A Liberal minority government has been elected in Canada and this is good news for climate action. A Liberal majority government would have meant more climate dualism. Their minority status may force them to ratchet up their climate ambitions and soften their support for the fossil fuel industry. The fact that Liberals have won only 157 seats means they must find a way to gain the support of at least 13 members of parliament to get to a 170 majority. This means that Justin Trudeau’s Liberals will need to deal with the NDP (24 seats) and the Green Party (3 seats) to get anything done.
The Block Quebecois won 32 seats with an environmental policy platform. As a separatist party the Block cannot afford to be seen working too closely with the federal government, however, we could see unexpected alliances develop in support of climate action.
If the Liberals want to form a majority government they could join forces with the NDP and the Greens. NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh has already suggested that he would consider a coalition. NDP Strategist Anne McGrath said the party would work to advance the urgent priorities of Canadians and this includes acting to combat climate change. The Green Party’s Leader Elizabeth May has made it abundantly clear that she would support climate action.
It is more likely that the Liberals will form a minority government and govern by securing the confidence of the majority of the House. Although minority governments tend to last between 12 and 18 months, this may be a more stable government than historical precedent would suggest. The NDP is
broke and cannot afford another election and the Block are very content to sit on the seats that they have gained.
As predicted by the polls the environment was a major issue in this election and climate has emerged as the dividing line separating East from West. Despite these divisions, many who support climate action take great comfort from the fact that the Conservatives will not form the next government.
Updated to reflect the latest seat totals on October 22, 2019 at 8:05 am EST