The ins and outs of a minority government

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The day after an election in Canada: Justin Trudeau, leader of the Liberal Party and outgoing Prime Minister, takes back power in a government, this time, in the minority. Zoom on the functioning of a minority in the House of Commons.

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👀 Background

The day after an election in Canada: Justin Trudeau, leader of the Liberal Party and outgoing Prime Minister, takes back power in a government that is once again in the minority. Besides 2019, we have to go back to 2008 to observe another government that did not win a majority of seats, while the Conservatives were in power at that time.

Let's go back to 2019.

When the election was called in September 2019, the Liberal Party of Canada held 179 seats, the Conservative Party 97, the New Democratic Party 40, the Bloc Québécois 10 and the Green Party 2. Maxime Bernier was the only MP from the Popular Party. The Liberals were therefore in the majority in the House of Commons with their 179 seats (170 out of 338 for the majority).

After 40 days of campaigning and after the election on October 21, 2019, the Liberal Party fell to 157 seats and the Conservative Party rose to 121. For its part, the NDP fell to 24. The Bloc took 32 seats, the Green Party, 3. The People's Party has lost its only deputy.

It is therefore a minority government that has taken power, and by the same token, more fragile. Justin Trudeau's Liberals must come to an agreement or ally with one or more other parties to pass their bills and, among other things, approve the budget.

“Without forming a coalition, two parties can agree on a support agreement. Generally, we will have a public agreement, in which it is indicated in which cases we vote for the government, in which cases we can vote against and for how long the agreement is valid, explains Philippe Lagassé, of Carleton University. . "

Source: La Presse, October 21, 2019

Une donnée intéressante qui est ressortie du vote de 2019 est que les conservateurs ont récolté plus d’appuis que les libéraux à l’échelle du pays, avec 34,4 % des voix contre 33 % pour les libéraux. Comment expliquer alors que ces derniers aient remporté plus de sièges que les conservateurs?

Notre mode de scrutin, dit uninominal à un tour, a avantagé les libéraux. Ce qui est remis en question dans ce système est la représentation non proportionnelle des partis par rapport au nombre de votes, ainsi que le fait qu’il favorise les grands partis politiques au détriment des plus petits. Nous verrons à expliquer ce fonctionnement plus bas.

If Canada were in a system of pure proportionality, considering the country as a single large entity; the percentage of seats a party occupies in the House of Commons would correspond to the percentage of votes received. All votes would count equally, so the Conservatives would have won the 2019 election.

“The implementation of a different voting system has been tried a few times in Canada - notably in British Columbia, Ontario and Prince Edward Island - but without success. Each time, the population rejected the modifications suggested during popular consultations. In Quebec, the Caquist government has promised to consult voters on this matter during the next general election. "

Source: Radio-Canada, October 22, 2019

Challenge

To fully understand the differences between the main possible voting methods and how these methods can influence the outcome of the election, consult with your students this infographic created by Radio-Canada.

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