Canada's Trudeau sheds modest support in early returns of tight election

MONTREAL (Reuters) -Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s Liberals were on track for a modest loss of seats in Atlantic Canada, the first region of the country to report national election results on Monday, in a race expected to return him to office with a fragile hold on power.

Trudeau heads a minority government that relies on the support of other parties to pass legislation. He called an election two years early in hopes of securing a parliamentary majority.

In the first set of regional results, Liberals were leading in 23 of 32 parliamentary districts, called ridings, in the four Atlantic provinces. The Liberals held 27 seats before the election.

It was too early to draw conclusions, as regional races across Canada may differ greatly or the Atlantic results could indicate a broader direction, said Scott Reid, a former Liberal adviser.

“Does that Liberal (decline in Atlantic region) have some indication for a national trend? That would be worrying for the Liberals,” he said.

Erin O’Toole’s rival Conservatives had focused on adding to their four Atlantic seats, and were leading in nine.

Polls had not yet closed in populous Quebec and Ontario, which between them have 199 seats, or more than half of the national total.

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