While it’s still early, CBC News is projecting the Liberals will retain power and appear to be holding most of their seats in Atlantic Canada, despite the fact that fisheries minister Bernadette Jordan appears to be headed for defeat.
Jordan was first elected in the Nova Scotia riding of South Shore—St. Margarets in 2015. She was promoted to cabinet in early 2019 and was serving as minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard when the election was called.
She was defeated by Rick Perkins — who ran unsuccessfully in the riding in 2019 — with 258 of 270 polls reporting.
Jordan’s time as fisheries minister was marred by a dispute over Indigenous treaty rights to the lucrative lobster fishing industry that went unresolved, leaving her the focus of widespread frustration in a riding where many are employed in the fishing industry.
Maryam Monsef, the candidate for Peterborough—Kawartha who served as the minister of rural economic development in the last Parliament, is also in a tough fight with Conservative candidate Michelle Ferreri. The Conservative currently leads Monsef by ten per cent of the vote, with less than half of the 289 polls in that riding reporting.
At dissolution, the Liberals held 155 seats in the House of Commons, while the Conservatives had 119, the Bloc Québécois 32, the New Democrats 24 and the Green Party two. Five seats were held by Independents.
Votes are still being counted, many close races are still in play and more than 1.2 million special ballots — most of them mail-in — have yet to be tallied.
Since day one of the campaign, opposition leaders centred their critiques of Trudeau on the election call itself. They described the move to send Canadians to the polls as a cynical and self-interested effort to capitalize on a surging vaccination rate and his response to the pandemic.
When Trudeau announced the election call, he told reporters outside Rideau Hall that Canadians deserve a chance to decide who should guide the country out of the pandemic.
“In this pivotal, consequential moment, who wouldn’t want a say? Who wouldn’t want their chance to help decide where our country goes from here?” he said at the time.
Students wait in line to cast their ballot at a polling station at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver on Sept. 20, 2021. (Ben Nelms/CBC)
“So to the other parties, please explain why you don’t think Canadians should get a choice, why you don’t think that this is a pivotal moment. I’m focused on our real plan. I’m focused on the path forward.”
According to CBC’s Poll Tracker, Trudeau’s Liberals started off the campaign with a healthy lead of six points over the Conservatives, who sat at 29 per cent support.
As the delta variant of COVID-19 took hold and case counts rose, those numbers flipped around. By the middle of the campaign, Trudeau’s Liberals were trailing Erin O’Toole’s Conservatives 34 to 31 per cent in CBC’s Poll Tracker.
That trend started to turn around late in the campaign when Trudeau promised to require that federal civil servants and those travelling by planes, trains or ferries be vaccinated — and Alberta, which opposed mandatory vaccines, was once again forced into lockdown.
While the Liberals will retain power, CBC’s decision desk has them elected and leading in only 153 ridings as numbers continue to roll in and people queuing outside polling stations are still working their way in to vote.