Liberals take 5 seats, Conservatives 4 in New Brunswick, but Fredericton uncertain

·4 min read
New Brunswick has 10 seats in Parliament, and a few of the races Monday were expected to be close. (Gary Moore/CBC - image credit)
New Brunswick has 10 seats in Parliament, and a few of the races Monday were expected to be close. (Gary Moore/CBC - image credit)

Liberals won five New Brunswick ridings and Conservatives four in the federal election Monday, but the race has been too close to call in Fredericton.

Liberal candidate Jenica Atwin and Conservative candidate Andrea Johnson had a seesaw night, and a result might not be clear until more than 2,000 mail-in ballots are counted Tuesday.

Miramichi-Grand Lake was also uncertain for much of the night, but Progressive Conservative Jake Stewart brought the riding into the Conservative column after midnight.

Stewart, an MLA and former cabinet minister defeated Liberal Lisa Harris, winning 43 per cent of the vote with 142 of 158 polls reporting. Harris was also a New Brunswick MLA up until she resigned from her post to run in the federal election.

The other Conservatives winning seats were Richard Bragdon winning Tobique-Mactaquac, John Williamson in New Brunswick Southwest, and Rob Moore in Fundy Royal.

Liberals winners were Dominic LeBlanc in Beauséjour, Serge Cormier in Acadie-Bathurst, Ginette Petitpas Taylor in Moncton-Riverview-Dieppe, René Arseneault in Madawaska-Restigouche and Wayne Long in Saint John-Rothesay.

The results for most of New Brunswic;s 10 ridings came ahead of Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau being declared victorious, with enough seats to form a minority government.

Jacques Poitras/CBC
Jacques Poitras/CBC

First elected in 2000, LeBlanc was re-elected seven times before Monday night's win. He's held several cabinet positions over his career, including minister of fisheries and oceans and, currently, minister of intergovernmental and northern affairs.

Cormier, Petitpas Taylor, Arseneault and Long were first elected in 2015 as part of the Liberal Party's sweep of New Brunswick, and all four held on to their seats in the 2019 election.

Bragdon was first elected in 2019, taking the seat from the Liberals.

Williamson was first elected MP for the riding in 2011 but suffered defeat as part of the Liberals' sweep of the province in 2015 before regaining the seat in 2019.

Moore was first elected MP for Fundy Royal in 2004 and was re-elected three times before being defeated in 2015 before coming back to win the seat in 2019.

Fredericton was one of the most closely watched ridings in the Maritimes, with Atwin trying to hold on to her seat after defecting from the Green Party earlier this year.

As of 1:30 a.m. Tuesday, Atwin and Conservative Andrea Johnson each held 36 per cent of the vote, with 120 out of 154 polls reporting.

Across the province, 23,140 voters sent in mail-in ballots, with the Moncton-Riverview-Dieppe riding accounting for the most.

Before the polls closed

For some New Brunswickers who spoke to CBC before the polls closed, the decision didn't come easily.

"I still hadn't decided right up until probably last night," said Rhonda Kay.

Kay voted in Fredericton this morning.

She knew from the last election, polling stations wouldn't be very busy the morning of the election, because most people are at work.

"It was very fast," she said.

Gary Moore/CBC
Gary Moore/CBC

After casting her vote, Kay expects some kind of minority government after the ballots are counted.

'Pretty barren'

Forrest MacKnight decided he would vote early in the morning to avoid the lines.

"It was pretty barren in there."

Gary Moore/CBC
Gary Moore/CBC

MacKnight said he was pleased to see a number of young people voting and volunteering at the polls Monday.

"Pretty seamless, just like always," said the Fredericton native. "They take their precautions pretty seriously, which is nice to see."

According to Elections Canada, 160,987 New Brunswickers voted in the advance polls. As of Sept. 19, there were 23,140 New Brunswickers who provided mail-in-ballots.

MacKnight typically votes in the advance polls. But this year, he forgot. So he made his way into a polling station Monday morning.

"It's kind of exciting," he said.

'Get this pandemic cleaned up'

Once the winner is decided, MacKnight expects to see many posts on social media about the results.

"I'd kind of like to see everyone getting along as much as possible," he said. But, for now, he's just happy people are out voting.

Sandy Holland also decided to wait for election day to cast her ballot.

Gary Moore/CBC
Gary Moore/CBC

"I wasn't ready," she said. "I want to wait right until the last minute."

By the time she went in to vote Monday morning, Holland felt like she had a better idea of how she was going to vote.

"We need to get this pandemic cleaned up, this is the major thing."

Voting and COVID-19

In order to vote, residents need to sanitize their hands before going inside and maintain a distance of six feet apart. At some polling stations, there are also disposable pencils voters can use.

Voters are also required to wear masks when they head inside to vote.

Gary Moore/CBC
Gary Moore/CBC

Frederick Chase said the voting process seemed a bit more organized than usual

He's hopeful for a more "responsible" government once the election's over.

Gary Moore/CBC
Gary Moore/CBC

"If you make mistakes, just admit it," he said. "People will respect you more for admitting your mistakes than trying to hide them."

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