Polls project that Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will narrowly hold onto power in Canada’s extremely close federal elections.
According to Canada’s CBC News, the Liberals are expected to keep the largest share of seats in Parliament despite losing the popular vote, meaning that Trudeau will remain PM after a fraught race against Conservative leader Andrew Scheer. In September, old photos resurfaced of Trudeau wearing blackface at an Arabian Nights-themed Halloween party in 2001, for which he apologized.
Although the Conservatives claim a narrow lead in the overall vote totals — 34.5 percent to 33 percent — the Liberal Party won enough seats in Quebec and Ontario offset the party’s poor showing in Alberta and Saskatechewan. The Liberals won an estimated 14 and 10 percent of the overall vote in those territories, respectively.
But because no party earned more than 50 percent of seats in Parliament, Trudeau will be forced to form a minority government in a power-sharing coalition with the New Democratic Party, the Bloc Quebecois, or both.
While the outcome is hardly the decisive referendum that Trudeau might have preferred, the results stem the tide of conservative victories in recent national elections — such as the populist Law and Justice Party clinging onto a second term earlier this month in Poland and the resurgence of far-right nationalism in Italy.
In each case, the rise of conservatism has brought increased attacks on local queer and trans communities, whether it’s the Italian government hosting hate groups or Polish towns declaring themselves “LGBT free-zones.”
Meanwhile, Trudeau was the first Canadian PM to visit a gay bar and the first to march in an LGBTQ+ Pride parade. And in 2017, the leader delivered an historic apology for the Canadian government’s “purge” of LGBTQ+ employees from the 1950 to the 1990s, when queer and transgender workers were surveilled, intimidated, and often forced out of their jobs.
“These aren’t distant practices of governments long forgotten,” he said at the time. “This happened systematically, in Canada, with a timeline more recent than any of us would like to admit.”
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