Conservatives win popular vote but lose election
Published Tuesday, October 22, 2019 8:04AM EDT Last Updated Tuesday, October 22, 2019 11:23AM EDT
TORONTO -- Despite falling short of their goal to unseat their incumbent Liberal rivals on Monday night, Andrew Scheer's Conservative Party actually came out with a win in the popular vote.
According to CTV's election results as of early Tuesday morning, the Conservatives took 6,154,085 of Canada's nearly 18 million ballots cast, claiming 34.4 per cent of the popular vote compared to the Liberals' 33.1 per cent -- a difference of more than 230,000 votes.
In the early hours of Tuesday morning, Scheer took to the stage in his Saskatchewan home riding of Regina-Qu'Appelle to address a crowded room of supporters, touting his party's lead in popular support.
"More Canadians wanted us to win this election than any other party," he said, suggesting that means the Conservatives are now the "government in waiting" and have "put Trudeau on notice."
While most ridings across Canada were competitive, with votes going to multiple parties, a jump in Conservative votes in Western Canada bumped up their popular vote tally.
As expected, the Conservatives dominated in the Prairies, where they picked up all 14 seats in Saskatchewan, including Regina-Wascana, the riding held by high-profile Liberal MP and cabinet minister Ralph Goodale since 1993.
In Alberta, the Conservatives were one seat short of a complete sweep, after the NDP won in the Edmonton riding of Edmonton-Strathcona. In Manitoba, the party even gained extra seats in Winnipeg for a total of seven of the province's 14 seats.
This apparent blue wave in the prairies coupled with a Liberal minority win has breathed new life into a western separatist movement that taps into the anger and frustration of voters who feel they've been short-changed and unrepresented by the federal government.
Early Tuesday, #Wexit began trending on Twitter in Canada, igniting calls for the West to separate from the rest of Canada.
"Trudeau's re-election is going to tear Canada in half. Good job Quebec. You'll get your separatism desires. The west is leaving," read one tweet echoing the sentiment of many using the hashtag.
Voters in the prairies weren’t the only ones upset with the result. Those in Eastern Canada who voted Conservative also vented their frustrations online, with some asking Albertans if they could move to the province once it separates.
Calls for western separation are not new, but some Canadians are calling the prairies' bluff.
"Alberta has chosen to elect no members to Canada's elected government. Now they will bitch about lack of representation. Randy Boissonnault and Amarjeet Sohi were solid Members of Parliament," read one tweet.
Natural Resources Minister Amarjeet Sohi of Edmonton Mill Woods and Edmonton Centre Liberal Randy Boissonnault were both defeated in their ridings.
Many Twitter users questioned how the Liberals could call a minority government a win when the Conservatives won more of the votes, blaming the first-past-the-post electoral system Trudeau promised but failed to reform.
The Liberals ended the election winning 157 seats after heading into the campaign with 177. The Conservatives won 121 after heading into the campaign with 95.
Since the Liberals have less than a majority of seats, they will need to make sure they can secure at least 170 votes to keep the confidence of the House and their grip on power -- something Scheer is expecting Trudeau won't be able to do for long.
"Mr. Trudeau, when your government falls, Conservatives will be ready and we will win," he said.
With files from CTV News' Rachel Aiello, Nicole Bogart