2015 Federal Election Results: What Comes Next?
The Liberal party, led by Justin Trudeau went from a distant third in the polls to sweeping Atlantic Canada, parts of Quebec, urban Ontario and even ridings in traditionally Conservative Alberta to claim a majority government.
The polls hadn’t closed across Canada when news organizations called a Liberal government – and, shortly after, a Liberal majority. The Liberals grabbed 184 seats, while the Conservatives ended the evening with 99 seats and 31.9% of the popular vote, the NDP with 44 seats (19.7%), the Bloc Québécois with 10 seats (4.7%) and the Greens with one seat, leader Elizabeth May’s in B.C., and 3.5% support.
Peter McKay, a former Conservative MP and cabinet minister, conceded that many voters wanted to remove the Conservative government from power.
“This is not what we had hoped for at all. Clearly there was a very clear resonance of this (idea of) change – change to what or change for what reason people can give all kinds of commentary. After 10 years in office, there’s going to be an accumulation of resentments over various issues, and that’s obviously what we’re seeing.”
After three terms as prime minister, Stephen Harper indicated to his party that he would be stepping down as leader of the Conservatives, though remaining as an MP (Calgary Heritage).
In a lengthy victory speech, Trudeau stressed the power of positive election campaigning.
“You can appeal to the better angels of our natures, and you can win while doing it. We beat fear with hope, we beat cynicism with hard work, we beat negative, divisive politics with a positive vision that brings Canadians together. Our enviable, inclusive society didn’t happen by accident and won’t continue without effort. Have faith in your fellow citizens, they are kind and generous, they are open and optimistic. They know in their heart of hearts that a Canadian is a Canadian is a Canadian.”
Throughout the marathon campaign, the longest since 1872, Trudeau pledged to boost the economy, help the middle class, and improve the way Canada’s government is run. Here are some of the issues Trudeau has promised to address.
- Trudeau promised that the first bill of a Liberal government would include changes to income tax rates and tax credits for families.
- The middle-class tax cut will reduce the tax rate from 22.5 per cent to 20 per cent for individuals earning between $44,700 and $89,401 a year. There was also to be a new tax bracket for people earning more than $200,000 a year; they will pay 33 per cent tax on their income.
- The Liberal party plans to reverse the Conservative government’s doubling of TFSA limits and the income splitting they introduced for families with young children.
- The Canada child benefit will replace the universal child care benefit. That means the end of $1,600 taxable cheques for each child in every family. The Liberals non-taxable benefit will be based on income, with low-income families receiving $5,000 a year. The amount decreases as earnings increase, and families earning more than $300,000 will receive nothing.
- Massive infrastructure investment was a central component of Trudeau’s campaign. The Liberals pledged to run deficits for the next three years in order to stimulate the Canadian economy.
Trudeau has pledged to run budget deficits and spend on infrastructure to stimulate economic growth. [Reuters]
- Trudeau promised to “amend” C-51, but the details of that planned amendment are still vague.
- Since January, the Liberals have promised to bring in 25,000 Syrian refugees by the end of 2015. During the election, the party said that goal could still be reached if it won the election, and that it would cost $100 million.
- The Liberals have promised to spend $100 million to provide humanitarian assistance to Syrian refugees who are still in the region.
Inquiry into missing and murdered aboriginal women
- In addition to acceding to mounting public pressure for an inquiry into more than 1,000 missing and murdered aboriginal women, Trudeau pledged to build a “renewed relationship” with Canada’s indigenous people.
Legalization of Marijuana
- Trudeau promised to legalize and regulate marijuana.
- Trudeau promised this would be Canada’s last plurality-based election: His government, he said during the campaign, will consult Canadians on a new electoral system with an aim to adopt proportional representation.
The Liberal platform also includes some steps the party will take “immediately” upon forming government:
- Call an inquiry into missing and murdered indigenous women.
- Lift the two per cent cap on increases to First Nations education funding and establish a new financial relationship with First Nations.
- Launch a new competition to replace the CF-18 fighter jet and scrap the F-35 fighter program.
- Review defence capabilities with the aim of creating a more efficient military.
- Hire additional mental health professionals to support veterans.
- Reinstate the long-form census.
- Implement imported gun-marking legislation.
- Begin a review of environmental assessment processes.
- Double the number of immigration applications allowed for parents and grand-parents.
- Lift the visa requirement for Mexican travel to Canada.
CBC Interactive Election Results
Decision Canada – Global News
Canadian election 2015 hands Justin Trudeau and the Liberals a majority government – National Post
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