Canada election: PM Trudeau rules out coalition after election

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau Image copyright Reuters

Canadian PM Justin Trudeau has ruled out forming a coalition government, after his Liberal party lost seats in Monday’s general election.

The Liberals retained power but fell short of a majority.

On Wednesday Mr Trudeau said he would be sitting down with other party leaders to discuss parliamentary support for his minority government.

The prime minister said he remained committed to a controversial oil pipeline expansion project.

The general election saw the Liberals’ representation in the House of Commons reduced from 177 to 157 seats, 13 short of a majority.

In his first public appearance since then, Mr Trudeau said he would be focusing his legislative efforts on issues like climate change and the cost of living – which many voters who supported other parties made clear they still cared about.

The Liberal leader struck a conciliatory note, saying that many involved in the divisive election now “regret the tone” of that campaign.

His Liberal party was completely shut out of two western Canadian provinces – Alberta and Saskatchewan – which nearly exclusively elected Conservative MPs.

Voters there turned away from Mr Trudeau’s party amid complaints that the region’s interests are not represented in the capital, Ottawa, and growing talk of “western alienation” in Canada’s oil-producing heartland.

He took an initial step by confirming his government’s commitment to the Trans Mountain oil pipeline expansion project, which has faced legal hurdles and opposition from environmental campaigners and some First Nations.

The prime minister said he would seek to ensure that the region’s interests are represented in his cabinet.

Two Liberal ministers – Saskatchewan MP Ralph Goodale and Alberta MP Amerjeet Sohi – both lost their seats in the Conservative sweep of the Canadian prairies.

A new cabinet will be sworn-in on 20 November.

On Tuesday, Mr Trudeau’s rivals said it would be up to the prime minister to ensure that parliament will work.

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Conservative leader Andrew Scheer says the PM must find “common ground” with other parties

But they issued few details on the demands they would place on the PM for their support.

“We’re not going to negotiate any of those things today, and we’re certainly not going to negotiate any of those in the media,” said NDP leader Jagmeet Singh, who could potentially become kingmaker in the House of Commons.

Conservative leader Andrew Scheer, whose party won a greater share of the popular vote than the Liberals but fewer seats, said it was imperative that Mr Trudeau focused on national unity.

“We have a divided country,” he told journalists on Tuesday. “It is essential for Justin Trudeau to take this seriously, to try to find common ground.”


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