The Most Important Numbers Hidden in the Canadian Election Results

There's one good reason for Liberals to try to keep this minority parliament running for the next two years and it's all about getting paid.
Canada's Federal Election, and election results, by the numbers
All photos via CP Images

Justin Trudeau has been re-elected, and will get a second term as prime minister, but with the political handcuffs of a minority instead of a majority. That means they will need the support of another party to pass legislation. And while Andrew Scheer’s Conservatives placed a distant second to the Liberals, they did win the popular vote, thanks to an absolutely dominating performance in the Western provinces.


The Conservatives took 6,155,162 of nearly 18 million ballots cast—34.4 percent of the popular vote, according to Elections Canada. The Liberals claimed 33.1 percent, with nearly a quarter million fewer votes.

On Tuesday morning in his home riding of Regina-Qu’Appelle, Saskatchewan, Scheer described the Tories as the “government in waiting” and said they have “put Trudeau on notice.”

Trudeau showed up at a Montreal Metro station Tuesday morning, to do a victory lap—he did the same thing the morning after he was first elected prime minister in 2015. He shook hands with subway commuters but, unlike Scheer and NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh, does not have a press conference scheduled today.

Here are some of the most important numbers coming out of last night’s election.


The Liberals will need 13 votes outside their party every time they want to pass a bill. Trudeau’s party won 157 out of a possible 338 ridings thanks to 5,915,950 votes. But they will need to win over 13 other MPs to pass legislation.

The Conservatives clinched 121 seats but, as mentioned above, got more than 6 million votes.

Singh’s momentum surge right before Election Day translated to 24 seats and 2,849,214 votes, and 16 percent of the popular vote.

The Green Party’s historic three-seat win is bittersweet. Sure, it had the best showing it has ever had in a federal election but it was way less than the polls, and probably the party, expected. It came close in several ridings, but you don’t get a seat for coming in second.


The Bloc Québécois clinched 32 of a possible 78 seats in the province of Quebec, which was a major victory for the party.

66 percent

Overall voter turnout was decent—about 66 percent of eligible voters, 17.9 million people, cast ballots. But it wasn’t as high as four years ago when it surged to 68.5 percent, the highest it’s been in a quarter century, to give Trudeau a majority government.

What was different this time was the record number of people who voted in advance—a 29 percent increase over the previous record set in 2015, with about 4.7 million people voting. It was easier to vote ahead of time this year, with longer hours at a greater number of advanced polling stations.

New this year was a record number of votes cast by expats after the Liberals reversed a Harper-era rule that didn’t allow people who had been living in another country for five years or more to vote. In 2019, of the 55,515 Canadian expats who were registered to vote, 31,798 cast ballots.

We don’t know much about the youth vote for this election, yet. But it was a major factor in the previous election in which Trudeau swept to power. In 2015, voter turnout among people between the ages of 18 and 24 surged from 39 percent to 57 percent. It also increased by 12 percentage points among voters aged 25 to 34, and according to 2015 exit polls, most of those votes went to the Liberals.

0 Doug Fords

Ontario’s outspoken premier Doug Ford was noticeably absent from the campaign trail for the last six weeks. And the Conservatives didn’t win big in Battleground Ontario. Which begs the question, would DoFo have made a difference? The jury’s still out on what, exactly, the Ford factor is, though. Could he have made things better for the Conservatives, or did they dodge an even bigger bullet?

On CBC’s election night coverage, former Ontario premier Bob Rae said, “It was a mistake putting Doug Ford into the witness protection program.” Rae, who has been a member of the provincial NDP and the federal Liberals, felt it was a strategic error by the Conservatives not to trot out Ford to get the populist vote.


The former vice-president of the now-defunct, right-wing Sun News Network, Kory Teneycke, agreed. Teneycke ran Ford’s 2018 election campaign and was former Conservative prime minister Stephen Harper’s director of communications.

TVO Host Steve Paiken wrote in an op-ed Tuesday, “Conservatives are now wondering whether the results might have been different if Ford had been let out of his cage and allowed to campaign gung-ho for his federal cousins.”

We’ll never know what would have happened if Scheer’s party had unleashed Ford, but according to a recent Vote Compass survey, Ford’s popularity in Ontario has plummeted. Fifty-one percent of respondents said that Ford’s policies made them “much less likely” to vote Conservative federally, while 12 percent said they were “somewhat less likely.”

6 years

Returning MPs have an extra reason to celebrate. Not only will they have an annual salary of $178,900 a year, paid for by all of us collectively, but after six years (which will kick in halfway through this four-year term if it lasts that long) they’ll be eligible for a six-figure pension for life. That’s plenty of motivation not to dissolve Parliament before then, especially if you are a Liberal.

10 percent

Another big winner is SNC Lavalin and its shareholders. The company’s stock was up more than 10 percent Tuesday morning as investors digested what a Trudeau win means for the company going forward.

Follow Anne Gaviola on Twitter.