Key constituencies: races to watch on election night

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The 44th Canadian general election is upon us and most polls suggest that the race between the Liberals and the Conservatives remains too close.

The tight race means there are a number of hotly contested constituencies across the country that could tip the result into Canada’s first pandemic elections.

Can the Liberals still form a majority government? Can the Conservatives win enough seats to make Erin O’Toole the country’s 24th prime minister? Will we see another orange wave from the NDP? Will the Bloc cede ground to Quebec? Do party leaders Annamie Paul and Maxine Bernier stand a chance of winning their seats?

Here’s a look at where the games can look to make progress in each province – along with other close races to watch as the results begin to fall on Monday night.

ATLANTIC CANADA

2019 seats: Liberal 27, Conservative 4, NDP 1

There does not appear to be much reshuffle in the Maritimes and Newfoundland as election night approaches. Polls suggest the Liberals should have an easy time keeping their grip on the region, with the Conservatives able to gain ground in the form of a few seats.

Conservatives are about to return Saint-Jean-Rothesay in New Brunswick with the Liberals on track to take back the only NDP riding in Atlantic Canada – St. John’s East in Newfoundland – after the outgoing NDP MP announced his retirement.

It is shaping up to be an interesting three-way race in Fredericton with the Greens in the hope of reclaiming the capital of New Brunswick. The Greens actually took the constituency in 2019 with MP Jenica Atwin then crossing the floor to join the Liberal Party earlier this year. The fight between the Liberals and the Greens could open the door for the Conservatives to take a seat here.

There are a few races to watch in Nova Scotia where there will be close races between the Conservative and Liberal candidates – Cumberland-Colchester, Sydney-Victoria and West Nova. The Conservatives hope to win two seats from the outgoing Liberals in the two old ridings, the reverse being the case in the second.

QUEBEC

2019 seats: Liberal 35, Block 32, Conservative 10, NDP 1

The big story in Quebec on election night will be a number of hotly contested ridings between the Bloc Québécois (BQ) and the Liberals. A push by the BQ in 2019 played a big part in ensuring that Trudeau only walked away with a minority government. It will be in the best interests of Erin O’Toole and the Tories for the BQ to be more successful or, at the very least, to keep its seat total from 2019 and not give up any ground. If the Liberals manage to make any gains, it will give them a bigger cushion and give Trudeau a better chance at forming government even if they are losing ground in other parts of the country.

There are several ridings to watch to gauge the standoff between the BQ and the Liberals. Sherbrooke This is perhaps the best opportunity for the BQ to steal a seat from an outgoing Liberal MP on Monday night. While two former Liberal MPs will seek to regain their seats in Therese-De Blainville and Shefford after being defeated by the BQ candidates in 2019.

The Conservatives are not content to sit idly by in Quebec with two ridings that are shaping up to be three-way races between the BQ, the Liberals and the Conservatives. The Tories have a solid chance to claim both BQ seats with a former Tory MP seeking to regain the seat she lost in 2019 in Beauport-Limoilou and the BQ presenting a new candidate in Three Rivers after the outgoing MP announced his retirement.

Three of the party leaders present themselves in Quebec and attention will be focused on Beauce where the leader of the People’s Party of Canada (PPC), Maxime Bernier, tries to take back his former seat at the incumbent Conservative. The PPC has seen a relative increase in popular vote in the polls, although Bernier is probably the party’s only realistic move for a seat.

Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau is the incumbent in the Montreal constituency of Papineau while the head of the BQ, Yves-François Blanchet, is the incumbent Beloeil-Chambly. Both are considered safe bets to keep their seats.

ONTARIO

2019 seats: Liberal 79, Conservative 36, NDP 6

Ontario is where the Conservatives are most likely to gain from Trudeau and the Liberals. While they almost certainly won’t make a dent in the Liberal stronghold of Toronto and its 25 ridings – these are the areas surrounding the city (the 905) where Erin O’Toole must make an impact. If the Conservatives can get help from the NDP in other parts of the province – and turn a number of 905 suburbs blue – that might be enough for O’Toole to win.

There are a number of ridings in the GTA that will be hotly contested between the Liberals and Conservatives, including four in York Region (Aurora-Oak Ridges-Richmond Hill, King Vaughan, Newmarket-Aurora and Richmond Hill) As well as inside Whitby. The five constituencies are projected as a draw and only Aurora-Oak Ridges-Richmond Hill is currently held by the Tories – giving way for a big swing if liberal support wanes in the GTA.

Outside the GTA, the Conservatives appear to be in a good position to claim two seats from the Liberals in Kitchener-Waterloo. In Kitchener-Conestoga, the Conservatives hope to seize the seat of the Liberal candidate they have held since 2006 before losing it in the 2019 election. Kitchener Center where a Liberal MP remains on the ballot despite allegations of sexual assault leveled against him – the Conservative candidate is the front-runner in a three-way race also involving the Greens.

Other races to watch in Ontario where Tories could fight incumbent Liberals’ seats are underway Peterborough-Kawartha and Bay of Quinte. The Hastings-Lennox and Addington The constituency is up for grabs after former Tory MP Derek Sloan was kicked out by the party last year after a number of controversies. One riding to watch in northern Ontario is Kenora the incumbent Conservative defending in a close three-way race with the Liberal and NDP candidates.

Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole is the incumbent of Durham in the GTA and is considered a safe bet to be won. Besieged Greens leader Annamie Paul introduces himself Toronto Center – a seat that was held by former Finance Minister Bill Morneau – and there is a long shot left to win this constituency.


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THE PRAIRIES

2019 seats: Conservative 54, Liberal 4, NDP 4

O’Toole doesn’t appear to have the same strong support as Andrew Scheer in the Western provinces in 2019. With the recent surge of COVID-19 in Alberta and that province’s United Conservative Party – whose approach has already applauded by O’Toole – being forced to implement new restrictions and apologize for his response to the pandemic, Conservative support could slide even further on election night.

Conservative candidates face serious challenges in several urban ridings in the Prairie provinces. They will have to limit the damage, especially for the Liberal challengers in Calgary and Edmonton. Losing ground to the NDP would hurt O’Toole’s overall chances of winning less.

There are two ridings each in Edmonton and Calgary where the Liberals could fight the incumbent Conservatives. Edmonton Center, Edmonton Mill Wood, Calgary Center and Calgary Skyview – the latter being probably the Liberals’ best asset to seize a seat from the Conservatives. All four ridings were won by Liberal candidates in the 2015 election.

The NDP is also launching legitimate challenges to conservative incumbents in the Regina-Lewvan and Edmonton Griesbach ridings that appear to be very close races.

BRITISH COLUMBIA

2019 seats: Conservative 17, Liberal 11, NDP 11, Green 2

The Liberals are in a position to potentially lose a handful of seats in British Columbia to the NDP and the Conservatives. If the Conservatives can wrest four or five ridings, it could make a difference in forming the next government.

The Conservatives hope to do the most damage in Metro Vancouver where several ridings risk slipping out of Liberal hands. The races to follow are Coquitlam-Port Coquitlam, Delta, Fleetwood-Port Kells and West Vancouver-Sunshine Coast-Sea to Sky Country where the conservative candidates aim to overthrow the liberal incumbents. Polls show Coquitlam-Port Coquitlam roll like one of the safest bets to make on election night.

Former Riding of Independent MP Jody Wilson-Raybould Vancouver-Granville is a close three-way race between the Liberals, Conservatives and the NDP, and its winner could serve as a barometer for the province.

Conservatives will look to hold on with a challenge ahead Port Moody-Coquitlam of the NDP who are looking to regain a seat they had before the 2019 election. The NDP is also likely to take Burnaby North-Seymour Liberals who have held the riding since it was formed in 2015.

Greens hope to keep their two seats on Vancouver Island – amid a challenge from the Conservatives and the NDP in Nanaimo-Ladysmith. The tight three-way race is another opportunity for the Tories to come out on top on the West Coast.

NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh is the incumbent in the riding of Greater Vancouver of Burnaby South and is considered a safe bet to be won.

THE NORTH

2019 seats: Liberal 2, NDP 1

There are two close races in the territories, with the Liberals fielding a new candidate in Yukon try to hold back the NDP and the NDP to present a new candidate by Nunavut delay the liberal challenge.

With files from 680 NEWS reporter Alex Bloomfield


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