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The Liberals were elected in 11 of B.C.’s 42 seats, down from 17 seats they won in 2015.

Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s risky calculation to support the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion in exchange for greater buy-in for his climate policies across the country cost him in British Columbia, where his party lost seats.

Now the leader of a minority Parliament, Mr. Trudeau is expected to seek the support of the NDP and the Greens to help him govern comfortably, but that alliance could prompt him to rethink his government’s approach to the controversial pipeline.

The Liberals were elected in 11 of B.C.’s 42 seats, down from the 17 seats they won in 2015. Prominent Liberal cabinet ministers such as Harjit Sajjan, Joyce Murray, Jonathan Wilkinson and Carla Qualtrough were all re-elected.

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The Tories had won 17 seats, up from 10. The NDP won 11, down from 14. The Greens were re-elected in their two B.C. seats and Jody Wilson-Raybould was re-elected as an Independent in Vancouver Granville.

ELECTION RESULTS 2015 VS. 2019,

VANCOUVER AREA

2015

Squamish-

Lillooet

Sunshine

Coast

Nanaimo

Fraser

Valley

Cowichan

Valley

Greater

Vancouver

Capital

2019

Squamish-

Lillooet

Sunshine

Coast

Nanaimo

Fraser

Valley

Cowichan

Valley

Greater

Vancouver

Capital

ELECTION RESULTS 2015 VS. 2019, VANCOUVER AREA

2015

Squamish-

Lillooet

Sunshine

Coast

Nanaimo

Fraser

Valley

Cowichan

Valley

Greater

Vancouver

Capital

2019

Squamish-

Lillooet

Sunshine

Coast

Nanaimo

Fraser

Valley

Cowichan

Valley

Greater

Vancouver

Capital

ELECTION RESULTS 2015 VS. 2019, VANCOUVER AREA

2015

2019

Squamish-

Lillooet

Squamish-

Lillooet

Sunshine

Coast

Sunshine

Coast

Nanaimo

Nanaimo

Fraser

Valley

Fraser

Valley

Cowichan

Valley

Cowichan

Valley

Greater

Vancouver

Greater

Vancouver

Capital

Capital

Burnaby Mayor Mike Hurley, a tough critic of the pipeline expansion, said he hopes NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh will rule out supporting the Liberals unless they cancel the expansion of the pipeline. Green Party Leader Elizabeth May took a similar position.

Burnaby is the Pacific endpoint for the pipeline, and the location of a tank farm where bitumen shipped from Alberta will be processed to be loaded onto tankers. Mr. Hurley has expressed concerns about safety if the farm is expanded to accommodate the larger pipeline. Mr. Singh was re-elected in Burnaby South.

“[Mr. Singh] should come out and demand that the Liberals cancel the TMX project in exchange for his votes. That’s what I would like to see,” Mr. Hurley, a former firefighter, said in an interview as B.C. results were coming in.

Responding to the election results on Monday night, Mr. Singh did not make any specific comments about how he will approach the issue of the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion.

Ms. May said she would be unable to support the Liberals on anything if the party does not denounce its stand on the pipeline.

“No. There is not a single way,” she said in a interview.

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But, Richard Johnston, a political scientist at the University of British Columbia, said that between the Conservatives and Liberals there are more MPs in Parliament who support the pipeline project than oppose it.

And Prof. Johnston said he expects the NDP will be inclined to support the Liberals on many more issues than it opposes them on.

Prof. Johnston said he doubted that the NDP would rule out support for the Liberals if the governing party does not scrap the expansion of the pipeline because the New Democrats cannot afford a new election any time soon.

“It is a game of chicken,” Mr. Johnston said. “Mr. Trudeau can make cheaper concessions around the margins to the NDP. If the NDP would like to bring the government down that means, as I read the results, an election that nobody but the Conservatives can afford.”

Political scientist Hamish Telford said Mr. Trudeau will find it challenging to capitulate on a project he has already approved twice and purchased.

“It could well end up being a deal-breaker,” Prof. Telford said, although the other parties might seek some other concessions on climate change, such as more ambitious targets or ramping up the carbon tax faster than is currently planned.

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When asked how Mr. Trudeau would have to conduct himself if he only won a minority, Prof. Telford said, "He is going to have to be more skillful in how he leads his government, and search for compromises to get legislation through Parliament, and be less ideologically strident.

“He will have to listen more carefully to his critics,” he said. “In the areas where Liberals had support and lost it, he’s going to have to consider the opposition with a greater degree of sensitivity than he perhaps had.”

Asked about the pipeline, Gabe Garfinkel, director of the federal Liberals in B.C., said the party has a clear mandate to pursue policies on the issues it campaigned on.

At dissolution, there were 17 Liberals in B.C., eight Conservative MPs, 12 members of the NDP, two members of the Green Party, one independent and two seats vacant.

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