Global News is projecting a Liberal minority government, though all of the votes have yet to be counted across the country.
As of 12 a.m. ET, the Liberals are leading or elected in 156 ridings. That’s 14 seats shy of the 170 MPs needed to form a majority in Canada’s 338-seat House of Commons.
Without holding the majority of the seats, the party needs the support of other MPs in order to pass legislation.
A minority government could receive support from its opponents on an ad-hoc basis or even join them in a formal coalition arrangement. If that doesn’t happen, Canadians could face another election sooner than later.
Each of the party leaders was asked about minority scenarios at various points leading up to the vote. Here’s some of what they had to say on the campaign trail.
Green Party Leader Elizabeth May has been clear that Greens would not prop up any government that supports pipelines.
The Liberals bought the controversial Trans Mountain pipeline in 2018, but vowed that proceeds from the project would go toward green initiatives.
May later said that talk of a coalition during the campaign was “meaningless.”
But she has expressed a willingness for cross-party cooperation. One of the Green platform planks was setting up a cabinet with representatives from each party to collaborate on tackling climate change.
On election night, she said what really matters now is how many seats the Liberals get.
“None of the other parties have put forward a credible climate plan,” she said from her campaign headquarters.
NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh tried to counter the Liberal narrative that voting NDP would split the progressive vote and let the Tories cruise to victory by speaking out in favour of an NDP-Liberal coalition.
Singh has told voters not to “settle for less” by choosing the Liberals.
He outlined six policy areas that would allow the party to support a possible Trudeau government — climate change, pharmacare, interest-free student loans, cellphone bills, affordable housing and as well taxing the “ultra-rich.”
Singh later appeared to backtrack somewhat on his offer, saying his “focus is not on a coalition.”
One issue that could possibly threaten an alliance between the NDP and the Liberals is the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion. Singh is opposed to the controversial project, which would expand the capacity of the pipeline from Alberta’s oilsands to Burnaby, B.C., the area where Singh is seeking re-election.
Asked during the campaign whether he would make cancellation a condition for his party to support a possible Liberal minority, Singh said he is fundamentally opposed to the project, but did not explicitly commit to toppling the Liberals if the project continues.
“Yeah, so this is something I’ve been very clear on. I’m fully opposed to Trans Mountain. I’ve been opposed to it, I will continue to be opposed to it,” Singh said.
Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau has not addressed whether he would be open to the possibility of an NDP coalition, saying he is focused on getting Liberals elected.
Asked which party he preferred to work with in a minority scenario, Trudeau said his preference is to have a “strong, clear mandate” that would allow the Liberals to stand up to Conservative premiers on issues such as climate change and cuts to services.
Trudeau’s reluctance to discuss the idea didn’t stop Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer from raising the spectre of a Liberal-NDP coalition in the event of a Tory minority.
Even if an incumbent government loses, traditionally, it has the ability to seek the confidence of the House by attempting to form a coalition, or by getting their support case-by-case.
“Trudeau will form a coalition with the NDP to cling to power if he loses the election,” Scheer tweeted. “That will mean bigger deficits, higher taxes, and less money in your pocket. It is the costly coalition you cannot afford.”
The Bloc Québécois was leading or elected in 32 of Quebec’s 78 seats as of 11:30 ET on Monday.
The party’s leader Yves-François Blanchet has previously said he won’t formally prop up any minority government.
“If something is proposed in Parliament which is good for Quebec, we will vote in favour of it. If something is proposed which is not good for Quebec, we will go against it,” Blanchet told reporters in French after one of the debates.
— With files from Hannah Jackson, Beatrice Britneff and Amanda Connolly, Global News