Monday, April 22, 2024

Canada snap election: NDP to wield power in Canadian Parliament

The leader of Canada’s left-wing New Democratic Party, Jagmeet Singh, responded to Monday night’s snap election results with a pledge to continue fighting for climate action and far-reaching social reforms aimed at helping working families, as his party gained three seats in Parliament, putting its total at 27 as of this writing. While holding fewer seats than Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s Liberal Party, the Conservatives, and the separatist Bloc Québécois, the New Democratic Party (NDP) will likely wield power in the new government as the Liberals rely on progressive lawmakers’ votes to pass key legislation.

“In this pandemic, people got more help because we were there, we were able to increase the supports to people. If people want more help, more New Democrats will make it happen.”

Jagmeet Singh, NDP

“I want you to know our fight for you will continue,” Singh told supporters after the votes were tallied Monday night. “You can be sure that we will be there for you, and you can also be sure that if we work together we can build a better society, and that’s exactly what New Democrats will do.” The three seats the NDP picked up included a victory by Blake Desjarlais, who defeated a Conservative incumbent in Edmonton and doubled the party’s seats in Alberta. The party had focused on the seat as a major target after the NDP came in second in Edmonton in 2019. Desjarlais will be Alberta’s only Indigenous member of Parliament (MP). 

Singh was also re-elected in Burnaby South, British Columbia. According to the CBC‘s Vote Compass, Singh was rated highest among all federal party leaders in competence and trustworthiness.

After Trudeau called for the snap election in mid-August, hoping to gain ground in Parliament by campaigning on his government’s management of the coronavirus pandemic, Singh and the NDP pushed its message calling for higher taxes on corporations and the rich, universal prescription drug coverage, more ambitious climate targets than the Liberals have achieved, and other far-reaching policy changes.

The party pledged to “set a target of reducing Canada’s emissions by at least 50% from 2005 levels by 2030, reaching further wherever possible to account for Canada’s fair share,” in contrast with recently passed legislation to reach net-zero emissions by 2050.

“We are going to continue fighting for you, just the same way we fought for you in the pandemic, you can count on us to continue those fights,” Singh said Monday night. “We’re going to make sure that we fight hard to defend our environment, to make sure we’re fighting the climate crisis like we really want to win.”

After calling for an election that many political observers saw as a risk, Trudeau will remain as prime minister but is expected to preside over a minority government, with the Liberals holding 158 seats in Parliament—one fewer than it won in 2019 and 12 short of the 170-seat threshold needed for a majority.

Canadian historian Christo Aivalis outlined some far-reaching and broadly popular legislative actions Trudeau could take promptly, working closely with Singh’s party.

“All of this can start day one of a new Parliament,” Aivalis said.

Trudeau is likely to rely on votes from the NDP to pass some of his signature policy pledges, including a national child care plan.

Singh pointed to his party’s Covid-19 response—including pushing provincial governments to protect renters from evictions and support small businesses—as evidence that the NDP will continue working in the best interest of all Canadians following the elections.

“In this pandemic, people got more help because we were there, we were able to increase the supports to people,” Singh said ahead of the elections. “If people want more help, more New Democrats will make it happen.”

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