Ottawa, Oct 24 (IANS) Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has announced that he would unveil his new gender-balanced cabinet on November 20, but his Liberal Party will not form a “formal or informal” coalition with any opposition.
Trudeau made the remarks during a press conference here on Wednesday after Monday’s general election, which gave his Liberal Party a second term in government but without the majority he won in 2015, reports Xinhua news agency.
The Prime Minister said that he would have “various and varied conversations” with each of the four opposition leaders “to talk about their priorities” and “how we can work together to respond to the preoccupations that Canadians have” across the country.
“It’s extremely important that the government works for all Canadians and as I have endeavoured to do over the past years, and as I will do even more now, deliberately, I will be reaching out to leaders across the country, reaching out specifically to Westerners to hear from them,” he said.
Trudeau identified two of his top priorities, including the fight against climate change, saying that he will reach out to the 32-member caucus of the Bloc Quebecois, a nationalist party in the French-speaking province of Quebec where climate action is a major issue.
He also highlighted the need for action on “affordability”, which would take form in a middle-class tax cut that he intends to propose before Parliament when it reconvenes.
But not all matters will be up for negotiation, Trudeau said, adding that the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project, which will transport oil from the provinces of Alberta to British Columbia on the west coast for shipment to Asian markets, will proceed despite strong objection from the left-of-centre New Democratic Party led by its Sikh leader Jagmeet Singh.
“We made a decision to move forward on the pipeline because it was in the interest of Canada to do so, because the environment and the economy need to go together. We will be continuing with the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion,” CBC News quoted the 47-year-old premier as saying.
If built, the 1,150-km expansion project would nearly triple the existing pipeline’s capacity to 890,000 barrels a day.
Reflecting on Monday’s vote, Trudeau said Canadians gave him a lot to think about, and that he will take the time necessary to reflect on how to work with the other parties, reports The National Post newspaper.
Monday’s polls, which took place for 338 ridings or seats, were the country’s 43rd general elections to elect members of the House of Commons.
This federal election was seen as a referendum on Trudeau, who had to apologize not just for wearing blackface during a school event nearly two decades ago, but admitting that he had no idea how many times he had chosen to do so in his life.
Trudeau and his main rival Conservative leader Andrew Scheer were the two top contenders, followed by the NDP’s Singh, the first turban-wearing Sikh to sit as a provincial legislator in Ontario, Green Party leader Elizabeth May, Bloc Quebecois chief Yves-Francois Blanchet and People’s Party of Canada Leader Maxime Bernier.