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The Liberal Party, led by incumbent Prime MinisterJustin Trudeau, won 157 seats to form a minority government and lost the majority they had won in the 2015 election. The Liberals lost the popular vote to the Conservatives, which marks only the second time in Canadian history that a governing party formed a government while receiving less than 35 per cent of the national popular vote. The Liberals received the lowest percentage of the national popular vote of a governing party in Canadian history.
Bill C-44 was passed in 2017 and assigned responsibility to the Parliamentary Budget Office to calculate the cost of party platforms for elections; the review was available in the 2019 election. The Parliamentary Budget Office had a $500,000 budget for costing party platforms for this election, but announced it would only review a party platform at the request of the authoring party. It also conducted confidential assessments of independent and party platform proposals preceding the election campaign. The service was also available to members of parliament representing a party without official party status in the House of Commons, like Elizabeth May's Green Party.
In June 2015, Trudeau pledged to reform the electoral system if elected, saying, "We are committed to ensuring that 2015 is the last election held under first-past-the-post." As the Liberals, New Democrats, Bloc Québécois, and Green Party were all in favour of reform, a different voting system could have been in place by the next federal election.
A Special Committee on Electoral Reform was formed with representatives from all five parties in the House. The committee's report, Strengthening Democracy in Canada: Principles, Process and Public Engagement for Electoral Reform, was presented in December 2016 and recommended a proportional electoral system be introduced following a national referendum. The majority of the all-party committee recommended "that the government should, as it develops a new electoral system ... [seek to] minimize the level of distortion between the popular will of the electorate and the resultant seat allocations in Parliament."
The mandate of the committee was to "identify and conduct a study of viable alternate voting systems" rather than to recommend a specific alternative system. The Minister of Democratic InstitutionsMaryam Monsef was critical of the committee's recommendation saying "I have to admit I'm a little disappointed, because what we had hoped the committee would provide us with would be a specific alternative system to first past the post." Interim Conservative Leader Rona Ambrose said Monsef's comments were "a disgrace" and Green Party Leader Elizabeth May said "[t]he minister chose to insult the committee and chose to mislead Canadians."
In February 2017, Trudeau dropped support for electoral reform, issuing a mandate to newly appointed Minister of Democratic Institutions Karina Gould, saying that, "A clear preference for a new electoral system, let alone a consensus, has not emerged. ... Changing the electoral system will not be in your mandate." In response to questions from the public in Iqaluit, Trudeau said "It is because I felt it was not in the best interests of our country and of our future," citing concerns that alternative electoral systems would give too much power to "extremist and activist voices" that could create "instability and uncertainty" dividing the country.
Assessment of Trudeau's government
In July 2019, an independent academically-edited study, Assessing Justin Trudeau's Liberal Government: 353 Promises and a Mandate for Change, was published by Les Presses de l'Université Laval, finding that Justin Trudeau's government kept 92 per cent of pledges, when complete and partial pledges were added together, while the Harper government kept 85 per cent of complete and partial pledges. When only completed, realized pledges were calculated, Harper's government, in their last year, kept 77 per cent of promises while the Liberal government kept 53.5 per cent. The book notes that Harper's pledges tended towards transactional pledges which target sub-populations while Trudeau's government's promises were transformative--ambitious pledges the Liberals took while they were the third-place party. Trudeau's government, according to the researchers, and the "last Harper government had the highest rates of follow-through on their campaign promises of any Canadian government over the last 35 years."
According to Elections Canada rules, third parties are allowed to spend $1,023,400 in the pre-election period between June 30 and the start of the election campaign. They can spend an additional $511,700 during the election campaign.
Reimbursements for political parties and candidates
Political parties receive a reimbursement for 50 per cent of their election expenses during the writ period. Similarly, electoral district associations receive a reimbursement of 60 per cent of their election expenses during the writ period. Both reimbursements are publicly funded.[d]
Registered third parties
A person or group must register as a third party immediately after incurring expenses totaling $500 or more on regulated activities that take place during the pre-election period or election period. The regulated activities are partisan activities (that promote parties or candidates), election surveys, partisan advertising and election advertising. Furthermore, to be a third party you must be :
an individual who is a Canadian citizen, a permanent resident or lives in Canada
a corporation that carries on business in Canada, or
a group, as long as a person responsible for the group is a Canadian citizen, a permanent resident or lives in Canada.
One cannot spend money or uses their resources to influence Canadian elections if they are a foreign third party.
There are also strict limits on expenses related to regulated activities, and specific limits that can be incurred to promote or oppose the election of one or more candidates in a particular electoral district. Registered third parties are subject to an election advertising expenses limit of $1,023,400 in the pre-election period, of which $10,234 can be spent in a given electoral district and $511,700 during the election period. Of that amount, no more than $4,386 can be spent to promote or oppose the election of one or more candidates in a particular electoral district.
Incumbents not running for reelection
The following MPs announced that they would not be running in the 2019 federal election:
September 9, 2016: Strength in Democracy, a party which had three incumbent MPs among its 17 candidates in the last election is deregistered by Elections Canada for failure to file papers maintaining its party status.
August 19, 2019: Pierre Nantel repeated that he will remain an independent MP until the end of his term in the current Parliament and announces that he will be a candidate for the Green Party of Canada in the election for the next Parliament.
September 13, 2019: Elizabeth May announced that her party will conduct more thorough "re-vetting" of candidates after media reports of some Green candidates have made past statements opposing legal abortion.
September 15, 2019: Andrew Scheer said he will stand by candidates despite "controversial" comments in the past as long as the candidate apologizes, and takes responsibility for said comments.
September 16, 2019: Maxime Bernier was officially invited to the debates organized by the Leaders' Debates Commission after Commissioner David Johnston announces the People's Party meets the criteria set for the debates.
October 11-14, 2019: Advance polls were open, with an estimated record 4.7 million electors casting their ballots, a turnout increase of 29% above the 2015 general election. It also marked the first time polls have been open for 12 hours each day.
October 18, 2019: Elections Canada reports historic turnout among international voters, with 21,842 electors casting their ballots.
On August 30, 2019, Hassan Guillet, Liberal candidate for Saint-Léonard--Saint-Michel, was dropped as a candidate following allegations of anti-Semitic comments from B'nai B'rith. Guillet's nomination previously raised concern that his ethnicity would be out of place in the majority Italian riding. Guillet denied the allegation, alleged that the Liberals were aware of the post, and that they "imposed" his replacement Patricia Lattanzio, on the riding. On September 20, 2019, Guillet announced he would run as an independent.
Sameer Zuberi, Liberal candidate for Pierrefonds--Dollard, was nominated on September 15, 2019, despite questioning Osama bin Laden's involvement in 9/11 in a social media post. Zuberi called the accusations false saying it was an attempt by the Conservatives to deflect attention away from their own candidates with extremist or white supremacist leanings.
On September 18, 2019, L'Express of Drummondville reported that the Liberal candidate for Drummond, William Morales' nomination victory was attended by two convicted criminals. Morales said that while he maintains contact with Spanish-speaking members from the Drummondville community the two people were not involved in his campaign and he does not have close relations with them. He later told his local newspaper that he interacts with members regardless of their background.
On September 18, 2019, Trudeau attracted controversy for a photograph published in Time magazine, in which he wore brownface makeup to a party at West Point Grey Academy, where he was a teacher, in 2001. Trudeau called it a mistake and apologized publicly for it. When apologizing, Trudeau also confessed to having worn similar makeup in high-school. Following his apology, an earlier instance from the early 1990s of Trudeau wearing blackface makeup was uncovered. The following day, Trudeau apologized again and said he was "not that person anymore". He also said that it should not be called "makeup" but blackface. Some commentators labelled this hypocritical, since the Liberals had exposed the past misdeeds of some Conservative candidates. Trudeau drew a mixed reaction from the public. Some were upset and contemplated changing their vote, while others defended him, such as members of minorities, minority community groups, racialized commentators and some of his opponents. Later, Trudeau announced that he wanted to apologize personally to Jagmeet Singh, who replied that he would only meet Trudeau for an apology if it was "politics-free" and private. Following the announcement, Singh received a call from Trudeau on September 24, 2019 and they talked privately for 15 to 20 minutes. In the days following the scandal, pollsters pointed out that the majority of Canadians either were not bothered by the scandal or had accepted Trudeau's apology.
On September 23, 2019, Del Arnold, Liberal candidate for Calgary Shepard, apologized to Conservative rival Tom Kmiec after spreading misleading information about his place of residence. Arnold has not apologized for a deleted tweet that accused Andrew Scheer of having links to "white supremacy" and the 2017 Unite the Right rally in Virginia.
On September 28, 2019, Judy Sgro, Liberal candidate for Humber River--Black Creek, made remarks during an interview with a radio network called GBKM FM defending Trudeau's wearing of brownface/blackface makeup: "Those in the black community have told me how much more love they have for the prime minister, that he wanted to have a black face. That he took great pride in that, too". She later apologized for her remarks, saying that "the comments I made on GBKM FM were insensitive," and further adding "I should have known better, and I apologize".
On October 13, 2019, due to a security threat, Trudeau appeared 90 minutes late to a campaign rally. Trudeau took extraordinary security precautions at the event. He wore a bulletproof vest and was surrounded by heavily armed security personnel. His wife was also supposed to introduce him, but she did not appear on stage. The Liberal Party did not reveal the nature of the threat. Scheer and Singh both showed concern for Trudeau following the threat. The following day, the RCMP was still with the Liberal leader. Furthermore, Trudeau explained that he followed advice from the RCMP and that this event will not change the way he campaigns.
On October 14, 2019, Trudeau dodged multiple questions about a possible coalition with the NDP in a minority scenario. He responded that he remains focused on winning a majority.
About one year after he assumed office, polling showed that Ontario Premier Doug Ford of the Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario was deeply unpopular--in some cases even less popular than previous Ontario Liberal Party Premier Kathleen Wynne when she lost power, which could have deterred voters from voting for Scheer. This worried CPC insiders and prompted the Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario to call an extended recess of the provincial legislature to reduce negative news coverage, in order to help the federal Tories. However, if they lose the election, Scheer pledged to blame it on Ford during his leadership review. Therefore, leading up to the campaign, Andrew Scheer distanced himself from Ford and later campaigned without him. Meanwhile, the Liberals and Scheer's opponents tried to capitalize on Ford's unpopularity by linking Scheer to the Premier multiple times.
Several CPC candidates were dropped leading to and during the course of the campaign. On April 25, 2019, Harzadan Khattra, the candidate for Dufferin--Caledon, was disqualified after a fellow contestant sent the party verifiable information about "membership buying, improper voting, and other concerns". On June 28, 2019, Salim Mansur, the candidate for London North Centre, was disqualified over alleged fears that the Liberals would characterize Mansur's record as Islamophobic. On July 10, 2019, Mark King, the candidate for Nipissing--Timiskaming, was stripped of his nomination for disputed reasons. On September 12, 2019, Cameron Ogilvie, Conservative candidate for Winnipeg North, resigned as a candidate after the party became aware of withheld social media post which the Conservative Party described as "discriminatory". On October 4, 2019, the party announced that Heather Leung, the candidate for Burnaby North--Seymour, was dropped as reports surfaced of her making anti-LGBTQ comments in a video from 2011. Due to the deadline for naming candidates having passed her name will still be on the ballot. If she were to win, she would not sit in the party's caucus. Questions were raised as to why it took the party so long to remove her, since she was "a known commodity" when she was nominated. She had made anti-LGBTQ and anti-abortion comments in the past and ignored the media for months. Her riding association had also been criticized for their controversial social media posts. On October 10, 2019, Leung claimed she was misunderstood and that her comments were lost in translation since English is her third language. However, she did not apologize for her comments.
On July 10, 2019, Cyma Musarat, Conservative candidate for Pickering--Uxbridge, faced an allegation from fellow party members that she won her nomination by using improper voting procedures. The Conservative Party faced an accusation that its headquarters had been delaying the nomination contest to find a different candidate. From July 24 to September 15, 2019, Ghada Melek attracted attention. This conservative candidate for Mississauga--Streetsville, was revealed by former organizers of the Ontario Progressive Conservative Party to have been rejected as a candidate in the provincial riding over Twitter posts about Muslim extremism.National Council of Canadian Muslims had issues over Melek's Twitter posts about Islam and LGBT+ community. Scheer accepted an apology she issued for her comments. Later, CTV News obtained her provincial vetting report and her promotion of conspiracy theories was seen as another factor behind her disqualification. When asked about the provincial party red-flagging Melek, Scheer defended her again.
On August 22, 2019, Scheer faced questions over a 2005 online video in which he spoke against same-sex marriage Scheer himself did not respond until a press conference a week later where he argued that Trudeau was raising a wedge issue; Several pundits had an issue with his response. Weeks later, Scheer was asked if he needed to apologize for his comments giving the standards he set for his candidates; however he gave no response. After Trudeau's apology regarding blackface, Scheer was asked again if he should apologize for his words; he gave no response. Scheer once again chose to not answer the question directly on popular Quebec talk show Tout le monde en parle. He said that he supports the law and the rights of Canadians, but that he will not walk in Pride parades.
Between August 26 and 30, 2019, the Conservatives were questioned on abortion. Alain Rayes, Scheer's Quebec lieutenant, attracted attention after he told a Quebec radio station that he misspoke on the party stance on abortion. A few days later, Scheer held a press conference, where he addressed the issue. However, his answers were seen as confusing in the media, and anti-abortion activists found his answers to be mixed-messaging. A day later, Scheer said that he and his cabinet would vote against anti-abortion bills if the debate is re-opened. Scheer reiterated this statement on Tout le monde en parle. A day after his rivals pushed him to clarify his position during the TVA debate, Scheer mentioned that he was pro-life but reiterated what he said in the past concerning anti-abortion bills.
On September 12, 2019, Rachel Wilson, Conservative candidate for York Centre, attracted attention after a video was posted online that called for pro-life legislation. Wilson did not comment when asked about abortion legislation. On September 13, 2019, Arpan Khanna, Conservative candidate for Brampton North, apologized after it was revealed that he offhandedly used the slur "fag" to tease a friend. On September 14, 2019, Justina McCaffrey, Conservative candidate for Kanata--Carleton, attracted attention for making negative remarks in a video about Justin Trudeau and Francophones, and her relationship with Faith Goldy. She departed a campaign event when confronted by reporters, but later released a statement apologizing for her comments and later stated that her relationship with Goldy ended a longtime ago. However, there were pictures of the two together in 2017--one of them featured Goldy doing the "OK sign". Conservative campaign manager Hamish Marshall's past role as a director of Rebel Media was also questioned, since Goldy was an on-screen personality before being fired. On October 7, 2019, the Canadian Press discovered that McCaffrey was a member of the controversial religious group Opus Dei. The CPC's spokesperson responded by saying that they do not question their candidates about their personal religious beliefs.
On September 28, 2019, The Globe and Mail revealed that they found no record of Scheer receiving the licence required by law to work as an insurance agent or broker in Saskatchewan despite him claiming so in the past.Robert Fife, the Ottawa bureau chief for The Globe and Mail, explained that Scheer was an insurance clerk. Scheer responded by saying that he did receive his accreditation, but that he left the insurance office before the licensing process was finalized. Later, the Insurance Brokers Association of Saskatchewan said that Scheer completed just one of four required courses to become an insurance broker. The IBAS declined to comment further and said that a formal complaint had been launched by Liberal MP Marco Mendicino to the General Insurance Council of Saskatchewan.
On October 3, 2019, The Globe and Mail revealed that Scheer had dual Canadian and American citizenship. The latter was obtained through his American-born father. He began the process of renouncing his US citizenship in August. Scheer confirmed that he has filed US tax returns. A party spokesperson added that he let his US passport lapse and that he has not voted in any U.S. election. The party verified that he is registered for the draft under the U.S. Selective Service System, which is a list of individuals who can be conscripted into the armed forces in the event of a national emergency. When asked why he had not previously disclosed his dual citizenship, Scheer stated that he had never been asked about it. It was seen as hypocritical since Scheer had attacked former Governor General Michaëlle Jean on this same issue and because the Conservatives had attacked Thomas Mulcair and Stéphane Dion on this issue. Scheer defended the former by stating that he was asking a question to his constituents and said that he wasn't leading the party at the time when it came to the latter situation. Over the next days, he refused to explain how he traveled to the United States without a valid U.S. passport. It is against the law for U.S. citizens to do so without a valid U.S. passport.
On October 11, 2019, the CBC filed an application in the Federal Court of Canada against the Conservative party over the use of television excerpts in partisan advertising. They claimed the party's use of excerpts violated the "moral rights" of news anchor Rosemary Barton and reporter John Paul Tasker. The action was brought despite the material having been taken down from websites and deleted from Twitter. The CBC said that it was given no reassurance that such use would not be repeated. The lawsuit says that the use of the material in a partisan way "diminishes the reputation" of the CBC and leaves it open to allegations that it is biased.
On October 14, 2019, Scheer ruled out any coalition or negotiations with the Bloc Québécois. He said that he "does not need to work with the Bloc Québécois to deliver results for Quebec" and that he can work with Quebec Premier François Legault to deliver them. On October 16, 2019, Scheer said that the party with most seats should have the right to form government. A day later, he stood by his claim and added that is what has happened in modern history. Journalists pointed out that it was not the case and gave examples such as the 2018 New Brunswick general election and the 2017 British Columbia general election.
On October 18 and 19, 2019, The Globe and Mail and CBC News revealed that the Conservative Party hired Warren Kinsella to "seek and destroy" the People's Party. Bernier filed a complaint to Elections Canada over what he called "a secret campaign to smear his party". Scheer did not say or deny that the Conservatives hired a consultant to destroy the PPC.
During the election, Jagmeet Singh has faced questions about wearing of a turban and whether that would reduce the number of people who would vote for him. Jonathan Richardson, the former federal NDP's executive member for Atlantic Canada, who defected to the Green Party, stated in an interview with CBC Radio, that some potential NDP candidates were hesitant to run in New Brunswick, due to Singh's turban.CTV News covered a Singh event in Verner, Ontario and spoke to a number of voters there, including NDP supporters, who said that they would not vote for a leader wearing a turban.CBC News found a similar reaction in Ruth Ellen Brosseau's riding. Singh responded to these concerns. He explained some things about his turban and recorded a French ad without it to alleviate people's worries. Furthermore, according to Alexandre Boulerice, the party's Deputy Leader and Quebec lieutenant, the NDP is targeting young voters and they do not care about the turban.
On October 2, 2019, a man told Singh to cut off his turban to look more Canadian during a campaign stop. Singh politely responded that Canadians "look like all sorts of people" before walking off.
During the campaign, Singh talked about what he would do in a minority. On August 22, 2019, due to the controversy over Scheer's previous comments about same-sex marriage, he announced that the NDP would not support a Conservative minority government under any circumstances. On September 22, 2019, Singh announced that despite Trudeau's past brownface and blackface incidents, he would not rule out working with the Liberals in a minority scenario. On October 10, 2019, he laid out the conditions for NDP support in a minority Parliament: a national single-payer universal pharmacare plan, a national dental care plan, investments in housing, a plan to waive interest on student loans, a commitment to reduce emissions, to end subsidies for oil companies and to deliver aid to oilpatch workers to transition them out of fossil fuel industries, the introduction of a "super wealth" tax, a commitment to closing tax loopholes and reducing cellphone bills. He later added that changing the way the country votes is also a condition (Singh's NDP backs a system of mixed-member proportional representation). He added that he does not rule out supporting a pipeline-owning Liberal minority government. On October 13, 2019, Singh said he would "do whatever it takes" to keep the Tories from power, including forming a coalition government with the Liberals. He added that he is "ready to work with anyone", when he was asked about the Bloc. The following day, Singh backed off those comments and urged Canadians to vote NDP in order to receive the best services like universal pharmacare and dental care. Later, Singh said that coalition is not a dirty word and doubled down on his view that under no circumstance would his party support the Conservatives in a minority.
In October 2019, the Bloc Québécois called on Quebeckers to vote for candidates "who resemble you" (" des gens qui nous ressemblent ") in the election, prompting NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh to denounce the message as unacceptable and divisive. In his closing statement during Wednesday's French-language debate, Bloc Leader Yves-François Blanchet called on voters to "opt for men and women who resemble you, who share your values, who share your concerns and who work for your interests, and only for the interests of Quebeckers." The Bloc has said the comment has nothing to do with someone's background or religion but with Québécois values. During the English debate, Blanchet called the translation of his words dishonest and mentioned that the same words were used by Igniatieff in 2011 and Mulcair in 2015.
On October 10, 2019, Le Journal de Montréal discovered that four BQ candidates had made anti-Islam and racist social media posts. A Bloc spokeswoman said it was up to Quebeckers to judge its candidates' social-media posts. The comments were condemned by Elizabeth May, Jagmeet Singh, Mélanie Joly and Françoise David. Later, the candidates all posted the same apology on their respective social media accounts and Yves-François Blanchet apologized for his candidates' Islamophobic and racist social media posts.
On October 13, 2019, Blanchet announced that they will not support a coalition or a party in a minority scenario. The Bloc will go issue by issue and support what is best for Quebec.
Several GPC candidates were dropped or stepped down during the course of the campaign. On July 23, 2019, Brock Grills, Green candidate for Peterborough--Kawartha, stepped down for "personal reasons". Grills was accused of fraud by a former employer but he and the EDA president stated that accusation was not the reason behind his stepping down. Grills, who repeated his reasoning, also mentioned the Green Party central office "pushed" for his resignation because he was reaching out to other parties to ask them to adopt policies to curb climate change. On August 16, 2019, Luc Saint-Hilaire, Green candidate for Lévis--Lotbinière, was forced to resign because of a Facebook post demanding Boufeldja Benabdallah, co-founder of the Centre Culturel Islamique de Québec, to denounce a man who allegedly lit his ex-wife on fire. On September 12, 2019, Erik Schomann, Green candidate for Simcoe North, resigned over a 2007 Facebook post which appeared to suggest he wanted to mail pieces of a pig carcass to Muslims in support of the protesters during the Muhammed comic controversy.
On September 9, 2019, the Green Party issued a statement insisting that there is "zero chance" of reopening the abortion debate; few hours after May stated the Green Party will not ban members from trying to reopen abortion debate in an interview. May later added that MPs risk being ousted if they move to reopen the debate. From September 10 to 16, 2019, attention was focused on Pierre Nantel, the candidate for Longueuil--Saint-Hubert. He created this attention over his comments about Québec separatism on a Quebec radio station. May disputed that Nantel was a Quebec sovereigntist, but Nantel contradicted her afterwards. However, May stated he could be still be a candidate. Some journalists and columnists were confused by her reasoning for keeping him as a candidate. Furthermore, May was asked by the son of the late Jack Layton to not use the latter for political points when defending Nantel. On September 10, 2019, Mark Vercouteren, the candidate for Chatham-Kent-Leamington, and Macarena Diab, the candidate for Louis-Hébert were revealed to have made "anti-abortion statements". A spokesperson defended both of them but a few days later, it was revealed by May that Vercoutern was being "re-vetted" over the party not noticing Vercouteren's questionnaires. A week after the original comments were revealed, Vercouteren stated his view aligned with the party. On September 12, 2019, Dale Dewar, Green candidate for Regina--Qu'Appelle, apologized for making past negative comments on social media about Israel, Zionism and Israelis.
On October 15, 2019, the Green Party found anti-Islam social-media posts by four of its Quebec candidates.
Starting on September 23, 2019, the GPC drew scrutiny around the world for manipulating a picture of Elizabeth May to make it seem as if she was using a reusable cup and metal straw instead of a disposable cup. When she was on Tout le monde en parle, May clarified that the original photo featured a compostable cup; the picture was modified to add the GPC's logo. She did admit that it was ridiculous that a staffer modified the picture.
Leading up to and during the campaign, May talked about what she would do in a minority. On September 3, 2019, she announced that she would not be prepared to prop up any minority government of the major parties given current climate plans. Later, on September 26, 2019, May announced that the GPC would not prop up a minority government that moves forward with the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion. In the final week of the campaign, the idea of a coalition took hold. May said that said in countries with proportional representation, parties can plan to govern together before the election, but that in Canada such talk is "meaningless" due to the first-past-the-post system.
In February 2019, LaPresse discovered that Martin Masse, the PPC's spokesperson, had written controversial blog posts in the past.The Star discovered that four members of the PPC had used racist and anti-immigrant rhetoric. They were removed from the party as a result. Bernier himself has been accused multiple times of using dog-whistle politics. Bernier responded to this by saying racists are not welcome in his party and acknowledging that Canada is a diverse country. Later, Maxime Bernier generated a reaction after a photograph of him with members of an anti-immigration group surfaced online. Bernier told the media that everyone is welcome at his events, that he is unaware of their views, that he would condemn them if the media could show that they were racists and that racists were not welcome in his party, but experts were skeptical of Bernier and thought that he was well aware of who was attending. A few weeks later, he was also reprimanded for being photographed with Paul Fromm. A spokesperson stated that Bernier had no idea who Fromm was, but once again experts were skeptical of the explanation. On September 23, 2019, news sites revealed that one of the PPC's founding members was a White nationalist and two others had ties to Anti-immigration groups. One of those founding members--a former American neo-Nazi leader--was volunteering for the party. He was also a member of the Ontario Progressive Conservative Party. He was removed from the party on August 29, 2019 after his past came to light. The PPC's spokesperson said that it did not come up during the vetting process since he came from the US. They later cited to Global News that his removal was an example of the Party taking a stand against racism. The party told Le Devoir that they did not have enough resources to vet them at the beginning of the PPC 's formation and the two other members denied having racist views.
On July 30, 2019, Cody Payant, People's candidate for Carlton Trail--Eagle Creek, attracted attention for a social media post defending Lindsay Shepherd. Payant argue that it was taken out of context. Bernier defended Payant after he spoke to Payant and was satisfied with his explanation.
On September 2, 2019, Maxime Bernier called Greta Thunberg "mentally unstable" on Twitter. A few days later, he backtracked his comments stating his intention was to criticize her role as "a spokesperson for climate alarmism" and did not mean to denigrate her. After the campaign, Bernier classified these comments as his only election regret and as a mistake.
On September 18, 2019, Steven Fletcher, People's candidate for Charleswood--St. James--Assiniboia--Headingley, denied allegations for illegally using campaign signs and voter data from the Conservative Party. Fletcher also suggested that the move was political motivated from the Conservative and took issues to the fact that the letter was leaked online. On September 19, 2019, Nancy Mercier, People's candidate for Beauséjour, raised concern from local organizations over comments about Islamism and immigration Mercier indicated her concerns are with Islamic terrorism and not members of any race. On October 10, 2019, Sybil Hogg, the candidate for Sackville-Preston-Chezzetcook, came under fire for a series of anti-Islam tweets calling Islam "pure evil" and for the religion to be banned in Canada. The PPC's executive director reached out to her to understand the context and Hogg explained that she failed to draw the distinction between "Islam" and "Islamism" or "radical Islam". She added that her concern was radical Islam and not Islam. Due to the response, the PPC said they would not take action against her. Later, Bernier called the tweets "absolutely racist and Islamophobic" and confirmed that she will not face consequences.
Several candidates were dropped or stepped down before the election. On September 6, 2019, Ken Pereira, People's candidate for Portneuf--Jacques-Cartier, stepped down because of a "terrible family tragedy". When announced as the candidate, Pereira had attracted attention for his online "anti-vaccine" and "pro-conspiracy theory" posts and was defended by the party. On September 12, 2019, Brian Misera, People's candidate for Coquitlam--Port Coquitlam, claimed that he was removed for asking Bernier to denounce racism more clearly in an online video posted on Misera's Twitter account. However, the PPC stated that Misera was removed after he allegedly admitted to the party that he was his own financial agent, a violation of Elections Canada rules. Yet a statement of Misera's disqualification obtained by City News made no reference to the PPC's claim or Misera's claim. On September 30, 2019, Chad Hudson, People's Party candidate for the Nova Scotia riding of West Nova, tweeted that he would no longer be running for the party, less than two hours before Elections Canada's deadline for candidates to officially register to be on the ballot. He criticized the party and its leadership for being "divisive", as well as "bad for democracy" and contributors to the "toxic state of politics". Hudson, later admitted that he did not notify the party of his decision. On October 8, 2019, Victor Ong the People's Party of Canada candidate in Winnipeg North resigned after deciding the party is "racist and intolerant".
On August 19, 2019, environmental groups were warned by Elections Canada that any third party that promotes information about climate change during the election period with paid advertising could be engaging in partisan activity. Registered charities with a charitable tax status would be required to register as a third party for the election if they engaged in any partisan activity incurring $500, which would include advertising and surveys, or risk their charitable tax status. These regulations were a result of People's Party of Canada leader Maxime Bernier expressing doubts about the legitimacy of climate change, because a third party that advertises the dangers of climate change during the election period may be considered to be indirectly advocating against the People's Party. After confusion about the warning, Elections Canada released a public statement to clarify that the prohibition applied only to advertising, not speech in general the following day.
On August 25, 2019, billboards purchased by a True North Strong & Free Advertising Corp., a third party promoting the People's Party of Canada's immigration policy, with the text "Say NO to Mass Immigration" appeared in Vancouver, Calgary, Regina, and Halifax. True North Strong & Free Advertising Corp is run by Frank Smeenk, the chief executive of a Toronto-based mining exploration company. The Peoples Party of Canada told the media that it had no contact with the group. Initially, Pattison Outdoor Advertising defended the billboards, arguing that they complied with the Advertising Standards Canada Code but later decided to pull them and said that they would review their protocols on advocacy advertising. The Pattison president later revealed that the billboards would have stayed up had True North Strong & Free identified themselves on the billboards and how the public could get in touch with them.
On October 3, 2019, the CBC revealed that the Manning Centre is a driving financial force behind a network of anti-Liberal Facebook pages pumping out political messaging and memes during the federal election campaign. Facebook pulled one of their ads due to the excess violence. The Manning Centre's donations to those groups, worth more than $300,000, are hidden, since the think tank, which did not register as a third party, does not intend to disclose them. Elections Canada says there is nothing in the law to prevent outside groups from raising money and then passing those donations along to third-party advertisers. As a result of this lack of disclosure, Democracy Watch filed a complaint to Canada's Chief Electoral Officer. It argued that the Manning Centre should have registered as a third party. Furthermore, due to this controversy, Jean-Pierre Kingsley, the former chief electoral officer, said that the next federal government must close the gap in the law that allowed the Manning Centre to raise money and then pass it along to third-party groups without disclosing the source of those donations.
Third-party spending (from June 30, 2019, until October 1, 2019)[k]
Remove the Investor-State Dispute Settlement provisions from trade agreements.
Attempt to negotiate a free trade agreement with China.
Eliminate supply management for dairy, poultry and eggs.
During the Maclean's debate, Scheer said that refugees were "jumping the queue". Journalists called this a false statement and one expert explained that "there is no queue".
On September 17, 2019, Brock Harrison, Scheer's director of communication, and the CPC tweeted that the RCMP had confirmed Trudeau was under investigation for SNC-Lavalin. Scheer himself also repeated the allegation. Both tweets were removed after journalists deemed it to be false.
A claim was circulating online that Bill Morneau was related to RCMP Commissioner Brenda Lucki through her husband, which is what was stopping the RCMP investigation regarding SNC-Lavalin. The claim is false; Lucki's husband is not related to Morneau. Furthermore, there has been no confirmation that there is an RCMP investigation.
Rumours were circulating online that there was a scandal that resulted in Justin Trudeau's departure from West Point Grey Academy. This was false. The rumour was propagated by fake news sites, gossip magazines, Warren Kinsella and Ezra Levant. Then, on October 7, 2019, the Conservatives issued a press release referencing the rumour and asking "why did Justin Trudeau leave West Point Grey Academy?". The Toronto Star and The Globe and Mail devoted multiple reporters to the story and found nothing to corroborate it. The former headmaster also released a statement that said "there is no truth to any speculation that [Trudeau] was dismissed".
During the campaign, the NDP claimed Bill Morneau had used tax-havens when he was the executive chair of Morneau Shepell, which was proven false. A probe by Canadians for Tax Fairness found that Morneau Shepell's subsidiary in the Bahamas was a legitimate business and not a way to avoid taxes. The NDP retracted the statement a few weeks after the campaign had ended.
There were four leaders' debates. Scheer, May and Singh participated in the first one while Trudeau did not attend. The second one was attended by Trudeau, Blanchet, Scheer and Singh. The third and fourth debates featured all six leaders. Two debates, which would have featured foreign policy and climate change respectively, were cancelled.
Popular vote by province, with graphs indicating the number of seats won within that province or territory. (Because seats are awarded by the popular vote in each riding, the provincial popular vote does not necessarily translate to more seats.)
With 157, the Liberals won a plurality of seats in the House of Commons, allowing them to form a government albeit short of the majority government that they had won in 2015.
Marking the first time in Canadian history that no single party received more than 35% of the popular vote, the Conservatives won 34.41% of the popular vote, a plurality of the vote despite finishing 36 seats behind the Liberals, who won 33.07% of the vote. The NDP placed third in the popular vote at 15.98%, the party's worst performance since 2004, while the Bloc Québécois came in fourth with 7.69% of the popular vote, its best performance since 2008; as the Bloc Québécois vote is concentrated entirely in Quebec, however, the party placed ahead of the NDP in terms of seats despite winning less than half of the party's vote. The Greens placed fifth with 6.55% of the popular vote, while the People's Party received 1.64% in its inaugural election.
Conservative strength was predominantly concentrated in Western Canada, particularly in Alberta and Saskatchewan, where the party won all but one of the 48 seats between the two provinces. In British Columbia the Conservatives won 17 of the province's 42 seats, while in Manitoba the party won half the province's 14 seats, with the remainder split between the Liberals and NDP. The Conservatives increased their vote share in every district in three of those provinces (Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba). However, it only resulted in a net gain of 10 seats. In Ontario the party won 36 out of the province's 121 seats, an increase of three seats compared to 2015, with losses to the Liberals in the Golden Horseshoe being offset by gains from the Liberals and NDP elsewhere in the province, though Ontario was nevertheless only one of two provinces where the Conservatives saw their share of the popular vote decrease compared to 2015. In Quebec, the second province where the Conservatives won a lower share of the popular vote than they did in 2015, the party won 10 of the provinces 78 seats. In Atlantic Canada, the party was able to win 4 of the region's 32 seats after having been shut out entirely in 2015, winning 3 in New Brunswick and a single seat in Nova Scotia, though the party remained shut out of Newfoundland and Labrador and Prince Edward Island.
Only running in Quebec, the Bloc Québécois won 32 of the province's 78 seats, with the party doing particularly well in the Greater Montreal Area.[o] Gaining seats from the Conservatives, Liberals, and in particular the NDP, compared to 2015 the party saw its share of the vote increase in all but one of the province's 78 seats, the one exception being the Montreal riding of Laurier--Sainte-Marie, where the party ran a candidate other than former party leader Gilles Duceppe for the first time in its history.
Vote-splitting benefited the Conservatives in Ontario and Metro Vancouver, the Liberals in Quebec and the Maritimes, and the NDP in British Columbia and outside the GTA in Ontario. It also helped the Bloc in some Quebec ridings. Furthermore, analysis by different news outlets showed that the PPC cost the Tories six to seven seats. However, a Tory strategist said that it is not guaranteed that PPC voters would have voted for the Conservatives. The PPC's spokesperson echoed similar sentiments.
Strategic voting was prominent across the country. However, it was not the primary factor for most. According to a poll conducted after the election, of respondents who ultimately voted Liberal, 46 per cent said they had considered voting for the NDP at some point during the campaign. Another 29 per cent considered voting Green. Additionally, 15 per cent of Conservative voters considered voting for the People's Party.
Ninety-eight women were elected to federal seats in this election. This also set a new record, both by number and by percentage, but still fell short of equality advocates' goal of 30% women. The highest percentage of elected women was in the Green party, with two female MPs out of three elected Green Party members.
Following the election, Trudeau ruled out a coalition and announced that his new cabinet would be sworn in on November 20, 2019. On November 4, 2019, Elizabeth May announced that she would be stepping down as leader of the Green Party. On December 12, 2019, Andrew Scheer announced that he was resigning as leader of the Conservative Party.
Defeated parties sought recounts in three ridings where the races were won by a few hundred votes. The Bloc Québécois made its request in the Quebec Superior Court for the ridings of Hochelaga and Québec and the NDP sought a recount for the riding of Port Moody--Coquitlam. Federal judges accepted the requests and ruled that recounts should happen for those ridings. All three recount requests were withdrawn during the recounting process, thus the victors stayed the same.
The nature of the elections' results reignited calls for electoral reform. Some commentators argued against the current first-past-the-post system, while others defended it. Dominic O'Sullivan, Associate Professor of Political Science at Charles Sturt University, argued that Canada should follow in New Zealand's footsteps with their electoral reform. News outlets also published articles showing what the election results could have looked like if Trudeau had kept his promise on electoral reform.
After the election, Elizabeth May sent Prime Minister Justin Trudeau a letter recommending STV as a compromise for electoral reform since it meets some of the concerns Trudeau expressed in the past.
After Justin Trudeau's re-election on October 21, 2019, #Wexit trended on social media. However, experts stated part of the push was due to disinformation and bots. On November 4, 2019, the separatist group Wexit Alberta applied for federal political party status. On November 6, 2019, a poll conducted by Ipsos show a historic high level of interest in secession from Canada in both Alberta and Saskatchewan by 33% and 27%, respectively. On January 12, 2020, Wexit Canada was granted eligibility for the next federal election. They subsequently changed their name to the Maverick Party.
The United Party of Canada was deregistered on December 31, 2020 for failing to submit required financial documents or update party information.
The Stop Climate Change Party was deregistered on March 31, 2021 for failing to provide an auditor's report.
Evolution of voting intentions according to polls conducted during campaign period of the 2019 Canadian federal election, graphed from the data in the table below. Trendlines are local regressions, with polls weighted by proximity in time and a logarithmic function of sample size. 95% confidence ribbons represent uncertainty about the trendlines, not the likelihood that actual election results would fall within the intervals.
Evolution of voting intentions during the pre-campaign period of the 43rd Canadian federal election. Trendlines are local regressions, with polls weighted by proximity in time and a logarithmic function of sample size. 95% confidence ribbons represent uncertainty about the regressions, not the likelihood that actual election results would fall within the intervals. Source code for plot generation is available here.
Predictions three weeks before the election
The first-past-the-post system used in Canadian federal elections means that the number of seats won is not directly related to vote share. Thus, several approaches are used to convert polling data and other information into seat predictions. The table below lists some of the predictions.
^Not the incumbent, but stood in this seat and won.
^ abFollowing his removal from the NDP caucus, Pierre Nantel sat as an independent until the writ was dropped, but ran as a Green Party candidate on Federal election day.
^Erin Weir designated himself as a member of the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation following his expulsion from the NDP caucus. The CCF is not a registered party and Weir's designation exists only in a parliamentary, not electoral, sense. See: Co-operative Commonwealth Federation#2018
^While the source is from 2015, this still applied to 2019
^The House of Commons allows members to choose their own affiliation; Weir chose to revive the CCF name when he was ejected from the NDP caucus.
^Endorsed a Liberal minority with an NDP/Green balance of power
^Endorsed Heather McPherson, the NDP candidate in her riding of Edmonton-Strathcona
^The NDP changed their French slogan during the campaign. Prior to this one, they used "On se bat pour vous", which is "We Fight for You" in English.
^The GPC changed their French slogan during the campaign. Prior to this one, they used "Ni à droite ni à gauche. Vers l'avant ensemble", which is "Neither left nor right. Forward together" in English.
^According to Elections Canada rules, third parties are allowed to spend $1,023,400 in the pre-election period between June 30 and the start of the election campaign. They can spend an additional $511,700 during the election campaign.
^These are not all the third parties that spent money during the election
^As the number of seats in the House of Commons has increased over time, in terms of share of seats in the House the Conservative's formed the largest opposition caucus since 1980.
Translation of Libéraux des villes, bloquistes des champs
"While the dust is gradually settling after this unforgettable campaign, I look at the numbers and only one of the opposition parties wins: the Bloc Québécois.
Admittedly, the week before the vote, projections seemed to indicate that the Bloc could hope for an even better harvest: the Bloc's average of in the federal projection on Qc125 climbed to 39 seats, before dropping to an average of 33 seats on the eve of the vote. Yves-François Blanchet will finally be joined by a caucus of 32 MPs in the House of Commons for the coming years - more than triple the results of 2015.
Here are the results of the last federal election in Quebec:
The Liberal Party of Canada (LPC) remains the number one party in the province, with 34% of the vote, barely one point behind its 2015 result in Quebec. For its part, the Bloc jumped from 19% in 2015 to 32.5% in 2019. The Conservatives stood still in the popular vote and won two fewer seats than in 2015.
The biggest setback, not surprisingly, is that of the New Democratic Party (NDP). In 2015, Thomas Mulcair led his party to 25% of the vote in Quebec and to a respectable (albeit disappointing at the time) 16 seats - the largest total of the ten provinces in the country. This time, with a loss of nearly 15 points in Quebec, only Alexandre Boulerice saved his riding of Rosemont-La Petite-Patrie.
In Montreal, the Liberals won 16 of the island's 18 ridings - the best LPC result since Pierre Elliott Trudeau's sweep in 1980. In total, LPC candidates won nearly half of the city's ballots, more than 30 points ahead of their rivals:
Nevertheless, the Bloc has significantly improved its 2015 score, even in the city. An interactive map of the Bloc's variation in support by riding is available here. Green ridings refer to those where the Bloc has increased its share of the vote; red ridings refer to those where the fraction of the Bloc vote has decreased. The dark colours indicate greater variations between the two elections.
And there's not much red. Of the 78 federal ridings in Quebec, the Bloc increased its share of the vote in 77 of them. The only exception is Laurier-Sainte-Marie, where the Bloc candidate obtained about five points less than Gilles Duceppe in 2015:
Indeed, even if the Bloc's results remained modest in the metropolis, we note that the party has climbed everywhere else. The increase in the Bloc's vote was more pronounced in the 450 region, where the Bloc won a lot of ridings.
In fact, outside Montreal, the Bloc finished first with just over 36% of the vote.
In addition to the 450, the Bloc has particularly climbed in resource regions such as Abitibi, Nord-du-Québec, Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean, Bas-Saint-Laurent and Gaspésie.
However, it is important to note that the federal Liberals did not suffer the same fate as their provincial cousins last year - remember that the Quebec Liberal Party won only two ridings east of Anjou and two west of Vaudreuil. With the resignations of Philippe Couillard and Sébastien Proulx in the months following the Quebec election, the PLQ is currently only represented in the Greater Montreal and Outaouais regions.
On the other hand, the LPC still obtained 30% of the vote outside Montréal and had MPs elected in several regions of Québec: Mauricie, Estrie, Gaspésie, Outaouais, Montérégie and Québec. The Quebec wing of the LPC therefore remains well represented in the House of Commons."
^ abcSome of the information (vote share and turnout) in the previous reference is not reflective of the final results
^Includes Heather Leung, who was ejected from the Conservative Party after candidate registration was closed.
^Includes Marthe Lépine, who was ejected by the party after candidate registration was closed, and Michael Kalmanovitch, who publicly withdrew and threw his support to the local NDP candidate, both after candidate registration was closed.
^Includes Pierre Nantel, who ran as a candidate for the Green Party in the 2019 election.
^Erin Weir used this as his parliamentary affiliation after being ejected from the NDP; the CCF ceased to exist as a party when the NDP was formed in 1961.