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The Liberals Will Form A Minority Government. What Happens Now?

minority govt

Photo: @justinpjtrudea / Instagram

It was a tight race yesterday; with 157 seats, Liberals secured themselves a spot as Canada’s minority government.

Liberals were 14 seats shy of winning a majority, but won 35 more than its opposition: the Conservatives. Meanwhile Bloc Quebecois landed 32 seats and NDP now has 24.

“Thank you, Canada, for putting your trust in our team and for having faith in us to move this country in the right direction,” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau tweeted yesterday. “Regardless of how you cast your vote, our team will work hard for all Canadians.”

So here we have it then: Canada now has a Liberal minority government.

But What Does That Mean?

To put it plainly, a party needs to win 170 of the 338 seats in the House of Commons to form a majority government.

However, if no party reaches that amount, which was the case this year, a minority government is formed. The party that won, the Liberals in this case, must pass a confidence vote, which requires 170 votes from the House of Commons.

Upon gaining the confidence vote, a minority government means it’ll need more cooperation to get things done. The government must rely on other parties to pass legislation because a majority vote is needed.

And because seats are more evenly distributed, the opposition government (Conservatives) can more easily block legislation.

In other words, for the Liberals to pass legislation, they’ll need votes from other parties to gain a majority, a more difficult task now that the gap between the Liberals and Conservatives is more narrow.

So, there are a few options as to what could happen next:

  • This Liberals could form a coalition government, likely with the NDP.
  • The parties could agree in writing to form an alliance for a period of time.
  • The governing party could work with MPs of other parties on a less formal basis to pass legislation.

Likely, Liberals will work alongside NDP.

There have been 12 minority governments in Canada’s history since 1921. Six of those have been with a Conservative government, where only two of them lasting more than a few months. Of the six Liberal minority governments, just three were able to govern with the help of third parties. while the others relied on a Confidence vote.

This year’s federal election featured many surprises, including a Bloc Quebecois surge. So, what happens in the next four years? Well, only time will tell.

Stay tuned to 604 Now News for more Election 2019 updates and analysis.

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