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What Does A Liberal Minority Mean For Ontario After The Federal Election?

The federal election proved a victory for the Liberal party after a gruelling campaign and controversy regarding leader Justin Trudeau. The Reds managed to establish a minority government in their favour, ultimately securing a victory for the party. But what does a Liberal minority mean for Ontario?

In total, the Liberals won a total of 157 seats to the Conservatives' 121 across the country. However, compared to 2015 results, the party lost a significant amount of ridings. In fact, the 157 red seats nationwide represent a loss of 27 from four years earlier. In contrast, the Conservative Party recouped 22 seats, bolstering their number from 2015's total of 99.

If those results are narrowed to focus purely on Ontario, the Liberals have 79 seats, the Conservatives are at 36, and the NDP managed six. The Liberals managed to maintain their comfortable hold on the GTA, sweeping all 25 ridings located in the city of Toronto, despite the best efforts of the Conservatives and the NDP to garner more votes in the area.

But what do these results mean for Ontario?

For one, it means the political makeup of the province has not changed all that much. Not only did the Liberals hold the GTA, but in northeastern Ontario, every single incumbent was re-elected to his or her riding, reports CBC.

The majority of ridings in that area remained Liberal, with the rest being NDP. Nadia Verrelli, a political science professor at Laurentian University, suggests that would be a good fit politically as Jagmeet Singh's NDP and the Liberals are "natural allies."

"They can meet halfway," Verrelli said. "They can arrive at consensus. Their platforms are not far apart. It will be an interesting conversation."

And "interesting" conversations will definitely be needed.

During his campaign, Trudeau made a number of promises that he would fulfill as PM, but implementing them will be a struggle without the confidence of other parties' MPs.

The Liberals need the support of other parties in order to govern effectively, so Trudeau will essentially need the backing of the NDPs, Bloc Quebecois, and/or the Greens to get a majority of votes.

When it comes to a minority government, MPs could cause problems for the Trudeau government via a vote of non-confidence or by rejecting a budget or Speech from the Throne, according to TVO.

For now, though, the controversial carbon tax that Premier Doug Ford has been pushing to get rid of seems to be intact, for now. According to a TVO article, the carbon tax has already stood its ground in two provincial courts, and even if the Supreme Court invalidates it, there will be a strong reaction in order to save the tax and make any necessary changes to it.

CBC quotes Ford's press secretary Ivana Yelich as saying Ontario's blue government is hoping the federal reds will "work with us to ensure we are tackling important issues like climate change with real and effective solutions, while making sure our province is a place people and businesses can continue to prosper."

The Ford government has previously said it was committed to spending $30 million to challenge the tax in court.

Meanwhile, when it comes to Trudeau's "pharmacare", TVO says it's much more complicated than simple implementation. It's important to remember health care is actually a provincial responsibility, not federal, so to many degrees, it's still under the control of the Ford government.

Housing is another issue that may be hard for the Liberals to set due to the minority government. According to TVO, although both the NDP and Liberals agree with federal support for housing, the NDP has been pushing for a larger federal role in promising funding for affordable housing. Specifically, the NDP wants to see the promise of 50,000 affordable homes being built annually over the next 10 years. 

The truth is that whatever Trudeau and his party want to achieve it could be a hard road to get there. Traditionally, minority governments do not last as long in power as those of majority status.

The Liberals will surely see it as important to co-operate with other parties in order to avoid disagreements, rejection, and, potentially, a premature return to the polls in two years' time.

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