Canadian general election presents deep political divide

William Paul Ellis | Staff Writer

Despite losing the popular vote, Justin Trudeau has been elected as the Prime Minister of Canada for a second term.

The Canadian General Election, which took place Oct. 21, was held to elect a prime minister and members of the Canadian Parliament. According to the National Post, this is only the second time in Canada’s history that a party has been tasked with leading the government without winning the popular vote.

The Liberal Party, led by Trudeau, won 157 of the 338 seats available in Parliament. While this was the highest number of seats won by any party, it was still less than the 170 needed to win the majority.

The Liberal Party’s main opposition, the Conservative Party led by Andrew Scheer, won the popular vote and captured 26 new seats in Parliament.

Many think the election’s somewhat shocking results have revealed an intense shift of political support among the Canadian people that will force the nation’s politics to become more polarized than ever before.

According to the New Statesman, the remaining two most popular parties, the Liberal and Conservative parties both polled at the lowest rate in years, allowing for a strong increase in third-party representation in parliament.

Much of the Liberal Party’s loss of popularity can be credited to Prime Minister Trudeau’s waning popularity due to several governmental missteps and recent controversies.

In September, photos surfaced of Trudeau wearing blackface in 2001 during his time as a private school teacher. According to USA Today, Trudeau wore the costume as a part of an “Arabian Nights” themed party.

Condemning his own actions, Trudeau said, “This was something that was unacceptable and yes, racist. I take responsibility for my decision to do that, I shouldn’t have done it, I should’ve known better.”

Trudeau would also go on to admit that this incident was not his first time wearing blackface. He wore it in a high school talent show while performing as American actor and singer Harry Belafonte.

Earlier this year, Trudeau also received heavy criticism for his administration’s handling of a major corruption investigation.

According to CNN, former Canadian Minister of Justice Jody Wilson-Raybould claimed that she had been pressured to assist SNC-Lavalin, a Montreal construction company and major employer in Canada, in avoiding major prosecution for allegedly bribing Libyan officials for government contracts.

This incident furthered the belief among voters that Trudeau, once the young star of the Liberal Party, has disillusioned voters by guaranteeing promises he would not be able to fulfill.

Hampton University junior Eddy Baldwin thinks the recent Canadian Federal Election proves that political issues even happen in countries that are commonly believed to be more “peaceful.”

“I think it is really interesting that Canada electing a new government would cause so many issues, and it just shows that America isn’t the only place that needs reform when it comes to elections and the government,” Baldwin said.

Trudeau’s cabinet will be sworn in Nov. 20, which will officially start his second term as prime minister.


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