Canadian Prime Minister keeps the wheel but prepares for left turn

Vastavam web: Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau hung onto power on Tuesday, after a tight election reduced his Liberal government to a minority, a result that will likely push his agenda to the left while alienating energy producing provinces. Trudeau, one of the world’s most prominent progressive politicians, struggled with domestic scandals that dented his popularity among Canadians and led to a drop in the Liberal vote across the country on Monday.

The Liberals won or were leading in 157 of the country’s 338 electoral districts, a drop of 20 from where they stood going into the election, preliminary results showed. The party also trailed the main opposition Conservatives in the popular vote by just over a percentage point. The election was a disappointment for Conservative leader Andrew Scheer, who had promised to balance the federal budget and eliminate a “carbon tax” on fossil fuels.

NDP leader Jagmeet Singh is positioned to press for action on priorities such as more social spending on housing and healthcare. “Those are going to continue to be our priorities. Canadians elected us with that responsibility and I take it very seriously,” Singh said in Burnaby, British Columbia. “I’m hoping that Mr. Trudeau respects the fact that there’s a minority government now, which means we’ve got to work together.”

The NDP also could push Trudeau’s government to do more to combat climate change. Additional pressure for such action will come from the Greens, who won three seats. The Canadian dollar weakened against the greenback on Tuesday and the heavily-weighted energy sector fell on the Toronto stock market, as investors worried it would now be more difficult to build new oil pipelines.

Minority governments in Canada rarely last more than 2-1/2 years. The New Democrats struck deals to help keep Liberal minority governments in power from 1972-1974 and in 2005.