Liberals take 6 seats in N.L. with Trudeau projected to remain PM

·4 min read
Liberal Seamus O'Regan is projected to return to Ottawa as MP for St. John's South-Mount Pearl. (Adrian Wyld/The Canadian Press - image credit)
Liberal Seamus O'Regan is projected to return to Ottawa as MP for St. John's South-Mount Pearl. (Adrian Wyld/The Canadian Press - image credit)
Adrian Wyld/The Canadian Press
Adrian Wyld/The Canadian Press

Newfoundland and Labrador will return six Liberals to Ottawa, with five incumbents hanging onto their seats and a new candidate coming out on top in the 2021 federal election.

Seamus O'Regan, who represents the St. John's South-Mount Pearl riding, was the first seat to be projected as a victory Monday night. Ken McDonald, representing Avalon, followed close behind, then Yvonne Jones in Labrador, Churence Rogers in Bonavista-Burin-Trinity and Gudie Hutchings in Long Range Mountains.

Just before midnight CBC projected Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau to remain as prime minister.

The sixth Liberal seat was flipped in St. John's East. First-time candidate Joanne Thompson reclaimed the riding for the Liberals, the NDP's Jack Harris stepping down.

Jones was first elected in Labrador in 2013, and both O'Regan and McDonald, first elected in 2015, marked their third federal election victories. Hutchings's first win was also in 2015.

Rogers was first elected in a 2017 byelection.

O'Regan has been a cabinet minister since 2017, most recently as natural resources minister.

As of midnight one riding — Coast of Bays-Central-Notre Dame — was yet to be decided.

The Conservatives were out in front in Coast of Bays-Central-Notre Dame late Monday night, which would make for the first blue seat in Newfoundland and Labrador since 2015. If the riding goes to Conservative candidate Clifford Small, it would unseat Liberal incumbent Scott Simms who has been a member of Parliament for the last 17 years.

Colleen Cononrs/CBC
Colleen Cononrs/CBC

In Newfoundland and Labrador, the Liberals and Conservatives were on track to increase their share of the vote from the 2019 election, with the gains coming at the expense of the NDP.

The Liberals held 46.9 per cent of the ballots, up from 44.9 per cent, for the province with 89,271 votes late Monday night. The Conservatives sat in second with 33.9 per cent, up six percentage points from the last election, and 64,747 votes. In third was the NDP with 16.7 per cent of the vote — down from 23.7 — and 31,858 ballots cast. The People's Party had 4,871 votes, 2.6 per cent of the total, up from its 0.1 per cent in 2019, when the fledlging party fielded just one candidate.

Busy election year

Newfoundlanders and Labradorians headed to the polls for the second time this year on Monday, this time to vote for Canada's next government.

Heading into election day, Newfoundland and Labrador's seven federal ridings saw representatives from four parties: the Conservative Party, the Liberal Party, the New Democratic Party and the People's Party of Canada. There were no Green Party candidates running in the province.

Candidates were busy over the 35-day campaign, which began Aug. 15. Many parties had candidates in place prior to the announcement.

The Conservatives, Liberals and NDP had candidates running in all seven ridings, while the People's Party of Canada was represented in six.

Over the course of the campaign, several key issues emerged including Canada's COVID-19 response, the country's finances, a transition to a green economy and reconciliation.

Voting by mail

Similar to the province's provincial election in February, polling experts say a result might not be clear after polls close on Monday night because of the hundreds of thousands of mail-in ballots that will be cast due to COVID-19 concerns over voting in person. Elections Canada has said local mail-in ballots will not be counted until Tuesday.

But some voters were frustrated with the process.

Patricia Johnson-Castle applied for a mail-in ballot on Tuesday before the deadline. A resident of Nain, Johnson-Castle applied to vote by mail because she was in St. John's visiting family on election day.

Johnson-Castle told CBC Radio's On The Go she got mixed messages from Elections Canada. Her ballot showed up late on Monday, and she was worried it won't get returned to Ottawa on time in order to count.

She said according to instructions the ballot needs to be returned to Ottawa by regular mail or by courier at her own expense. She also said a poll worker in St. John's told her the ballot would be counted if submitted to a "special elections voting box."

"It's a bit of a confusing situation, for sure," Johnson-Castle said.

"I think that every single vote adds up. So regardless if you're voting for the person who wins or the person who doesn't, if they don't win by a big majority they know they have to be on their toes and maybe they're going to work harder for us."

More than 1.2 million Canadians requested a mail-in voting kit, according to Elections Canada.

CBC News will have comprehensive coverage with real-time results, election night news and analysis on how the vote is unfolding.

Read more from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador

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