Some ridings still too close to call with mail-in ballots still being counted
TORONTO / OTTAWA -- While Canadians didn’t have to wait too long on election night to find out who will lead the next government, there are still some individual seats too close to call.
As of Wednesday evening, seven seats had yet to be called, according to CTVNews.ca’s election tracker, with the Liberals leading in three of the races, the Conservatives leading in one, the Bloc Quebecois leading in one, and the NDP in two.
The number still to be decided won’t affect the overall election result, which saw the Liberals returned with a minority government, the Conservatives the Official Opposition, and both the Bloc and NDP holding enough seats to hold the balance of power when it comes to the Liberals passing key legislation.
But the outcomes of the individual races will have an impact on the people who live in those ridings, and could also end up affecting the outcome of free votes, where members don’t always vote along party lines, as well as the overall demographic breakdown of the House of Commons.
Seat counts can sometimes be seen as a referendum on party leaders, and any last-minute changes to the projected counts will be assessed by the parties as they take stock of their overall electoral showing.
Of course, there are some seats that may hold more symbolic or strategic value for certain parties.
For example, there’s little doubt the Liberals loved winning back the British Columbia seat of Vancouver Granville, which they lost after Jody Wilson-Raybould was expelled from the Liberal caucus over the SNC-Lavalin scandal. She went on to win the seat as an independent in the 2019 federal election, but chose not to run for re-election this year.
CTV News' Decision Desk declared Liberal Taleeb Noormohamed the winner of the riding on Wednesday evening, beating out NDP candidate Anjali Appadurai by just 258 votes. In Vancouver Granville, 5,359 local mail-in ballot voting kits had been returned to Elections Canada by election day.
Former NDP MP Ruth Ellen Brosseau was hoping to make a political comeback in her home riding of Berthier Maskinongé, and was in a close fight with incumbent Bloc Quebecois MP Yves Perron, but by Wednesday evening, CTV News’ Decision Desk had declared she’d been defeated, by 933 votes.
While it’s not uncommon for some tight races to stretch into the following day after an election, the wild card this year is the record number of mail-in ballots cast due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to the latest numbers from Elections Canada, more than 1 million mail-in ballots were returned this year, about 83 per cent—851,213—of which were from people voting in their home ridings. It’s these local mail-in ballots that the agency is still working through.
It’s taking time to get these results because Elections Canada must verify that these voters have not also voted in person, as well as conduct other layers of ballot integrity assessments before these votes can be counted.
The scrutineering process began on Tuesday and the agency has begun to report the results with most expected on Wednesday, though in some ridings it could take until Friday.
The Liberals and NDP were also locking horns until late Wednesday night in the Toronto riding of Davenport, where incumbent Liberal Julie Dzerowicz eventually beat the NDP’s Alejandra Bravo by 165 votes once all the mail-in ballots were counted, according to the CTV News Decision Desk.
The Sault Ste. Marie riding was also stuck on the razor’s edge for nearly two days until CTV News’ Decision Desk declared Liberal incumbent Terry Sheehan the winner by just 247 votes over Conservative Sonny Spina after all the mail-in ballots were counted.
There is still one seat in Edmonton too close to definitively call, which represents a potential defeat of a Conservative incumbent.
In Edmonton Griesbach, NDP candidate Blake Desjarais is leading Conservative Kerry Diotte by 1,006 votes, in a riding where 1,482 mail-in ballots have been received.
Next door, in Edmonton Centre, CTV News' Decision Desk declared Liberal Randy Boissonnault the winner on Wednesday night, with 616 votes over Conservative James Cumming.
To stay on top of the results as they continue to be reported in real time from Elections Canada, bookmark our live results map.
With files from CTVNews.ca Producer Adam Ward and Writer Ben Cousins