NDP to hold balance of power despite election losses

Liberal minority on the way

UPDATE: 9:20 p.m.

Justin Trudeau remains prime minister but the Liberals will need the support of at least one party to govern a country that emerged bitterly divided from a bruising 40-day election campaign.

With results still pouring in late Monday, the Liberals had 157 seats — 13 short of the 170 needed for a majority in the 338-seat House of Commons.

A resurgent Bloc Quebecois scooped up 32 seats, dashing Liberal hopes of making gains in Quebec that could have ensured a second consecutive majority mandate.

Despite a strong campaign by NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh, his party was leading or elected in just 23 seats and nearly wiped out in Quebec, the province that only eight years ago delivered an orange wave that pushed the NDP into official Opposition status for the first — and so far, only— time.

Nevertheless, Monday's result leaves the NDP potentially in the driver's seat, holding the balance of power.

Trudeau, whose Liberals entered the campaign with 177 seats, will need the support of either the NDP or the Bloc to command the confidence of the House of Commons, the first test of which will come within weeks on a throne speech to open a new session of Parliament.

And that could well exacerbate divisions that worsened over the course of the campaign and were apparent in the Liberals' being shut out entirely in Alberta and Saskatchewan. The two oil-producing provinces went solid blue, delivering every seat to the Conservatives.

Indeed, the Conservatives were slightly ahead in the popular vote overall. But with so much of their vote concentrated in the two western provinces, the party fell short of the Liberals' tally, taking just 121 ridings.

Singh has signalled the NDP will fight plans to expand the Trans Mountain Pipeline to carry Alberta oilsands crude to the British Columbia coast, en route to overseas markets. Trudeau's government purchased the pipeline for $4.5 billion to ensure the expansion project would proceed, a decision that cost the Liberals support among progressive voters.

The Liberals owed their lead over the Tories largely to Ontario. The country's largest province delivered 79 seats to the Liberals, compared to 36 for the Conservatives and just six for the NDP.

In Quebec, the Liberals were down to 35 seats, just ahead of the Bloc Quebecois with 32. The Conservatives were leading in 10 and NDP in one.

UPDATE: 7:45 p.m.

Justin Trudeau is expected to remain prime minister but the Liberals may need the support of one or more opposition parties to govern.

The Liberals are elected or leading in 144 ridings across the country — 26 short of the 170 seats needed for a majority in the 338-seat House of Commons.

Andrew Scheer's Conservatives are leading or elected in 105 ridings, while the NDP has 18 and the Greens one.

Some ridings, especially in British Columbia, have yet to report any results and others have reported only a few polls' worth.

But it appears that Trudeau will at least have a shot at a second mandate, with a minority government.

The Liberals are showing strength in the two central Canadians provinces that account for almost 60 per cent of the seats up for grabs.

In Quebec, the Liberals are leading in 34 ridings, just ahead of the Bloc Quebecois with 33. The Conservatives are leading in nine and the NDP in two.

And in Ontario, the Liberals are leading in 41 ridings, to the Conservatives' 29 and NDP's 10.

– The Canadian Press

UPDATE: 7:40 p.m.

The Canadian Press is projecting that the Liberal party will win the most seats in the 2019 federal election, giving them the best chance to form the next government.

Whether Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau wins a majority, however — or can reach an arrangement with another party to sustain a minority government — is yet to be determined. The numbers would appear to imply it will be a minority.

The Liberals left Atlantic Canada with a commanding lead, down just a few seat from their sweep in the region in 2015, and the gains Conservatives made as more westerly votes were counted were not enough to make up the difference.

The New Democrats have been reduced to a rump in Quebec thanks to a resurgent Bloc Quebecois taking back numerous seats from the NDP.

With ballots yet to be counted in many British Columbia ridings, expected to be the Green party's likeliest territory for pickups, the Greens are still enjoying a commanding lead in the New Brunswick riding of Fredericton.

– The Canadian Press

ORIGINAL: 7:25 p.m.

All signs are pointing a Liberal minority government.

Results are yet to come in from B.C., but with the Liberals leading or elected in 149 ridings and the combined opposition totalling 150 seats, it does not appear likely the governing Liberals will retain their majority.

The Conservatives are leading or elected in 102 ridings.

The Bloc Quebecois is making a strong showing in its province with 31 seats.

The NDP currently leads or has sealed 21 seats.

The Greens so far have a single seat, and the fledgling PPC is yet to get on the board.

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