Canada, Trudeau elected Prime Minister: farewell to Harper the anti-environmentalist

Il Partito liberale guidato da Justin Trudeau esce dalle urne forte della maggioranza assoluta. Il premier Stephen Harper ha ammesso la sconfitta.

Canada’s Liberal Party won the federal election held on 19 October 2015. Justin Trudeau – leader of the Party and moderate in the local political scenario – will form the new government, replacing Conservative Stephen Harper, after almost a decade in power.

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Supporter of the outgoing Prime Minister, the conservative Stephen Harper, who lost elections after almost a decade ©Ian Willms/Getty Images

The results have been released around 11 p.m. local time: the centrist party won absolute majority at the House of Commons, thanks to more than 40% of votes. The party will thus count on 170 deputies in parliament, out of a total of 338. Conservatives, on the other hand, reached 30%: Harper, talking from his “feud” in Calgary, conceded defeat and resigned as leader of the party.

The New Social Democratic Party (NPD) led by Thomas Mulcair obtained poorer results. After the highest number of votes registered in 2011, when it gained 103 seats, the Canadian left wing is now the third political party of the country, securing less than 40 seats.

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The Liberal Party gained absolute majority in parliament ©Ian Willms/Getty Images

Trudeau – 43, son of former Prime Minister Pierre Elliott – carried out a particularly moderate political campaign, mainly focused on the proposal of cutting taxes to the middle class (financed through an increase in taxes to the richest segments of population). His programme also stands out for the choice – shared by the NPD – of adopting welcoming policies towards Syrian migrants pushing European borders. Trudeau’s policies will be far different from Harper’s, which proposed to solve the problem at the source, i.e. continuing the air warfare against the Islamic State. Therefore, with Liberals, Canada’s military contribution will be limited to a logistic support to Iraqi and Kurdish forces.

As regards the environment, however, it will be necessary to evaluate the new executive’s actions in the field. Harper, as it is well known, showed to be little prone to carrying out policies to safeguard the environment. On the contrary, he was mainly focused on extracting oil sands, considered to be environmentally disastrous. Strictly linked to this activity there’s the construction of the huge oil pipeline Keystone XL, which will extend from the province of Alberta to Southern United States. The project is supported by US Republicans, but Ottawa could consider it not a priority anymore.

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