Justin Trudeau, round two

Welcome to a sneak peek of the Maclean’s Politics Insider newsletter. Sign-up at the bottom of the page to get it delivered straight to your inbox.The theme of election night 2019 was expectations: Justin Trudeau exceeded them, Andrew Scheer failed to meet them.With Trudeau’s clear minority victory the Prime Minister can continue to govern, so long as he maintains the confidence of the House. Yet Monday night’s results were also a rebuke of Trudeau’s handling of his first term, and with  Canada’s political map heavily divided — the separatist Bloc Quebecois has been re-invigorated, while the Liberals were completely shut out of Alberta and Saskatchewan by the Conservatives — the question now shifts to whether a newly-humbled Trudeau can bridge those divisions.Let’s start this morning’s Politics Insider with scenes from the campaign headquarters last night.Relief instead of triumph: Liberals celebrated their muted victory at Montreal’s Palais des congrès and as Shannon Proudfoot writes, they met the results with “slightly hoarse exhalation of relief rather than a roar of triumph“:To be sure, the crowd went predictably wild when the networks declared that the Liberals would get to keep governing, albeit in a weakened minority state. Soon after, chants of “Four more years” broke out, despite the fact that the result meant that kind of longevity would be a stretch. “‘Four more years’ seems so American,” a woman in the crowd commented to a man with her. “Yeah,” he agreed.The deflated-balloon quality of this exchange, even on the night of a putative win, felt emblematic of the whole affair. Past midnight, Pablo Rodriguez—at dissolution of Parliament the minister of Canadian heritage, re-elected on Monday in Honoré-Mercier—took the podium as the warm-up act for Trudeau, and he began by bellowing, “How’s everybody?” It was the perfect question for the night—how do you find the proper emotional response to a chastening half-victory that could very well have been a well-deserved defeat, only four years after sweeping the country with a Camelot North updraft that made your opponents grind their teeth to stumps in frustration because they couldn’t compete? Read more››Read Trudeau’s full post-election speech here: “Liberals know, like all Canadians know, that it is always possible to do better.”This movie sucks: The mood was predictably glum as Conservatives gathered in Regina to absorb their defeat, writes Jason Markusoff:Doors opened at Conservative HQ in Regina a half-hour before polls closed in central Canada, with the party far behind in early returns. Supporters shuffled into the hall quietly, like moviegoers entering the theatre after the previews had begun. They hoped the big screens gave them something, anything, to cheer for.Not tonight. Not this year. As CTV became the first English network to declare Liberal victory, the Regina crowd watched another station to holler for their team leading in Maxime Bernier’s seat. A few minutes later, CBC called it, and as hologram Justin Trudeau strode onto the screen, the TVs switched over? to Global, the last network to declare for Justin Trudeau.

Reality gave the Conservative results-watching crew few reasons to raise aloft the “Scheer 2019” signs on their seats, or to don the free blue-and-white “C” hats on their chairs. Sure, they cheered and sign-wagged when Scheer won his Regina seat, or chanted “na na na na, hey hey, goodbye” when local Liberal veteran Ralph Goodale conceded. And Scheer’s two incoming Regina MPs addressed the crowd as feel-good warm-up acts to the Opposition leader. Some scenes were thrilling. For this audience, the movie sucked. Read more ››
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