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The Biggest Surprises in the Canadian Election Results

Liberals sweep GTA, star incumbents booted, no more Maxime Bernier.

by Sarah Berman and Manisha Krishnan
Oct 22 2019, 5:22am

Photos via The Canadian Press and Facebook

If you sat down to watch the election results roll in Monday evening, chances are you were prepared for a long ass nailbiter of a night.

The 2019 campaign was loaded with scandal and smears, and polls that put Liberals and Conservatives neck and neck.

But the deed was done much sooner than expected. British Columbia voters were surprised to learn Canada was already headed for a Liberal minority government minutes before polls closed at 10:30 p.m. Eastern time.

The fact that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was able to hang on to power without more struggle wasn’t the only twist of the evening. In no particular order, here are some of the biggest upsets from Canada’s 2019 federal election.

Liberals won all of Toronto, and most of the GTA

The Liberals won all 25 seats in Toronto including the Davenport and Parkdale-High Park ridings, where support has gone back and forth between the Liberals and the NDP. They also dominated in most of the surrounding 905 area. The Conservatives picked up seats in Markham, Aurora-Oak Ridges-Richmond Hill, and Thornhill, and were projected to win in Richmond Hill as of press time. But they would’ve needed to have picked up far more seats in the GTA to have a feasible chance of forming government.

Mixed results for everyone’s favourite ex-Liberals

Jane Philpott, who resigned from her cabinet post in protest of Trudeau’s handling of the SNC-Lavalin scandal, lost her seat in Markham-Stouffville. Philpott was running as an independent, after Trudeau fired her from the Liberal caucus in the aftermath of the scandal.

Jody Wilson-Raybould, who ran as an independent in the contentious Vancouver-Granville riding, barely hung on to her seat against Liberal and Conservative opponents.

Wilson-Raybould was also fired from the Liberal caucus by Trudeau after the SNC-Lavalin controversy. She accused him of pressuring her to interfere in the criminal prosecution of SNC-Lavalin.

The #upriSingh didn’t translate into votes

The New Democratic Party’s buzzworthy campaign did not translate into more seats. In fact, the NDP went from having 44 seats to 25. NDP leader Jagmeet Singh, who won his seat in Burnaby South, was repeatedly lauded for his response to racism aimed at him and other people of colour in Canada. His campaign ended on a high note with a viral TikTok video spelling out his people-first messaging.

No one gives a shit about the People’s Party of Canada

People’s Party leader Maxime Bernier, formerly a Conservative, lost his seat in Beauce, Quebec. Bernier, who campaigned against “mass immigration” and diversity landed more than his fair share of headlines during the campaign. The backlash over his appearance at one of the official debates turned out to be justified, seeing as no one in his party could secure a win. The party ended up with a paltry 1.7 percent of the popular vote.

Polls projected a tight race between Bernier and the Conservative candidate. A spoiler candidate with the exact same name hoped to result in a few spoiled ballots, but in the end that wasn’t needed. By 11 p.m. Bernier lagged behind by a several thousand votes.

Notable incumbents lost big

Lisa Raitt, deputy leader of the Conservatives, lost her seat in Milton to Liberal Adam van Koeverden, who also happens to be an Olympic gold medal paddler. Van Koeverden’s victory puts and end to Raitt’s 11 years as Milton’s MP. Last week, Raitt raised some eyebrows when she complimented Singh’s viral TikTok, with some speculating she was hoping more people in her riding would vote NDP in order to allow her to beat van Koeverden. She denied that charge.

Former public safety minister Ralph Goodale, the lone Liberal MP in Saskatchewan, lost his seat in Regina-Wascana where he’s been a Liberal MP since 1993. Goodale, who is also deputy leader of the Liberals, has served in a number of other cabinet positions over the years, including finance, public works, and natural resources.

The three major party leaders talked over each other

As the night came to a close, NDP leader Singh gave what turned out to be a pretty lengthy concession speech. So lengthy that Conservative leader Andrew Scheer eventually started giving his speech without waiting for Singh to finish. Shortly after Scheer started talking, Trudeau began his victory speech. At one point all three men were effectively talking over each other, confusing broadcasters. Can’t wait for these guys to make policy together.

Follow Manisha Krishnan and Sarah Berman on Twitter.

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