The 6 biggest surprises of election night
TORONTO – A Liberal minority government was an expected outcome of Monday’s election.
Many other results, though, were not quite so predictable.
From an unusual situation where the party with the most votes did not win the most seats, to two parties seeing significantly less support than polls suggested they would receive, election night featured more than a few twists and turns.
CTVNews.ca takes a look at some of the more surprising headlines to emerge from the 2019 federal election.
SPLIT SHOWS OF SUPPORT
For the first time in 40 years, the party that received the most votes in a federal election did not also win the largest share of seats.
Although the Liberals won at least 30 more seats than the Conservatives, the Conservatives had a lead of 250,000 votes with 93 per cent of all polls reporting.
While the situation is unusual, it is not unprecedented – and popular vote has no bearing on how a government is formed.
In a twist of irony, the last time this situation played out federally was in 1979, when Pierre Trudeau’s Liberals received nearly 500,000 more votes than Joe Clark’s Progressive Conservatives, but the PCs picked up 136 seats to the Liberals’ 114.
Pitting region against region seemed to be a favourite sport of partisans during the campaign, and the fruits of those labours are clearly displayed in Monday night’s results.
A quick glance at the CTV News election map shows the extent of the divide.
The Liberals won the most seats, but their red colour is barely perceptible in Western Canada -- seats in the territories notwithstanding. Several seats around Vancouver and a few in Winnipeg represent the entirety of their caucus in the provinces west of Ontario.
It’s Conservative blue that dominates the map across the Prairies, as that party won 33 of the 34 seats in Alberta and all 14 in Saskatchewan, as well as large swaths of the B.C. interior and rural Ontario.
Liberal red is much more prominent in Atlantic Canada and ridings in the Toronto and Montreal areas. NDP support tends to coalesce around the most urban and most remote parts of the country, while rural and northern Quebec are largely coloured in the aquamarine of the Bloc Quebecois.
Three well-known Liberals were caught up in the Conservatives’ near-sweep of the Prairies.
At the top of that list is Ralph Goodale, who fell to defeat in the Regina-Wascana riding he had held since 1993.
Goodale was a prominent member of Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau’s team as the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness. He represented a bridge between Trudeau’s government and that of former Liberal prime ministers Jean Chretien and Paul Martin, both of whom also had him in their cabinets.
Natural Resources Minister Amarjeet Sohi was defeated in the riding of Edmonton Mill Woods, while former veterans affairs and sport minister Kent Hehr lost in Calgary Centre.
On the Conservative side, deputy leader Lisa Raitt was defeated in the Ontario riding of Milton. Country singer George Canyon, who was brought in as a star candidate in the Nova Scotia riding of Central Nova, was also rejected by voters.
Also out of Parliament is People’s Party Leader Maxime Bernier. He finished second in the Beauce riding in Quebec, which he had held since 2006.
THE BLOC ARE BACK
After being essentially a non-factor in Parliament for the past eight years, the Bloc Quebecois are once again significant players in Ottawa.
The Bloc increased its seat count from 10 to at least 32 as the party’s vote count topped one million for the first time since 2008.
Leader Yves-Francois Blanchet, who took over the party in late 2018, has been credited with rejuvenating the moribund party by refocusing its mission away from separatism and toward protecting what it sees as Quebec’s interests.
The Parliamentary math works out in such a way that the Liberals could get legislation passed with Bloc support, or even with the Bloc simply abstaining from a vote.
WHAT PROGRESSIVE SURGE?
At times, it seemed like the election would provide a big boost to the NDP, the Green party, or both.
In the final week of the campaign, the NDP appeared to be in line for about 20 per cent of the popular vote. Polling data suggested that the Greens were often flirting with 10 per cent support.
In the end, though, neither party came anywhere close to those totals.
With 93 per cent of polls reporting, the NDP had 15.8 per cent of the popular vote and the Greens 6.3 per cent.
The drop in support also coincided with a drop in Parliamentary representation for the NDP, who entered the election with 42 seats and left it with 25.
Whether measured by popular vote or by seat count, it was the NDP’s worst electoral performance since the 2004 election – Jack Layton’s first as the party’s leader.
HARPERITES RETURN; LAYTONITES GONE
A number of familiar faces will be returning to the House of Commons, as several former Conservative MPs who lost to Liberal challengers in 2015 were able to win their rematches.
The list includes Rob Moore in New Brunswick, John Williamson in New Brunswick, Tim Uppal in Edmonton, and Kenny Chiu and Brad Vis in B.C.
Meanwhile, the remaining members of the 2011 NDP cohort in Quebec, many of whom never expected to be MPs in the first place, were sent packing.
Voters in Quebec decided against third terms for Ruth Ellen Brosseau – often considered the poster child for this group – as well as the likes of Matthew Dube and Guy Caron.
Alexandre Boulerice was the only NDPer to win a third term, picking up an easy victory in Rosemont—La Petite–Patrie.