Three years ago, Canada’s Liberal Party suffered the worst electoral drubbing in its history. Under the son of former prime minister Pierre Trudeau, Liberals are already talking about forming a majority government again.
“Canadians want a stable, strong government that’s going to respond to their needs and build a better future,” Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau told reporters today in Edmonton when asked whether his party aims to win a majority of the nation’s 338 seats in a federal election scheduled for October 2015. “You do the math.”
Trudeau’s remarks highlight the growing confidence of the Liberals amid polls showing they would defeat Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s Conservatives if an election were held today. Once considered Canada’s natural governing party, the Liberals were reduced to 34 out of 308 seats in the 2011 election under former leader Michael Ignatieff. That relegated them to third place, behind the Conservatives and the New Democratic Party.
Trudeau’s remarks also recall the Conservatives’ 2011 campaign, when they asked voters to give them a “strong, stable majority” mandate and prevent the opposition from forming a coalition government.
Vaulting from third place to form government would be a first in Canada. Aside from one wartime coalition, Canada has only ever been governed by the Liberals or Conservative party and its predecessors since the country was founded in 1867.
Trudeau, 42, met this week with his party’s lawmakers in Edmonton, capital of the oil-rich province of Alberta, to plot strategy for the next election campaign. The Liberals haven’t held a seat in Alberta since 2006, when they lost power to Harper’s Conservatives.
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