OTTAWA—The Liberals have once more won the most seats in the House of Commons, but this time they do not have an outright majority. So what happens next?
With fewer than the 170 seats needed to command the House on their own, Justin Trudeau will need the support of at least one other party to pass legislation in Parliament—and survive a confidence vote on a speech from the throne laying out his plans for governing.
Before then, Trudeau will have to deal with some of the implications of Mondays results.
Trudeau is still the prime minister and Canada is technically still in the same “ministry”—essentially, the same cabinet or administration—as before the election.
However, the first decision Trudeau makes will likely be to reshuffle his cabinet, considering Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale and Natural Resources Minister Amarjeet Sohi lost their seats.
Trudeaus next decisions will be to set a time for Parliament to reconvene. Technically, the Governor General summons a new Parliament, but does so on the advice of the prime minister.
The timing of reconvening the House has varied throughout Canadian history. In 2015, it took over a month for MPs to be called back to Ottawa, though a new cabinet was sworn in far earlier than that. Given that there is less dramatic change than in that year, its possible we may see Parliament return sooner.
When the new Parliament sits, its very first order of business will be the election of a Speaker. Geoff Regan, the current Speaker, was re-elected to his Halifax-area seat Monday but isnt automatically returned to the position.
The longest-serving MP in the House will preside over that election. Louis Plamondon, a Bloc MP, will oversee the proceedings for the fourth time—Plamondon has held his Quebec seat since 1984 and was comfortably re-elected.
And its after the election of the Speaker that the main event begins, with a speech from the throne. In the speech, the government will lay out its priorities and hint at what direction it will take in the new Parliament.
The speech from the throne is also the first opportunity for opposition parties to try to bring down the government in a confidence challenge. Since the Liberals have less than a majority of seats, they will need to make sure they can secure at least 170 votes to keep the confidence of the House and their grip on power.
Trudeau has a few options. For one, he might bet that no party will want to bring down the government and potentially force another election—or otherwise give the Conservatives the opportunity to form government.
In that case, Trudeau would not make any agreements with the opposition parties, bet that he would survive a potential confidence vote anyway, and from there see if he could secure support on an issue-to-issue basis.
But if he wants a more stable situation, Trudeau could make a more formal deal with another party to secure its support on confidence matters, an arranRead More – Source