Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was elected to a second term Monday evening, garnering a surprisingly strong showing despite several recent scandals that damaged his reputation as a champion of the social-justice-oriented left.
Trudeau’s Liberal party also bested their conservative counterparts in the legislature but fell short of preserving their parliamentary majority. As of early Tuesday morning, Liberals controlled 156 seats in the 338-seat House of Commons, leaving them 14 seats short of a majority. Conservatives won the popular vote, however, with 35 percent compared with Liberals’ 33 percent.
“Tonight Canadians rejected division and negativity. They rejected cuts and austerity. They elected a progressive agenda and strong action on climate change,” Trudeau said in remarks to supporters Tuesday morning. “To those who did not vote for us, know that we will work every single day for you. We will govern for everyone.”
Trudeau managed to overcome several controversies, including several photos unearthed last month of him dressed in blackface and brownface. He also took heat when his former attorney general claimed he had pressured her to stop the prosecution of Quebec construction company SNC-Lavalin.
Critics accused Trudeau’s Conservative opponent, Andrew Scheer, of squandering his chance to win as the prime minister battled multiple scandals by running an acerbic campaign against Trudeau, at one point accusing him of not being able to remember how many times he had dressed in blackface.
“Tonight Conservatives have put Justin Trudeau on notice,” Scheer said. “And Mr. Trudeau when your government falls, Conservatives will be ready and we will win.”
Former U.S. president Barack Obama endorsed Trudeau during the last week of his campaign.
“The world needs his progressive leadership now, and I hope our neighbors to the north support him for another term,” Obama said.