Federal Election 2019: Canada needs more Canada
November 7, 2019
On October 21, 2019, Canadians went to the polls to shape the 43rd parliament of our country. The result: Justin Trudeau was once again elected as Prime Minister, but this time with a weaker mandate and a minority government.
The Liberals secured 157 seats in the House of Commons, 13 seats shy of the 170 needed to form a majority. Andrew Scheer and the Conservative Party of Canada secured 121 seats and with that became the official opposition. Jagmeet Singh’s New Democrats secured 24 seats and Yves-François Blanchet’s Bloc Québécois secured 32 seats; together these two parties will hold the balance of power in parliament. The Green Party gained one seat from the last election and now hold three seats in the House, with the last seat of the 338 going to the former Attorney-General Jodi Wilson-Raybould, who ran as an Independent in the 2019 election.
Despite the Liberals earning the most seats, the Conservatives won the popular vote. What this means is the Conservative Party led the way for the biggest share of votes cast in their favour with 6,155,662 votes (34.4 per cent) followed by the Liberals at 5,915,950 votes (33.1 per cent). This is the first time in Canada’s history a party has won enough seats to form a government while holding such a small share of the popular vote, which is clear evidence of a weaker mandate. As expected, Liberal support was much stronger in the eastern provinces, while the Conservatives had much stronger support in the Prairies and Eastern British Columbia.
At home, Albertans sent Ottawa a clear message. All but one riding in Edmonton-Strathcona voted their Conservative representatives, by huge margins, to the House. That one riding elected the NDP candidate. The overwhelming Conservative support led Premier Jason Kenney to issue a statement and a letter to the Prime Minister highlighting his concerns with the Liberal government’s platform direction.
We share some of the concerns of Alberta’s provincial government around the issue of natural resource development. Access to new markets was one of the pillars of our federal election platform. The lack of access created by the delay of the Trans Mountain Pipeline Expansion project has harmed many businesses and adversely impacted investor confidence in our country.
The Chamber has also voiced its opposition to Bill C-48 and C-69, and worked to represent the energy industry’s concerns. We also joined efforts with the Alberta Chambers of Commerce on Bill C-69 to increase advocacy capacity for the issue. And, ultimately, we were disappointed by the federal government’s decision to pass both bills into law.
While the divisive nature of the election results made headlines, the Calgary Chamber of Commerce believes a minority government is an important opportunity for all our elected leaders to reach across the aisle and work together on priority issues. Now, more than ever, we must rally to the ‘AND’ in order to tackle the most pressing issues facing our society.
We believe Canada needs more Canada and the federal government plays a key role in enabling us to realize our potential to be a world leader in natural resource development AND play a meaningful role in fighting climate change globally and nationally. We believe Canada must be allowed access to markets globally and businesses should be free to grow within our country, without limitations of non-tariff trade barriers between provinces. We believe our competitiveness is eroding and our outdated tax system should be improved as a first step in improving our global competitiveness.
Business priorities such as the five pillars of our election platform took a backseat this election and we now look forward to working with the federal government to put policy ahead of politics, to finding common ground and to finally move forward on critical issues that are going to shape and impact our country for years to come.