The Current

Minority government means Trudeau has 'some on-the-job learning' to do, says columnist

As the dust settles on the vote, our national affairs panel discusses the challenges, and opportunities, facing the next government.

PM’s skills better suited to majority government, but now that's flipped: Susan Delacourt

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau poses for a selfie in a metro in Montreal the day after the election. Susan Delacourt says he has used his celebrity to help him govern in the past, but that won't help as much in a minority government. (Stephane Mahe/Reuters)

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Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has a hill to climb in his second term because his political skills are more suited to running a majority government, says political commentator Susan Delacourt.

"As a celebrity, he could travel the world. He could go out and do various town halls, he could lead the caucus on his coattails," said Delacourt, national columnist and Ottawa bureau chief for the Toronto Star. 

"That has flipped upside down now."

The Liberals won 157 seats in Monday's federal election, 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, the Green with three.

Delacourt told The Current's interim host Laura Lynch that Trudeau will need to learn about caucus management, and how to quietly make deals with people. 

Neither of those have been his strength in the past, she said.

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"He has to like the House of Commons, or at least stay there more than he has," she added.

"He didn't like it in opposition, he doesn't like it in government — but the House of Commons is where his power lies."

The prime minister "says that he is a learner," she told Lynch.

"He's going to be doing some on-the-job learning in the next weeks and months."

To discuss the challenges — and opportunities — facing the next government, Lynch spoke to:

  • Susan Delacourt, national columnist and Ottawa bureau chief for the Toronto Star .
  • Marie Vastel, parliamentary correspondent for Le Devoir.
  • Murray Mandryk, political columnist for the Regina Leader Post.

Listen to the full conversation near the top of this page.

Written by Padraig Moran. Produced by Idella Sturino.