The Current

As parties consider minority options, overlapping speeches show communication problem: Vassy Kapelos

A panel of experts discuss what happened last night, the fallout, and what happens next as the parties look for a way to govern.

Post-election speeches, usually carefully timed, all happened almost at once

Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer, Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau and NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh speak after the results of Monday's election. This election showed "the worst in our political parties maybe, perhaps even our leaders, but not in Canadians themselves." (Jeff McIntosh/The Canadian Press; Paul Chiasson/The Canadian Press; Ben Nelms/CBC)
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After a fraught election campaign, the "interpersonal relationships between various party leaders are terrible," according to CBC journalist Vassy Kapelos.

"No insult was spared. No dirty tactic was not employed — it was not a pretty kind of six weeks," said Kapelos, the host of CBC's Power & Politics, who spent the campaign watching the action in the war rooms of the major parties.

"I think you saw a bit of that manifest through the lack of communication that resulted in Mr. Singh, Mr. Scheer and Mr. Trudeau all giving their speeches last night at the same time."

Once the results of the polls become clear, party leaders will typically call the victor and discuss when they will make their public speeches, with the winning leader speaking last.

But on Monday night, NDP leader Jagmeet Singh, who spoke first in B.C., had not finished his speech when Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer took to the stage in Saskatchewan. Only a couple of minutes into Scheer's speech, Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau began his.

"I think we all kind of had our jaw drop, that is not normal in any way," Kapelos told The Current's interim host Laura Lynch.

"I am going to be fascinated, I think, to see how these parties are able to work together."

Conservatives take popular vote

The Liberals won 157 seats, and are expected to form a minority government. The Conservatives won the popular vote, but finished with 121 seats. The Bloc Québécois finished with 32; the NDP with 24.

By losing the popular vote, pollster Shachi Kurl said that Trudeau "has a mandate in terms of seats in the House, but didn't really come first in the hearts of Canadians."

"How do you navigate a national agenda with a country as fractured and divided as it appears to be?" said Kurl, executive director of the not-for-profit polling organization Angus Reid Institute.

"And how do you do it with a government and a prime minister who last night delivered a speech acting as though he had been handed back a majority mandate, but in fact lost the popular vote?"

Watch results from our Canada Votes election night special.   23:46

The Conservatives won every seat  — except one — in Alberta and Saskatchewan, ousting all Liberal incumbents, including former minister of public safety Ralph Goodale.

No Liberals in Alberta a 'challenge'

Political scientist Daniel Béland says that leaves the Liberals with a problem.

"Not having any Albertan at the Cabinet table, I think is a challenge," said Béland, director of the McGill Institute for the Study of Canada.

He told Lynch it's "one of the many regional, territorial challenges that I think this minority government will face."

Not having any Albertan at the Cabinet table, I think is a challenge.- Daniel Béland

Despite that, he thinks the parties have a "strong incentive" for the party leaders to make the minority government work.

"Canadians don't want to go back to the polls anytime soon — we know that, the parties know that," he said.

It's up to the leaders to make it work so that "Canadians don't punish them for … going back to the polls early on."


Written by Padraig Moran. Produced by Julie Crysler.

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