Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau claimed victory early Tuesday morning, winning a second term in the nation’s general election after his Liberal Party won enough seats to remain the ruling party.
According to the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, Trudeau’s Liberals were on the path towards winning 157 parliamentary seats, falling short of the necessary 170 seats needed to hold an outright majority in the 338-seat Parliament. Trudeau will have to form a governing coalition with the progressive New Democrats, who were on track to win 24 seats.
“From coast to coast to coast, tonight, Canadians rejected division and negativity,” Trudeau said before a group of cheering supporters at his election headquarters in Montreal. “They voted in favor of a progressive agenda and strong action on climate change.”
U.S. President Donald Trump, who has clashed with Trudeau over trade issues as well as climate change, congratulated the prime minister on Twitter for his “wonderful and hard fought victory. Canada is well served.”
Congratulations to @JustinTrudeau on a wonderful and hard fought victory. Canada is well served. I look forward to working with you toward the betterment of both of our countries!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 22, 2019
The rival Conservatives, led by Andrew Sheer, were on track to win 121 seats, despite winning the popular vote with more than 6 million votes, compared to the 5.8 million won by the Liberals. But in his concession speech in Regina, Saskatchewan, Sheer told supporters the results put the prime minister “on notice” that the Conservatives are “the government-in-waiting” and will be ready to take power in the next election.
The 47-year-old Trudeau, the son of the late Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau, won a definitive parliamentary majority in 2015, leading the first Liberal government in 10 years. During his term, he has become a champion of liberals worldwide for his support of free trade, diversity, environmental policies and taking an active role on the world stage.
But Trudeau’s bid for a second term was threatened by a handful of scandals, both personal and political in nature. At least three photographs of Trudeau in blackface and brown face from the 1990s and early 2000s surfaced just weeks ahead of the vote.
In another scandal, Trudeau’s former attorney general, Jody Wilson-Raybould, said the prime minister pressured her to stop the criminal prosecution of SNC-Lavalian, a Quebec engineering company, under bribery charges. The firm was formally charged with corruption for paying Libyan government officials, including former dictator Moammar Gadhafi, millions of dollars for contracts between 2001 and 2011.
Wilson-Raybould said she resigned because of the pressure, and continued to receive “veiled threats” from a government official after her resignation. Trudeau claimed he was standing up for jobs, but Sheer used the scandals to cast doubt on the prime minister’s character.