Justin Trudeau is expected to remain prime minister but whether he can reach an agreement with another party to sustain a minority government remains to be seen.
The Liberals are elected or leading in 157 ridings across the country – 13 short of the 170 seats needed for a majority in the 338-seat House of Commons.
Andrew Scheer’s Conservatives are leading or elected in 121 ridings, while the NDP have has 24 and the Greens 3. The Bloc Québécois are leading or elected in 32 ridings and there is one Independent seat won by Jody Wilson-Raybould.
But it appears that Trudeau will at least have a shot at a second mandate, with a minority government.
U.S. President Donald Trump congratulated Trudeau on Twitter.
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 Liberals dominated early returns in Atlantic Canada. While the Liberals got off to a good start in the four Atlantic provinces, it’s not quite the sweep that painted the entire region red in 2015.
Although polls have suggested a deadlock between the two front-runners, the Liberals appeared to have an edge over the Conservatives in Ontario and Quebec, which account for almost 60 per cent of the 338 seats up for grabs.
Still, an unexpected surge in support for the Bloc Quebecois upended the hopes of both the front-running parties for gains in Quebec.
And a bounce for the NDP after Jagmeet Singh’s performance in the leaders’ debates ate into Liberal support in Ontario and British Columbia.
Maxime Bernier, leader of the fledgling People’s Party of Canada, has lost his own Quebec seat in Beauce.
Neither Trudeau nor Scheer seemed able to generate much enthusiasm throughout the campaign, which frequently devolved into mudslinging and misrepresentations of one another’s policies and records.
Trudeau, who had barely recovered from months of controversy over the SNC-Lavalin affair last winter and spring, was embarrassed during the opening week of the campaign when it was revealed that he had at least three times in the past dressed up in black- or brownface. The revelation undercut his image as a champion of diversity and inclusion.
He was also plagued with unsubstantiated rumours and fake reports, spread on social media, about his conduct as a teacher at a Vancouver private school.
Scheer was dogged throughout the campaign by questions about his personal beliefs about abortion and same-sex marriage and repeatedly insisted that he would not reopen debate on either issue should he become prime minister. However, doubt remained whether he would allow Conservative backbenchers to initiate legislation to restrict access to abortions.
Conservative hopes in Quebec took a beating after Scheer put in what was widely considered a bad performance in the first French-language leaders’ debate. And in the dying days of the campaign, he was hit with reports that his party had hired an outside consulting firm to conduct a “seek and destroy” campaign against Bernier, Scheer’s one-time leadership rival.
With files from The Canadian Press