Liberals take early lead in Election 2019 as last polls close – National Post

Liberals take early lead in Election 2019 as last polls close - National Post
Justin Trudeaus Liberals will form a minority government
The Liberals, led by Justin Trudeau, will head back to parliament for a second consecutive term as the governing party, although theyll need to negotiate support from at least one other party in order to pass any legislation while they are in office.

Neither the Liberals nor Conservatives hit the 170-seat threshold needed for a majority government as polls were counted Monday night.

One of the more intriguing races in this election, former Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould, who is running as an independent, is in a tight race in Vancouver Granville between Taleeb Noormohamed of the Liberals and Zach Segal of the Conservatives.

Trudeau has also held on to his Montreal-area seat of Papineau while Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer defended his Regina-Qu’Appelle riding and Bloc Quebecois Leader Yves-Francois Blanchet unseated NDP incumbent Matthew Dube in the Quebec riding of Beloeil-Chambly.

The Liberals completely swept the 416 and much of the 905, with the exception of Peter Kent holding on to Thornhill, Kyle Seeback winning Dufferin-Caledon, Bob Saroya in Markham-Unionville and Scot Davidson in York-Simcoe.

NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh’s party sank to fourth place behind the Bloc Quebecois but he won his Burnaby South seat while Green party Leader Elizabeth May also kept her Saanich-Gulf Islands riding.

People’s Party of Canada Leader Maxime Bernier lost his seat in Beauce, Que., to Conservative candidate Richard Lehoux.

Trudeau gave what can best be described as a victory speech in terms of tone but in it, insisted that his party has won a “clear mandate” from Canadians despite losing roughly 20 seats compared to his 2015 results and now being reliant on another party if they want to get anything done.

Jane Philpott, the former Liberal health minister who resigned from cabinet and removed from caucus has lost her Markham Stouffville seat to former Ontario health minister Helena Jaczek.

While the Liberals had previously held 177 seats, Trudeau now holds 156 seats and will not be able to pass any legislation without getting at least one other party on board to support their bills. The Conservatives, on the other hand, picked up 23 seats to sit at 122 and the Bloc Quebecois roughly tripled their showing in Quebec to 32 seats.

Trudeau, however, walked onto stage after Scheer had begun his own speech and began giving his own, which did not acknowledge some of the major hits the Liberals took in the form of the defeat of veterans like Ralph Goodale, who has served as public safety minister, or the wipe-out of his party’s four seats in Alberta.

At press time, incumbent Leona Alleslev was leading Aurora-Oak Ridges-Richmond Hill for the Conservatives, holding onto a narrow advantage over Leah Taylor Roy of the Liberals.

To my fellow Canadians it has been the greatest honour of my life to serve you for these past four years and tonight you are sending us back to work for you,” Trudeau said.

Winnipeg ridings leaned heavily towards the Liberals within an hour of polls closing, while the southern portions of the province held tight their ties to the Conservatives.

We take this responsibility seriously and we will work hard for you and your families … to those who did not vote for us know that we will work every single day for you, we will govern for everyone. Regardless of how you cast your ballot ours is a team that will fight for all Canadians.

NDP candidate Heather McPherson is the sole non-Conservative MP in the Wild Rose province, taking Edmonton Strathcona over Conservative Sam Lilly by nearly 3,000 votes.

Scheer in his own speech said he had congratulated Trudeau on winning the most seats but cast the reduction in Liberal seats as a rebuke from voters to Trudeau, warning that Conservatives will be focused on taking him on next time.

Singh also said he had congratulated Trudeau and all eyes will now be on both him and on Blanchet for how they could plan on working with the Liberals in a minority government.

Overall, the results showed stark divides across the country with the Liberals locked out of Alberta entirely and keeping only a scant handful of seats in the Prairies, while cracks emerged in the Liberal hold on Atlantic Canada after sweeping that region in 2015.

In Ontario and Quebec, a strong number of Liberal cabinet ministers kept their seats but the resurgence of the Bloc Quebecois appears to have eaten into the strength of the Liberal vote in Quebec while the Conservatives suffered a major upset in Ontario in the defeat of party veteran Lisa Raitt to her Liberal challenger.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau watches a television broadcast of the initial results from the federal election. (Reuters)

The Greens also won a historic three seats, keeping two that they already held on Vancouver Island and picking up an addition seat in New Brunswick.

The Liberals’ good showing in the Toronto area has assured another Liberal government — albeit a minority.

Meanwhile in B.C., the big story is the victory of former Liberal attorney general Jody Wilson-Raybould as an Independent in Vancouver Granville.

Certain uncertainty: By all indications, this will be the closest election in decades. The Liberals and Conservatives are locked in a dead heat as they have been since the start of the campaign, while the NDP resurgence appears to have peaked and the Bloc in Quebec remain a huge unknown factor. Throughout the campaign Philippe J. Fournier, the founder of poll aggregator 338Canada, has regularly shared his insights with Maclean’s readers. In his final pre-election dispatch Fournier analyzes the latest provincial polling trends, unpacks the indicators to watch as the results roll in — like if the Liberals win fewer than 60 seats in Ontario, we’re likely heading for a Conservative win — and the albeit unlikely paths to majority for either the Liberals or Conservatives:

Voters in Atlantic Canada gave the Liberals a slight early lead as the first poll results began rolling in on Monday night.

Of those Atlantic Liberals, the cabinet ministers who have held onto their seats are Dominic LeBlanc, Seamus ORegan, Bernadette Jordan, Ginette Petitpas Taylor and Lawrence MacAulay. Geoff Regan, who was Speaker of the House of Commons most recently, and long-time Liberal Wayne Easter also retained their seats.

All three leaders found a common enemy in the final days of the campaign: Yves-François Blanchet. The resurgence of the Bloc Quebecois has come at the expense of all three main parties in the province. So when Blanchet said in a speech Saturday night that Quebeckers “will have to once again consider giving itself all the attributes of sovereignty,” Trudeau and Scheer pounced, warning of another sovereignty referendum, while Singh insisted the Bloc’s nationalist leanings would get in the way of fighting climate change.

Liberal backbenchers Scott Simms, Gudie Hutchings, Ken McDonald, René Arseneault, Bobby Morrissey, Andy Fillmore and Serge Cormier also secured their seats, as did Darrell Sampson, Darren Fisher, Sean Fraser, Sean Casey and Churence Rogers.

Rookie Liberal candidate Kody Blois also held on to the Kings-Hants seat vacated by former cabinet minister Scott Brison earlier this year.

The most likely scenario appears to be a Liberal-led minority, but the odds are so close and the number of toss up districts so high, that I am not ready to make that call. In each of the three provincial elections I have covered, a clear favourite had emerged by the time campaigns were coming to an end. In Ontario and Quebec in 2018, Fords PC and Legaults CAQ were 9-to-1 favourites heading into election day. In Alberta last April, Jason Kenneys UCP was a 25-to-1 favourite to win the election.

Several Conservatives managed to chip away at the Liberal hold on Atlantic Canada, though, with three formerly red seats swinging blue.

I do not know who will win [this] election. The data thats been made available suggest that we could have the first popular vote and seat split in 40 years (in 1979, Joe Clark won the most seats under the Progressive Conservative banner despite losing the popular vote to Pierre Trudeaus Liberals by as much as four points nationally). This time, it appears more likely that the Liberals will win the most seats while the Conservatives earn the most votes.

Conservative Richard Bragdon won the riding of Tobique–Mactaquac from incumbent Liberal T.J. Harvey. John Williamson also won the riding of New Brunswick Southwest from Liberal incumbent Karen Ludwig.

Conservative Rob Moore also won the New Brunswick seat of Fundy Royal from Liberal Alaina Lockhart, who was among the crop of first-time MPs swept into office in 2015.

But the comeback story of the night so far is that of the NDP’s Jack Harris, who will be returning to Ottawa.

Election Day is finally here. After 40 days of mudslinging, nastiness and the occasional bout of policy discussion, Canadians will decide the next chapter of our democracy and tonight we will learn what shape the next government will take and who will lead it. (*Maybe.)

Harris had been a longtime NDP MP for the Newfoundland riding of St. John’s East before he lost to Liberal Nick Whelan in 2015.

Needed: One strategy to unite Alberta with the rest of Canada: If Trudeau does come out of tonight the winner, he’s got his work cut out for him to soothe the resentment and fear gripping Alberta, and yes that means building a pipeline, writes Jason Markusoff:

The Green Party also won a surprise upset in Fredericton, N.B., taking that seat away from the incumbent Liberals.

Results in Quebec also hinted at early signs of strong showing by the Bloc Quebecois, with that party taking 20 seats so far in the province.

Welcome to a sneak peek of the Macleans Politics Insider newsletter. Sign-up at the bottom of the page to get it delivered straight to your inbox.

Several Liberal cabinet ministers from Quebec have kept their seats: Marc Garneau, Melanie Joly and David Lametti held onto their Montreal-area seats, while Jean-Yves Duclos kept his Quebec City seat in what had been predicted to be a close race.

Before you do cast your ballot, check out the Maclean’s federal election platform guide to see where the parties stand on all the big issues.

Pablo Rodriguez, who served as minister of Canadian heritage in the last government, also kept his seat, as did longtime Liberal Francis Scarpaleggia.

We have no such certainty as of tonight, although a minority scenario appears far more likely than any majority. Read more ››

Francois-Philippe Champagne, who was infrastructure minister, kept his Saint-Maurice—Champlain riding too.

"His determination after the 1972 election not only to govern strongly but also to lay the foundation for a new Liberal majority had a major impact on his administration," John English wrote in his book Just Watch Me, describing how Pierre Trudeau responded to narrowly winning a minority government just four years after Trudeaumania hit. "[F]irst, he was less cautious and more willing to take chances; and second, he considered the expressly political consequences of his government's decisions and actions far more often than he had before."

Prominent Conservatives in that province who also kept their seats include Gérard Deltell, Pierre Paul-Hus, Alain Rayes, Luc Berthold and Steven Blaney.

In Ontario, the big upset of the night came in Milton, where Lisa Raitt, who had represented the riding for 11 years, lost her seat to Liberal challenger and four-time Olympian Adam van Koeverden.

Kirsty Duncan was the first of the Liberal cabinet ministers from that province to secure her Toronto-area seat, as did Chrystia Freeland, Bill Blair, Bill Morneau, Mary Ng, Carolyn Bennett and Navdeep Bains.

He may have saved his campaign, and his government, by responding to the blackface photos as he did: standing in a public square in Winnipeg and taking every question the travelling press corps could muster. And he closed this campaign with a flourish, significantly buoyed by the endorsement of his old friend, Barack Obama.

Bardish Chagger and Ahmed Hussen also held onto their seats while Jane Philpott, who had been a rising star in the Liberal government until she quit cabinet in protest amid the SNC-Lavalin scandal and was subsequently ejected from caucus by Trudeau, lost her Markham-Stouffville seat to the Liberal challenger.

Four years ago, that might have seemed entirely inevitable. But as recently as a week ago it seemed very possible that the Liberals were going to finish in second place. A month ago — when those images of the "Arabian Nights" gala in 2001 were published — it seemed like Trudeau might be finished entirely.

Maverick Liberal Nathaniel Erskine-Smith also kept his downtown Toronto seat in Beaches-East York while Patty Hajdu, who served as a cabinet minister in the last government, held on to her Thunder Bay-Superior North seat.

Closer to Ottawa, Liberal Mona Fortier held on to the historically safe seat of Ottawa-Vanier, while David McGuinty kept his seat of Ottawa South and Anita Vandenbeld maintained Ottawa West-Nepean.

Marie-France Lalonde kept the riding of Orleans in Liberal hands after quitting her role as MPP for that same riding provincially last month.

Catherine McKenna, who served as environment minister in the last government, also held on to her Ottawa Centre riding.

Earlier in the evening, when the networks began to project a Liberal government, supporters at Trudeau's election night celebration chanted "four more years." Trudeau will be lucky to get that far long before the next election. Something closer to two years is more likely.

Large swathes of the Prairies are seeing a strong Conservative showing, with the party largely sweeping Alberta so far and many parts of Saskatchewan and Manitoba. Of the Conservatives in the West, James Bezan was the first to secure his Manitoba riding of Selkirk-Interlake-Eastman.

By those recent standards, this is an incredible victory for the Liberal Party. By any measure, a victory is preferable to the alternative. This one will have seismic impacts on the short-term and long-term future of federal policy in this country — not least for climate policy.

The major upset in Saskatchewan came in the defeat of veteran Liberal cabinet minister Ralph Goodale, who had represented Regina-Wascana for 26 years.

He should now resolve to stop doing that — but it has to be acknowledged that Trudeau has come through on multiple occasions when the odds did not seem to be in his favour. His resilience — or the durability of his connection with the public — should not be underestimated.

Conservative Candice Bergan also kept her Manitoba seat while incumbent Conservatives Larry Maguire, Dan Mazier, Robert Kitchen, Glen Motz, Ted Falk, Cathay Wagantall, John Barlow and Arnold Viersen also kept theirs in that province and in Alberta and Saskatchewan.

The Liberals were locked out of Wild Rose country entirely, losing their Edmonton Centre seat held by Randy Boissonnault as well as Edmonton Mill Woods, which had been held by Amarjeet Sohi, who served as natural resources minister.

Maybe doing those things would have won the Liberals another 20 seats. Or maybe Trudeau would have just made different mistakes. He's a politician blessed with significant advantages — but he often has found ways to make things more difficult for himself.

They also lost Calgary Centre, which had been held by Kent Hehr, as well as Calgary Skyview, which had been held by Darshan Kang before he was kicked out of the Liberal caucus to sit as an Independent.

The cabinet that Trudeau brought into this election is almost entirely intact, but it has lost its most experienced and steadiest member: Ralph Goodale. Someone with Goodale's knowledge and skill would have been particularly valuable in a minority situation.

Conservatives Shannon Stubbs, Rachael Harder, Mike Lake, Stephanie Kusie, Michael Cooper, Garnett Genuis and Chris Warkentin are also among the incumbents who held on to their Alberta seats, while Bob Zimmer and Todd Doherty maintained their B.C. seats.

Lamoureux represents Winnipeg North while Carr, who served as a cabinet minister in the last government, held on to Winnipeg South Centre.

The NDP’s Niki Ashton also held on to her Manitoba riding of Churchill-Keewatinook Aski as did Daniel Blaikie in Elmwood-Transcona.

The NDP has also kept two seats in B.C. so far: Skeena-Bulkley Valley, which had been represented by long-time NDP MP Nathan Cullen until he announced earlier this year he would not run again, will be held now by Taylor Bachrach, while Jenny Kwan keeps her Vancouver East seat.

But the major headline out of B.C. was the victory of former Liberal attorney general Jody Wilson-Raybould as an Independent candidate.

Wilson-Raybould was removed from her role as attorney general earlier this year and later quit cabinet entirely before being ejected from Trudeau for her role in raising red flags about the SNC-Lavalin scandal during explosive testimony before the House of Commons justice committee.

Harjit Sajjan, who served as Liberal defence minister, kept his seat in Vancouver South while Joyce Murray, who has served as president of the Treasury Board, also kept Vancouver Quadra for the party and Jonathan Wilkinson, the minister of fisheries, maintained his seat in North Vancouver.

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