Justin Trudeau’s Liberal Party Weakened but Re-Elected in Canadian Election

The People’s Party of Canada, a new far-right movement, found no electoral success. Even its founder, the former Conservative foreign minister Maxime Bernier, lost his re-election bid.

Early Tuesday morning before all the ballots had been counted, the Liberals held 156 seats, 14 short of majority. The Conservatives, led by Mr. Scheer, won 122 seats. As was the case in polls throughout the campaign, the two parties were roughly tied in the popular vote, with the Conservatives slightly ahead.

Given the weakness of Liberals going into the campaign, analysts were already speculating that the disappointing result may now jeopardize Mr. Scheer’s hold on the party’s leadership.

On Monday, however, Mr. Scheer acted more like a winner, telling supporters that reducing Mr. Trudeau’s grip on Parliament set the stage for a complete Liberal defeat in the next election, adding that the Conservatives had been given “an endorsement from the Canadian people that it was the government in waiting.”

In the campaign, Mr. Scheer argued that he better understood and empathized with middle-class citizens, who are also the prime minister’s target audience. At a time when climate change topped voters’ concerns in many polls, Mr. Scheer pushed to cancel a carbon tax introduced by Mr. Trudeau and proposed a carbon reduction plan universally declared to be inadequate. An opponent of abortion who avoids gay pride parades, Mr. Scheer’s social conservatism evidently turned off many Canadians.

But the campaign overall focused more on personalties and Mr. Trudeau’s shortcomings than the issues and became exceptionally acrimonious, experts said.

Lori Turnbull, a professor of political science at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia, said the lack of constructive political debate and focus on childish name calling was nothing less than “tragic.”