’Toole and the Conservative party, Bratt says it’s harder to discern what will happen. 

“You know, it’s a bit tougher there. And what we’ll have to see, you know, for the first three weeks of the campaign, I thought that he did a good job, but he really stumbled the last two,” Bratt says, adding there could have been some outside influences. 

“How much of that was Jason Kenney? I think there’s gonna be a lot of finger-pointing in the conservative camp after this.”

What it means for Calgary 

In Calgary, there were three ridings expected to be tight races but by the end of the night, only one remained that way amid a sea of blue: Calgary-Skyview, which ended up being called for Chahal before midnight by many media outlets. 

Political scientist Lori Williams says that riding was expected to be close and the fact it flipped to red is monumental for the city.

“We knew that Alberta would be a sea of blue. That’s just the way it goes,” she says. “The majority of the seats will go to the Conservatives, but it is significant and somewhat of an indication of the diversity of Alberta sort of bubbling through the surface here and there.” 

She says Chahal’s projected win means Calgary gets to have a seat at the table in Ottawa. 

“It means we’re likely to see a voice at the cabinet table, and looking at what Calgary, in particular, is facing in the future, I think it’s going to be important and significant.” 

As of the deadline, the Liberals held 156 seats for a minority government, while Conservatives had 122 seats, the NDP held 27, the Bloc Quebecois held 31, and the Green Party held 2.  

You can find the latest numbers here and the full live coverage of the 44th Canadian Election by our Calgary Citizen team here

Krista Sylvester

Reporter at Calgary Citizen

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