Canadians are going to the polls today to vote in their general election, and all signs point to it being quite the fight. 

CANADA (Agencies) – The two top contenders are current Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who is Liberal, and Conservative leader Andrew Scheer. Through it all, they’ve been virtually deadlocked in a tie for the popular vote.

That’s complicated enough, but remember that Canada operates on a parliamentary system. There are 338 seats across the country up for vote, and 170 seats are needed to form a majority government.

Polls show neither Trudeau nor Scheer are anywhere near that threshold, so the winner of the popular vote still may not have the support needed to actually fulfill that requirement. Both of the main candidates have had major challenges leading up to the election. Trudeau has been beset by flubs and scandals in recent months.

During this election campaign, nastiness has been one of the only unifying themes, as parties trade insults and dig up scandals from coast to coast to coast.

Canada votes in a general election on Monday, and the campaign rhetoric to this date has been toxic and “a desert from a public policy point of view,” says veteran Canadian pollster Nik Nanos of Nanos Research. All that has undeniably turned off Canada’s voters, and added another layer of complexity to one of the most unpredictable Canadian elections in recent history.

The two top contenders are Liberal leader and incumbent Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, and Conservative leader Andrew Scheer. Through it all, they’ve been tangled in a virtual tie for the popular vote. Neither has a clear path to governing in Canada’s parliamentary system. If people were to describe the election, it would be “Indecision 2019”.

Polls rates indicate healthcare is the top election issue for many Canadians although the climate crisis is not far behind. Taxes, education and the legalization of cannabis are other issues Canadians are wanting to hear more about. The Conservative party is perceived to have a more aggressive stand on cutting taxes while many voters believe Scheer will do less than other leaders on climate.

Oddly enough some Canadians are calling this the “Seinfeld” election, or the election about nothing. Many claim there isn’t one single issue that has engaged voters and that pollsters believe can swing the vote significantly towards one party or leader.

Canada’s election takes place in 338 ridings or seats across the country, and preliminary results should be announced around 8pm on election night. One hundred and seventy seats are needed to be able to form a majority government, and polls show neither Trudeau nor Scheer are anywhere near that threshold.

Forming a minority government (with the support of other parties) will also be complicated. The sitting Prime Minister — Trudeau, in this case — is usually granted the first crack at forming a government, even if he wins fewer seats than his opponents. That means that an opposition politician who wins the popular vote might have the most seats in parliament — but still not get the chance to form a government.

Trudeau – Scheer.

Justin Trudeau has been humiliated and diminished by scandals in recent months, all of them unforced errors. In 2015, he managed to awaken the ‘Trudeaumania’ but this time there’s no mania.

Last month, Trudeau had to apologize for wearing “blackface” during a school event almost 20 years ago. It was an embarrassing look for his campaign. Former US President Barack Obama tweeted his support for Trudeau, writing: “The world needs his progressive leadership now, and I hope our neighbors to the north support him for another term.”

Conservative Party Leader Andrew Scheer has tried and failed to capitalize on the scandal and other criticisms of Trudeau. His campaign has fiercely and consistently attacked Trudeau, but the negative emphasis hasn’t engaged voters the way Scheer had hoped. Mr. Sheer is fiscally and socially conservative, offering a stable government with tax cuts and balanced budgets. So far, voters in Quebec and Ontario, Canada’s two largest provinces, haven’t paid attention much to him or his policies.

To make matters worse for him, Scheer ended up disclosing that he is, in fact, an American citizen, with dual nationality in both Canada and the United States. Even thou he is in the process of renouncing his American citizenship, for many voters that was an unpleasant surprise and wondered why they should trust Scheer after a years-long career as a Canadian politician, during which he never spoke once of his US citizenship.

This time, a minority government is a likely outcome and the smaller parties and their leaders could surprise in the outcome.

 

The Yucatan Times
Newsroom



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