Federal Election 2021  

Conservative MP urges party to unify around O'Toole as others question his leadership

Tory urges party to unify

A re-elected Conservative member of Parliament says party members should get united behind leader Erin O'Toole, as questions swirl about whether he should remain in the job.

Alberta representative Garnett Genuis took to social media to call on Conservatives to avoid "another round of internal conflict or public navel gazing" after the unsuccessful campaign.

The Conservatives are projected to finish with 119 seats, which is two less than it won during the 2019 federal election under former leader Andrew Scheer.

O'Toole says he's committed to stay on as leader and admits the party didn't make the gains it needed to in Metro Vancouver, the Greater Toronto Area and Quebec to defeat the incumbent Liberals.

An effort has already been started by a member of the party's national council petitioning for members to get a chance to review O'Toole's leadership earlier than scheduled in 2023.

Some Conservative MPs have taken to social media to express their support for O'Toole, while others have been more critical of the party's election performance.

Town & Country News reported reelected Alberta MP Chris Warkentin as saying he felt the party's electoral fortunes shifted toward the Liberals in the campaign when O'Toole began to "waffle" on some policies.

Warkentin didn't immediately return a request for comment left at his office.

One of the hits O'Toole took during the campaign was when he said he would keep a Liberal ban on some 1,500 models of firearms, like the AR-15 in place, despite his platform promising to do the opposite to address the concerns of firearms owners, hunters and sport shooters.

That resulted in him inserting a footnote into the document, saying the ban would remain in place pending the outcome of a classification review.

British Columbia MP Mark Strahl has said the party needs to probe the specific reasons why it lost and tweeted an article Thursday saying "good read," with a caption of some of the text.

“A Conservative party that isn’t conservative is pointless, but so is a Conservative party that can’t form governments … what Conservatives need to figure out is how to thread this needle: not just how to win, but how to win as Conservatives," Strahl tweeted.

Special ballot counts continue as 4 federal ridings in BC remain undecided

BC nail-biter ridings

Uncertainty of the outcome of the Vancouver Granville riding drags on following Monday's federal vote.

Liberal candidate Taleeb Noormohamed has been leading New Democrat Anjali Appadurai.

Noormohamed was incorrectly projected as winner Wednesday night after the Elections Canada website showed 100 per cent of the polls in the riding had reported.

But another page on the website shows only 45 per cent of an estimated 6,800 special ballots have been counted in Vancouver Granville, more than enough to overcome any small lead, as the count continued Thursday.

Other nail-biter B.C. ridings include West Vancouver-Sunshine Coast-Sea to Sky Country, where Elections Canada says 55 per cent of special ballots have been counted, but its website shows no special ballots have yet been tallied in the ridings of either Nanaimo-Ladysmith or Richmond Centre.

Numbers show the NDP candidate leading her Conservative party challenger in Nanaimo-Ladysmith, while the Liberals are ahead of the Conservatives in both Richmond Centre and West Vancouver-Sunshine Coast-Sea to Sky Country.

Most mail ballots now counted, some ridings still undecided

Some ridings still counting


Elections Canada says it believes most of the 850,000 mail-in ballots not counted on Monday night have now been tallied, but there are still several close-run ridings that have yet to be determined.

On Wednesday, the ridings of Fredericton, Edmonton Centre, Northwest Territories and Yukon were declared for the Liberals after the count wrapped up, along with the Toronto riding of Davenport, where Liberal Julie Dzerowicz beat NDP candidate Alejandra Bravo by 165 votes.

Toronto's Spadina-Fort York was declared for Kevin Vuong, who was on the ballot as a Liberal although he'd been disavowed by the party over a late campaign revelation that he'd been charged with sexual assault in 2019. The charge was later dropped but the party has said Vuong will have to sit as an Independent MP.

A recount is expected in the Winnipeg-area riding of Charleswood-St. James-Assiniboia-Headingley, where Conservative incumbent Marty Morantz beat out Liberal Doug Eyolfson by 24 votes.

In Edmonton Griesbach, where The Canadian Press is projecting that Blake Desjarlais delivered a notable victory for the NDP over the Conservatives, mail ballots are still being counted.

In Nanaimo-Ladysmith, less than a thousand votes separated New Democrat Lisa Marie Barron from Conservative Tamara Kronis, with Green Paul Manly, the incumbent, relatively close behind, where 6,892 postal votes were still being counted on Wednesday.

Elections Canada warned that in some ridings with thousands of postal votes, final results may not be available until Friday.

Kamloops-Thompson-Cariboo independent candidates look back on campaign, election night

Independents reflect on vote

Expectations were vastly different among the two independent candidates in the Kamloops-Thompson-Cariboo riding.

Bob O’Brien was disappointed in his 277-vote total after putting in five 70-hour weeks during the campaign, thinking he would place in the top three, whereas candidate Wayne Allan said he considered anything more than one vote for him a success. Allan received 140 votes.

O’Brien said he talked to 1,000 people who were in favour of an independent candidate for the riding, but felt many were concerned Justin Trudeau and the Liberals would be returned to power, so they voted strategically.

Allan said he felt his campaign went well, noting he didn’t get started until late and didn’t feel he had the same amount of opportunities other candidates had.

He said the campaign is just the beginning and he plans to support whomever may be an independent candidate for Kamloops-Thompson-Cariboo in the next election.

O’Brien said he will likely seek a party nomination if he again pursues office.

All vote tallies are pending tabulation of mail-in ballots on Tuesday afternoon. Elections Canada said there were requests for 7,100 mail-in ballots, but it remains to be seen how many were returned.

Voter turnout in Kelowna's two ridings falls

Voter turnout nosedives

Barely six in 10 Central Okanagan residents bothered to become engaged in Monday's federal election.

Figures released Wednesday by Elections Canada show little more than 60 per cent of eligible voters cast a ballot in both the Kelowna-Lake Country and Central Okanagan-Similkameen-Nicola ridings.

The numbers are slightly higher than the provincial and national numbers, but still well below the percentage of voters who turned out in 2015 and 2019.

In Kelowna-Lake Country, 66,529 votes were cast, slightly less than 63 per cent of eligible voters. Two years ago, 67.7 per cent of voters turned out with 70.96 engaged in 2015.

Incumbent Conservative Tracy Gray was declared the winner Monday with 45.4 per cent of the vote.

In Central Okanagan-Similkameen-Nicola, 61.15 per cent of voters cast their ballot, also down from the 67.87 and 70.6 per cent who voted in the last two elections respectively.

Conservative Dan Albas was elected for a fourth term with nearly 46 per cent of the vote.

Those percentages are expected to change once mail-in and other special ballots are counted later this week. Those ballots will not have an effect on the voter turnout numbers.

Nationally, the 2021 election will go down as one of the lowest turnouts in history.

Just 59.5 per cent of voters marked an X on the ballot, second only to the 58.8 per cent who turned out in 2008.

Provincially, just 56.3 per cent of eligible voters turned out.

Those figures do not include people who registered to vote on election day.

PPC's Kyle Delfing pleased with party's growth in North Okanagan-Shuswap

Delfing pleased with gains

Victoria Femia

People's Party of Canada candidate Kyle Delfing threw an election night party – and despite his not being elected in North Okanagan-Shuswap, his team still had reason to celebrate.

“Some people thought it was a pretty huge win,” says Delfing.

“When we told people we were at 10 per cent (of the popular vote), what a reaction ... because people know that 10 per cent is that key number. It’s a serious number now – the party was great because of that.”

Delfing increased his popular vote share from 2.7 per cent in 2019.

The PPC ran a campaign opposing public health restrictions, and Delfing says the party's views on vaccine passports drew in new supporters.

“I think that the passports got the attention of people, but once they read our policies, they understood that it’s not just freedom from the vaccine passports, but literally freedom from a dysfunctional form of government in Canada,” said Delfing.

Moving forward, Delfing expects the PPC will shift more to “information mode.”

Locally, he'll continue to push more people in the North-Okanagan-Shuswap to become politically active.

Despite PPC Leader Maxime Bernier not being elected, Delfing was still pleased with the run the former Conservative made in the federal election.

“I actually think he did pretty well. I invited him here April 9 to travel the Okanagan. He really pushed for a national campaign at that moment. He didn’t stop, and he really did a service to the party,” said Delfing.

“He made a sacrifice to the seat, but he brought everybody else up by travelling to the riding, putting face time out, helping his candidates who are new or needed the boost.”

Numbers show fewer people voted in North Okanagan-Shuswap in 2021 compared to 2019

Fewer vote in local riding

About six-in-ten eligible North Okanagan-Shuswap voters cast a ballot in the 2021 federal election.

According to Elections Canada, 66,542 of 111,599 registered electors, or 59.63 per cent, marked an X on a ballot.

In 2019, 74,594 of an eligible 107,712 voters, or 69 per cent, cast a ballot.

On Monday, incumbent Tory MP Mel Arnold received 46.7 per cent support, down from 48.8 per cent in the 2019 election.

Nationally, the Liberals, which again formed a minority government, received 32.4 per cent of votes, while the official opposition Conservatives received 33.8 per cent of the vote.

The highest voter turnouts nationally, based on the number of registered electors, were in 1958, 1962 and 1963, when voter turnout was over 79 per cent.

The lowest voter turnout on record was in 2008, when voter turnout fell to only 58.8 per cent.

Voter turnout rose sharply in the 2015 federal election to 68.3 per cent, the highest turnout since 1993.

Jenica Atwin wins re-election after switch from Greens to Liberals in Fredericton

Ex-Green wins for Liberals

It took a couple of extra days to complete the counting, but Jenica Atwin has been re-elected in the riding of Fredericton — this time for the Liberals.

During the last election in 2019, Atwin won the riding for the Greens by beating Conservative Andrea Johnson by about 1,600 votes.

Atwin crossed the floor to join the Liberals in June, and this time defeated Johnson by a narrower margin of just 502 votes.

On election night Monday, the lead switched back and forth between Atwin and Johnson numerous times, and at the end of the night the result was too close to call with over 2,000 mail-in and absentee ballots yet to be tallied.

Atwin thanked supporters Monday night and said she had made the right choice to join the Liberal party.

With Atwin's win, the Liberals have captured six of New Brunswick's seats while the Conservatives took the other four.

Poll workers say Elections Canada put them at risk of contracting COVID-19

Poll workers put at risk?

A polling station officer says she was scared of contracting COVID-19 on Monday because Elections Canada didn't require workers to be fully vaccinated or allow them to request proof of a medical exemption from maskless voters.

Mary Rose Amaral says she wanted to participate in democracy by working at a Toronto voting station, despite being immunocompromised with asthma, and she expected Elections Canada to take more precautions to protect its employees.

She says some voters did not wear masks and claimed to have a medical exemption, but workers were not allowed to ask for proof to confirm they actually had one.

Arjang Fakhraie says he worked from 8:30 a.m. to midnight at a polling station in the Greater Toronto Area where he screened voters for COVID-19 symptoms and helped in organizing the long lineups outside the location.

He says the two metre-distance rule was effectively forgotten as voters and election workers were much closer to each other.

An Elections Canada spokesman says the agency encouraged voters to wear a mask, and required them where they were required by the province, territory or region or by the landlord of the polling station.

Matthew McKenna says voters who cannot wear a mask for medical reasons were not mandated to wear one and were not asked for a proof except for in polling stations in Alberta schools where proof of exemption is required by the school boards.

He says requiring all election workers to be vaccinated would have decreased the number of people who apply for jobs with the agency and that would have jeopardized the operation of the election.

He says Elections Canada aimed to recruit 215,000 workers on election day, and it was able to meet approximately 93 per cent of that target.

Kamloops-Thompson-Cariboo voter turnout lower than past two federal elections, according to Elections Canada

Turnout lower than 2019

Early numbers indicate voter turnout in the Kamloops-Thompson-Cariboo riding dipped slightly on Monday compared to the past two federal elections.

According to data from Elections Canada, just over 60 per cent of registered voters in the riding cast their ballots, although the agency said this number doesn’t include voters who registered on election day.

There is still one poll remaining in Kamloops-Thompson-Cariboo that has yet to report its results. Mail-in ballots have not been counted yet, either.

Canada-wide, 59 per cent of registered voters chose to cast ballots in this election.

In the 2019 federal election, there was nearly a 70 per cent turnout in the Kamloops-Thompson-Cariboo riding, and the 2015 election saw 73 per cent of registered residents vote.

In a city council meeting Tuesday, Mayor Ken Christian said he wanted to thank the group of about 70,000 people in the riding who chose to vote on Monday.

“The voter turnout without the mail-in ballots was around 60 per cent, which is almost twice what we see for a municipal election. So that, I think, is a statement about the health of our democracy,” Christian said.

He said he also wanted to extend his thanks to all the candidates who put their names forward, as well as the volunteers and workers who helped run their campaigns.

“As we all know, that’s a difficult thing to do, and that I think they deserve our thanks for that,” he said.

Christian said he has reached out to Frank Caputo, the newly-elected Conservative MP for Kamloops-Thompson-Cariboo, and hopes they will be able to meet in the coming days to discuss city matters Caputo can help bring forward to Ottawa.

He also thanked outgoing MP Cathy McLeod for her years of service to the riding.

“Her service to this riding in its various iterations I think has been commendable, and I think she was always available to our council, and I think that she was a voice for this city in Ottawa," he said.

"I wish her all the best in her retirement."

Quebec's Legault says he has no regrets about taking sides during federal election

Legault has no regrets

François Legault says he has no regrets about his support for the Conservative party and his criticism of the Liberals during the federal election campaign.

The Quebec premier says his stance was in defence of the province's autonomy and of Quebec's language, culture and values.

Legault told reporters in Quebec City today he has spoken to Liberal Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and while the two have their differences, he is confident they can work together for the good of Quebecers.

During the election campaign, Legault described the Liberals, NDP and Green party as "dangerous" for Quebec and suggested he'd prefer a Conservative minority government.

The Conservatives, who won 10 seats in Quebec, saw no gains in the province on election day, but Legault says the majority of Quebecers voted for parties that support the province's autonomy. The Bloc Québécois was elected or leading in 34 of the province's 78 ridings

With the Liberals returning to power and elected or leading in 33 Quebec ridings, Legault faced criticism from provincial opposition parties, who said his comments will complicate relations between the two governments.

NDP's Sundhu says he won't run again after coming up well short on election night

Sundhu won't run again

According to Bill Sundhu, "a fence post" could run under the Conservative banner in Kamloops-Thompson-Cariboo and win the seat.

That's part of the reason the two-time NDP candidate — a former judge and well-known local lawyer, by no means an under-qualified nominee — said he doesn't plan to put his name forward the next time Canadians head to the polls.

Sundhu found himself runner-up on Monday night, his 18,618 votes well short of Conservative Frank Caputo's 27,597.

“‘I’ve had two good runs and it's time to move on to other things in my life,” Sundhu told Castanet Kamloops.

“It's time to work in my garden, read some good books, listen to some good music and get on with life.”

The NDP candidate said his team ran the best campaign it could. He said the outcome was disheartening and not what he had expected.

“Locally, we thought we would be closer. [I’m] a little bit disappointed about the gap between us and the Conservatives,” he said.

“We thought we were in a much better position.”

Sundhu wished Caputo well and congratulated him on the win.

He said he likes Caputo. Both men are criminal lawyers in the city and they have crossed paths many times at the courthouse.

But, in Kamloops-Thompson-Cariboo, Sundhu said it doesn't matter who the Conservatives put forward — and that's frustrating.

“In this riding, the Conservatives are entrenched,” Sundhu said.

“There are ridings in the country where somebody said [the Conservatives] could run a fence post and it would win — and I think that's the thing here.”

This election was Caputo's first as a candidate. He will replace Conservative MP Cathy McLeod, who announced earlier this year that she would not seek another term in Ottawa.

McLeod had represented the riding since 2008.

More Federal Election 2021 articles



Kelowna - Lake Country
Central Okanagan - Similkameen - Nicola
North Okanagan - Shuswap
South Okanagan - West Kootenay
Kamloops - Thompson - Cariboo


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