Despite losing the popular vote, Justin Trudeau is likely to retain his position as Prime Minister of Canada, though his Parliamentary caucus has been reduced to 155 seats in the House of Commons, short of the 170 seats needed to form a government.
Trudeau is likely to engage in talks this week with Jagmeet Singh, the leader of the New Democrats, which has won 25 ridings; and Francois-Yves Blanchet, the leader of the Bloc Quebecois, which has won 32 ridings.
Trudeau will need the support of at least one of those leaders to form a government.
In Canada, minority governments survive for fewer than two and half years.
But Trudeau’s government is the target of an ongoing investigation by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police; it was put on hold just prior to the election being called. Political operatives expect charges for obstruction of justice to be brought against Trudeau in the coming weeks — and without majority control of the House, he will be unable to shut down the oversight functions of either the Justice Committee or the Ethics Committee.
With an emboldened Conservative Party, having gained 26 seats this cycle to win 121 seats, the opposition can be expected to use those committees to dig more deeply in the SNC Lavalin public corruption scandal, and ethical breaches related to the PMO’s handling of the affair.
Andrew Scheer indicated that he intends to stay on as Leader of the Conservative Party, despite falling short of hopes at forming a government this election. On election night, Scheer told supporters that the Conservative Party will be ready to pounce when the Trudeau government falls.
Political observers are closely watching Scheer’s next moves. Election results made clear that the Conservatives must address regional policy and messaging strategies in Atlantic Canada, Quebec, and Ontario — where the party had been hoping to make stronger gains.