Canada’s Liberal’s Sweep to PowerOctober 20, 2015 in Canada
Late on Monday, after a long day of voting, Canada’s Liberal Party decisively won the country’s general election, effectively ending nearly a decade of Conservative rule.
While the centrist Liberal Party, which is led by Justin Trudeau, had initially started the campaign in third place, with the New Democratic Party (NDP) leading and the Conservative Party in second place, in what is a stunning turnaround, they now command a majority. Mr Trudeau, the 43-year-old son of late Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau who is considered to be the father of modern Canada, indicated Monday that Canadians had voted for real change. Incumbent Conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper, in power since 2006, has congratulated his rival and has since announced that he will be stepping down as the party’s leader. Mr Harper, one of the longest-serving Western leaders, had been seeking a rare fourth term in office. His party has announced that while he will stand down as Conservative leader, he will remain as an MP. Tom Mulcair of the left-leaning NDP also disclosed that he “congratulated Mr Trudeau on his exceptional achievement.”
The Liberal Party has won 184 seats of a total 338 seats in parliament while the Conservatives gained 99 seats. The NDP is on course to win 44 seats, less than half the number it held in the outgoing parliament. While there is no fixed transition period under Canada’s constitution, Mr Trudeau is expected to be sworn in in a few weeks’ time.
During the 11-week election campaign, the Liberal Party indicated that it would cut income taxes for middle-class Canadians while increasing them for the wealth; run deficits for three years in order to pay for infrastructure spending; do more in order to address environmental concerns over the controversial Keystone oil pipeline; take in more Syrian refugees and pull out of bombing raids against the Islamic State (IS) group while bolstering training for Iraqi forces; and legalize marijuana.