On Sept. 20, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s Liberal Party was re-elected to lead another minority government in Canada.
Trudeau’s Liberals fell 14 seats short of the 170 needed to command a majority in the House of Commons. This is the second time in as many years Trudeau has been re-elected, but must to work with other parties to navigate a minority Parliament and advance his government’s agenda.
“It looks like nobody wanted an election and no one got what they wanted,” wrote Toronto Star columnist Chantal Hébert, as the results of Canada’s 44th federal election became apparent. The outcome yielded a nearly identical parliament.
The Conservatives won 121 seats, the New Democrats took 27 seats, the Quebec-based Bloc Québécois won 32 seats and the Greens got two seats.
Trudeau called the snap election in August in a bid to reclaim his majority government and control of the legislative agenda, largely free of opposition influence. At the time, Trudeau had a steady lead in public opinion polls and was hoping to capitalize on weak support for the opposition Conservatives and NDP. It was a risky move by the Prime Minister, but ultimately did not hurt them in Ottawa.
What does this mean for Canada’s Insulators?
Prime Minister Trudeau made several commitments during the campaign that align with the priorities of Mechanical Insulators and the skilled trades, including:
Additional Union Training and Innovation Program (UTIP) Funding: The Liberal platform committed to investing an additional $50 million a year for UTIP to support more apprenticeship training opportunities and partnerships in the Red Seal trades across Canada.
- Energy Audits/Retrofits: The Liberals put forward an ambitious climate plan which included a National Net-Zero Emissions Building Strategy. While there are no specific programs outlined, commercial buildings will need to be part of the conversation to achieve these lofty objectives and present an opportunity for continued advocacy. The Heat and Frost Insulator Training Centre in New Brunswick has built a very good relationship with returning Liberal MP Wayne Long and will look to push this file forward via the Minister of Natural Resources.
- National Building Code: The Liberals committed to accelerate the development of the national net-zero emissions model building code for adoption in 2025. This presents opportunity for future engagement.
With the election results in hand, the Prime Minister will need to appoint a new cabinet – something he will want to do as soon as possible to demonstrate his government getting back to work. He will also need to recall the House of Commons and present what is called the “Speech from the Throne” to lay out the government’s vision for this mandate in Parliament. The return of parliament is currently scheduled for Oct. 18, but this date could change if the Prime Minister wants more time.
When Parliament does resume, the government’s immediate concern will be managing the COVID-19 crisis and recovery. Vaccine passports and mandates will be early deliverables for the Liberals. Trudeau will also look to show early action on some of his major platform planks. With major international environmental conferences set to take place this fall and early winter, expect the Prime Minister to focus on the country’s climate change plans.
The Liberal government’s agenda aligns well with our priorities. Prior to the campaign, Canada’s Heat and Frost Insulators forged strong relationships with several cabinet ministers who are returning to Ottawa. The LMCT is well positioned to be active in these conversations and play an important role supporting government investments in energy efficiency, and skills trades training.