News

Liberal or Conservative minority will be different this time: political expert

Liberal or Conservative minority will be different this time: political expert
Canada
Larger font Increase article font size

A+

Canadians have chosen minority governments in four of the last six federal elections and Monday’s vote seems likely to produce a fifth.

Whether it will be a Liberal or Conservative minority is anyone’s guess.

Polls suggest the two parties are locked in a dead heat, neither within reach of winning a majority of seats in the House of Commons much as they were in 2019 when Justin Trudeau ‘s Liberals won a relatively stable minority.

But that doesn’t mean this election will produce the same result.

Here are some things to keep in mind about how minority governments are formed and what another one might look like:

Which of the two front-runners ultimately forms government doesn’t necessarily depend on who wins the greatest share of the popular vote or even who wins the most seats.

Canada election: Which issues are top-of-mind for Canadians?

Canada election: Which issues are top-of-mind for Canadians?

Rather, it depends on which party can command the confidence of the House, notes University of British Columbia political scientist Maxwell Cameron.

And that means: which party is able to muster enough support from one or more smaller parties to win crucial confidence votes?

If he were to see little prospect of mustering sufficient opposition support to continue governing, Trudeau would likely resign and allow the Conservatives to form government.

But regardless of the outcome, Trudeau has the right to carry on until he is defeated in a confidence vote in the Commons. Opposition parties would get their first opportunity to topple his government by voting against the throne speech, which opens each new session of Parliament.

If the throne speech was defeated, it would be the prerogative of the Governor General to invite Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole to form a new government. O’Toole would then have to gain support from one or more of the other opposition parties in order to command the confidence of the House. If he could not, another election would be triggered.

In 2019, the Conservatives actually won a slightly larger share of the popular vote but, because so much of it was concentrated in the Prairie provinces, they came up with 36 fewer seats than the Liberals.

4:38

Canada election: Party leaders weigh in on whether they’d call another snap election if they form a minority government

Canada election: Party leaders weigh in on whether they’d call another snap election if they form a minority government – Sep 8, 2021

There was never any suspense about whether the Liberals would continue to govern. They were only 13 seats short of a majority and NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh, whose party captured 24 seats, had been clear during the campaign that New Democrats would never prop up a Conservative minority.

Trudeau was able to govern without reaching any formal deal with opposition parties, relying on support from different parties at different times to survive confidence votes and pass legislation.

Singh has not ruled out propping up the Conservatives this time. Nor has Bloc Quebecois Leader Yves-Francois Blanchet.

Although O’Toole has shifted the Conservatives more toward the centre of the political spectrum, Cameron suspects it would still be harder for him to find a dance partner in the Commons, since both the Bloc and NDP are more ideologically aligned with the Liberals.

However, Quebec Premier Francois Legault’s virtual endorsement of the Conservatives could influence the Bloc to give O’Toole a chance to move into the Prime Minister’s Office.

So what would happen if the NDP were to back the Liberals and the Bloc were to back the Conservatives but, even so, neither of the front-runners could muster majority support in the Commons?

0:38

Canada election: Singh says Trudeau’s decision to trigger election was ‘selfish’

Canada election: Singh says Trudeau’s decision to trigger election was ‘selfish’ – Sep 8, 2021

In that case, it’s theoretically possible that a handful of Green Party or People’s Party MPs could determine which of the front-runners forms government.

The further either of the front-runners is from the 170 seats needed for a majority, the more leverage the smaller parties would have to make demands in return for their support.

There are three approaches to minorities, notes Cameron, the most common being the informal vote-by-vote approach taken by Trudeau during the past two years. Cameron suspects that would be the likely approach again should Monday’s election produce another minority.

However, it’s possible that Trudeau or O’Toole might be compelled to go further, negotiating an agreement with one or more smaller parties to prop them up for a period of time in exchange for specific legislative action.

That’s how David Peterson’s Liberals took power in Ontario in 1985, striking a two-year deal with the NDP to oust the Conservatives, who had won the most seats.

It’s also how John Horgan’s NDP won power in British Columbia in 2017, ousting the Liberals who had won the most seats by securing the support of the Greens’ three members of the legislature.
Read more on globalnews.ca
News Topics :
Similar Articles :
Canada
On August 15 Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced that he would be calling an election with Election Day set for September 20, 2021. Currently there are only three parties with...
Top Stories
OTTAWA—Let’s get one thing straight the party that wins the most seats after Monday’s federal election doesn’t automatically get to take power. That’s been the case since the introduction of...
Top Stories
A high stakes duel is playing out on Parliament Hill as the Liberal government and opposition parties dare each other to pull the trigger on a pandemic election — all over...
Canada
Larger font Increase article font size A+ Canadians may not be thrilled with the outcome of last week’s federal election but a new poll suggests few are angry that it...
Canada
John Barlow, Conservative MP for the Foothills, won by a landslide Sept. 20, capturing 69 per cent of the vote. But campaigning isn’t just about winning support or a seat,...