What to expect from Canada’s next Parliament

Image via http://www.huffingtonpost.ca
Image via http://www.huffingtonpost.ca

Red wave results in a Liberal majority government and a new prime minister

By Mercedes Deutscher, News Editor

The election results on October 19 resulted in several surprising changes on both a local and federal level.

The Liberals won every riding in Atlantic Canada, which resulted in the ousting of two Conservative Cabinet ministers; Bernard Valcourt, the minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development from New Brunswick, and Gail Shea, the Fisheries and Oceans minister from PEI. Overall, 14 Conservative ministers lost their seats.

Another dramatic loss was that of Bloc Québécois leader Gilles Duceppe. Duceppe didn’t have a seat, yet was hoping to take the riding of Laurier-Sainte-Marie, a riding in which he held the seat prior to 2011.

With the exception of the Liberal Party and the Bloc Québécois, all parties lost seats from the previous Parliament. The Conservatives dropped down to 99 seats overall, the NDP fell to 44 seats, and Elizabeth May was the only Green Party member to be re-elected.

Meanwhile, the Liberal Party increased their seat count by five times the number they held prior to the election, leading to a total of 184 seats.

This election saw the highest voter turnout in 22 years, with 68.5 per cent of eligible voters casting a ballot.

Parties aside, the demographics of the elected MPs has seen some change. According to data compiled by CBC, 10 of the elected members are indigenous, 6 are LGBTQ, and 88 are women.

While most opposition party leaders will remain in their positions for at least the near future, outgoing prime minister Stephen Harper resigned as the leader of the Conservative Party immediately after the election.

What is in store for Canadians under a new Liberal majority government?

Despite the fact that Parliament is not yet back in session, Prime Minister-designate Justin Trudeau has already been preparing for his term. Trudeau made the announcement on October 20 that he will be releasing a statement on who will be his cabinet ministers on November 4, and has pledged that 50 per cent of his cabinet will be female as an effort to improve gender equality in Parliament. Trudeau and his cabinet will take oaths of office on or shortly after November 4, when Trudeau will officially assume the title of prime minister.

Trudeau told the Globe and Mail that his party’s first act of legislation will be based on how he ran his campaign: reducing taxes for the middle class by increasing taxes for the wealthy.

Since election, Trudeau has already been speaking to President Barack Obama about Canada-US relations. He also took time on the morning after the election to thank people in his riding of Papineau, Quebec, during their commutes to work.

Trudeau and Harper attended a memorial service on October 24 dedicated to Cpl. Nathan Cirillo, who was killed during the attack on Parliament Hill on that day last year. Both men laid a wreath down in Cirillo’s honour.

In his victory speech on October 19, Trudeau said: “We beat fear with hope. We beat cynicism with hard work. We beat negative, divisive politics with a positive vision that brings Canadians together.”