REVIEW | How to Survive in Canada under a Minority Government
After 10 p.m. on election night, a general picture of who won the 2019 senate and house of representatives elections should emerge. m Monday night at midnight ET, barring any last-minute recounts in razor-thin contests
The "winner" of an election is traditionally the party that garnered the most seats on election night. "
However, a simple majority vote isn't always a guarantee of power.
One thing to keep in mind regardless of Monday's outcome is that maintaining control requires retaining the support of a majority of MPs in the House of Commons.
The most fundamental truth of Canada's democratic system And now is probably a good time to emphasize that, as polls show a very close race.
Most elections have a clear winner: one party secures a majority of votes, and the party's head is elected prime minister.
Even though the government and Parliament are both dissolved when an election is called, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau continues to serve as leader of the country at this time. Until Trudeau voluntarily steps down or is forced to do so, he will continue to serve as prime minister.
If the Liberals take 267 of the 338 seats in parliament, Trudeau will remain prime minister. That's not rocket science.
Trudeau will almost certainly announce his resignation and plans will be made to swear in a new government if the opposition party obtains a majority in the upcoming election.
If no party receives votes from 170 seats or more, things become marginally more complicated.
It all comes down to who can win the House's confidence, though.
Recent days of feverish speculation about potential coalitions have likely led to more uncertainty than insight. In the absence of a majority, however, it raises the prospect that the ruling party will need the support of at least one other party in order to enact policy.
It's all a game of trust
Say, hypothetically, that October 1st's outcome One recent prediction for the Canadian federal election of 2018–19 has the Liberals winning 137 seats, the Conservatives 135 seats, the Bloc Québécois 33 seats, the New Democrats 28 seats, the Greens 4, and Maxime Bernier's People's Party of Canada 1 seat.
By virtue of his position as prime minister, Trudeau is authorized to call a special session of Parliament, deliver a speech from the throne, and seek the support of the House of Commons. He would need the backing of at least two political groups to do this; for example, a majority of the House of Representatives consisting of 137 Liberals, 33 Bloc Québécois MPs, and 28 New Democrats.
It's worth noting, though, that this is true even if the Conservatives come out on top. Say the Tories take 137 seats, while the Liberals take 135.
Just like in the first, Trudeau could try to gain the support of lawmakers by addressing Parliament. Once more, his government would require the backing of opposition groups. However, with that backing, it could stay in power.
Trudeau would have to resign or ask the Governor General to call a new election if the Liberals lost the confidence vote in the House.
The Governor General retains the authority to invite an alternative candidate, such as Andrew Scheer, to form a government in either scenario. The Governor General would likely agree to call elections if that government also failed to gain House confidence.
The alternatives are not ruled out. For example, Scheer could actively pursue an agreement with one or more of the other parties, effectively thwarting Trudeau's hopes of winning the confidence of the House.
The fact remains, however, that a minority government would require support from the House of Commons in order to remain in office.
Infrequent, but not unheard of: minorities
Nothing more than speculation should be made for the next six days. It's not a theoretical possibility, though; there have been multiple instances of minority governments successfully governing in Canada's history.
The incumbent Liberals in New Brunswick won 21 seats in the provincial election last fall, falling short of the Progressive Conservatives by one and falling short of a majority by four. Even though Brian Gallant's government tried to keep going, it was voted down in the legislature by a score of 25 to 23. At that point, a Conservative Party administration headed by Blaine Higgs took office.
British Columbians elected 43 Liberals, 41 New Democrats, and 3 Greens a year ago. The incumbent Liberal premier, Christy Clark, attempted to govern, but an agreement was reached between the New Democrats and the Greens whereby three Green MLAs would support an NDP government that was committed to pursuing a shared set of priorities.
Clark went to the lieutenant-governor of the province to request a new election after the Liberal government was defeated in the legislature. Instead, the LG asked John Horgan of the NDP to form a government.
With 29 seats, the New Democrats came close to a majority in Saskatchewan elections in 1999. For the sake of keeping the government in power, NDP leader Roy Romanow formed a coalition with three Liberal MLAs.
Ontario's Progressive Conservatives lost the province's legislative election to a Liberal government supported by New Democratic Party legislators back in 1985.
In 1929, the Liberals who were already in power in Saskatchewan won 28 seats. This put them four short of a majority. Premier James Gardiner appeared before the legislature, but he was ultimately deposed by a group that included Conservatives, Progressives, and Independents.
A coalition arrangement or "confidence and supply" agreement is a common form of formal agreement between parties where one party does not have a majority of seats.
Two or more parties form a coalition to govern together, with ministers from each coalition member party serving in the cabinet.
Confidence and supply deals involve a smaller party promising to back a larger party's government (typically for an agreed upon amount of time) in exchange for the larger party's promise to work toward a common set of goals or policies.
It's not always necessary, however, for there to be such an arrangement. For instance, from 2006-2011, Stephen Harper's Conservatives governed without a formal agreement, winning support for legislation and then daring the opposition to defeat it on a case-by-case basis.
The basics of constitutional procedure will always have some degree of political overtones. The Liberals and New Democrats attempted to form a coalition in 2008 with the backing of the Bloc Québécois, but it ultimately failed after Harper asked the Governor General to prorogue Parliament on the eve of a confidence vote. After prorogation, the Liberals lost their resolve, and Harper's Conservatives continued to denounce the coalition as an unholy alliance.
However, it is important to remember the fundamentals of our parliamentary system when discussing the potential operations of a minority government.
Oct. 31st's results will The 21st will determine the tone of the next legislature and the trajectory of federal policy.
The "winner," however, will be the party leader who can maintain the House's confidence.
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