The Trans Mountain pipeline expansion is a national political issue – but it’s especially tangible here in this Greater Vancouver riding, where a tank farm receives bitumen from the Alberta oil sands and pipes it into tankers for overseas markets. Svend Robinson, a former high-profile New Democrat MP, is trying to make a political comeback after 15 years in private life. Liberal Terry Beech, who won the riding by six percentage points over the second-place NDP in 2015, has acknowledged community concerns over the pipeline expansion, but cites other aspects of the Liberal environmental record such as the oceans protection plan and carbon tax. This year, the Conservatives are running Heather Leung, an occupational therapist who previously ran for Burnaby City Council. (Update: The Conservatives dropped Ms. Leung as a candidate, but too late for her name to be removed from the ballot.)
When then-B.C. health minister Terry Lake said in 2017 he wouldn’t seek re-election, the assumption was that he was calling it a day in politics. Instead, he’s running for the Liberals federally. About three-quarters of the population of the Interior riding lives in Kamloops, a city where Mr. Lake was also once mayor and a city councillor. He is taking on Conservative MP Cathy McLeod, who has held the riding since 2008. In the 2015 vote, it was a tight race: Ms. McLeod won with 35-per-cent support, the NDP got 31 per cent and the Liberals had 30 per cent. However, the NDP has had trouble with its candidates in the riding: Two have resigned.
As a Liberal candidate in 2015, Jody Wilson-Raybould won 44 per cent of the vote, compared with 27 per cent for the NDP and 26 per cent for the Conservatives. Ms. Wilson-Raybould was named justice minister after the Liberals took office, but was moved to veterans affairs in January, 2019. She later resigned from cabinet and was expelled from the Liberal caucus over disagreements arising from the SNC-Lavalin affair. She is running again in the riding as an independent candidate. Despite the scandal, the Liberals have been bullish about winning the riding, and named tech entrepreneur Taleeb Noormohamed as their candidate. Zach Segal, a public-affairs adviser at Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. in Vancouver, is the Tory candidate. Climate activist Yvonne Hanson is running for the NDP.
Linda Duncan, who became the second NDP MP elected in Alberta history when she won in 2008, isn’t running this year. That opens up the race in what is perhaps the province’s most left-leaning riding. The New Democrats are running Heather McPherson, an executive director at a non-profit. She faces Conservative Sam Lilly, who works for a casino operator, and Eleanor Olszewski, a lawyer running for the Liberals. The riding underscores the disparity between the provincial NDP, which has traditionally done well in Edmonton, and a federal party that has been unable to capitalize on that. One potential reason: Former NDP premier Rachel Notley, who represented part of the riding, styled herself as a champion of pipelines and the oil industry, putting her at odds with the federal New Democrats and essentially severing ties between the two.
Kent Hehr, a lawyer and former provincial MLA, was among four Liberals elected in Alberta in 2015 in traditionally Conservative territory. Like the other Alberta Liberals, he squeaked in by a narrow margin – in his case, just 750 votes ahead of the incumbent Conservative MP. The province has been suffering from an economic downturn that has dragged on for years, and many residents blame the Trudeau government for failing to get the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion built. The result has been a province that has grown increasingly alienated with Ottawa ahead of an election that could very well produce a Conservative sweep in Alberta. Adding to Mr. Hehr’s challenges are sexual-misconduct allegations that forced him out of cabinet last year. His main opponent is Conservative candidate Greg McLean, an investment manager.
The riding’s MP, Erin Weir, was elected as a New Democrat in 2015 but expelled from caucus last year after sexual-harassment allegations (which he denies). He briefly sat as an independent before declaring himself a member of the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation, a party that was the precursor to the NDP and hasn’t existed since the 1960s. Mr. Weir isn’t running again. The riding was created before the 2015 election, taking parts of nearby ridings that have previously flipped between the New Democrats and the Conservatives. Mr. Weir’s victory was incredibly narrow, defeating the Conservative candidate by 132 votes. This year, the NDP will be represented by Jigar Patel, a local grocery-store owner, while the Conservatives are fielding Warren Steinley, who worked in several federal ministries before taking a job in the governing provincial Saskatchewan Party’s caucus office.
Winnipeg South Centre
The riding had been reliably Liberal two decades until the Conservatives took it in 2011. Jim Carr won it back for the Liberals in 2015 and, as International Trade Minister, has become the most high-profile member of Justin Trudeau’s caucus from Manitoba. Mr. Carr’s initial victory was substantial – nearly 60 per cent, compared with 28 per cent for the Conservative incumbent – but there is growing dissatisfaction in Manitoba over the federal carbon tax, which was imposed over the objections of the provincial government this past spring. In last month’s provincial vote, which produced a decisive re-election for the Progressive Conservatives, the ridings that make up Winnipeg South Centre were split between all three major parties, including the seat held by Premier Brian Pallister.
This east Winnipeg riding mixes traditional working-class neighbourhoods with newer and more affluent suburbs, with both Indigenous and immigrant Canadians well represented. United Church minister Bill Blaikie held Elmwood-Transcona and its predecessors for the NDP for almost 30 years, finally retiring in 2008. His son, Daniel, took the riding from incumbent Conservative Lawrence Toet in 2015 by a grand total of 61 votes, the narrowest margin of victory in that general election. Mr. Blaikie and Mr. Toet, a local entrepreneur, are facing off again. The Liberals finished a strong third in 2015, and Jennifer Malabar, a former Crown attorney, hopes to leapfrog to a win.
Bob Nault, a Chrétien-era cabinet minister, returned from a decade of political retirement to run and win the Northern Ontario riding for the Liberals in a tight three-way race in 2015. Now he’s running again against two new opponents: NDP candidate Rudy Turtle, the chief of the Grassy Narrows First Nation, and Conservative candidate Eric Melillo, a 21-year-old recent graduate of Lakehead University who has worked as a political staffer. Mr. Turtle said he is running because he is frustrated by the federal government’s response to mercury poisoning in his community.
As goes Peterborough, so goes the nation. The mixed-urban-and-rural riding in Central Ontario has been the most reliable bellwether in Canada for more than 50 years: Whichever party won this seat also won government in 15 of the past 16 elections. The seat is currently represented by Liberal cabinet minister Maryam Monsef, who won in 2015 with 44 per cent of the vote (compared with 35 per cent for the Conservatives). The Conservative candidate in 2015 and again this year is local entrepreneur Michael Skinner.
Conservative Lisa Raitt, a cabinet minister under former prime minister Stephen Harper, won the riding for a third time in 2015 with 45 per cent of the vote. The Liberals were five percentage points behind then, but are hopeful they can oust Ms. Raitt this time because their candidate is Olympic gold medalist Adam van Koeverden. Liberals say they think demographic changes in the Southwestern Ontario riding, such as more urbanization, will make it easier for them to win. Conservatives say Mr. van Koeverden’s name on the ballot may indeed make the race tighter.
The Liberals won Brampton East easily in 2015 with 52 per cent of the vote compared with 24 per cent for the Conservatives and 23 per cent for the NDP. But the Liberals have a different candidate this time around. Raj Grewal, who won the seat for the Liberals in 2015, left caucus last year after admitting to a gambling problem that caused him to rack up millions of dollars in debt. Their candidate this time is Maninder Sidhu. The NDP has set its sights on the Toronto-area riding because new Leader Jagmeet Singh held the seat provincially and his brother now holds the seat at Queen’s Park. When Jagmeet Singh ran there federally in 2011, he lost by just one percentage point.
Windsor West will see a battle of the personalities between two well-known local politicians. New Democrat Brian Masse won this Southwestern Ontario riding with 51 per cent of the vote in 2015, with the Liberals placing a distant second at 25 per cent. This time, though, the Grits believe they have a candidate who will give them a fighting chance: Sandra Pupatello, a former provincial Liberal cabinet minister who ran unsuccessfully for the Ontario Liberal leadership in 2013. The Liberals believe that Ms. Pupatello’s name on the ballot puts the riding on the map for the party, but the NDP is confident it will be able to hold on given that Mr. Masse has won every federal election there since 2002.
In 2011, the NDP won eight Toronto seats, only to be swept out of Canada’s most populous city in a 2015 Liberal wave. The party’s traditional stronghold in the 416 is along the Bloor subway line and New Democrats are hoping to claw back some of those ridings this fall. The Liberals think the New Democrats are staring down long odds, but if a comeback is in the cards it will likely be in Davenport, where Andrew Cash is hoping for redemption. Mr. Cash and the New Democrats lost to Liberal Julie Dzerowicz by fewer than three percentage points, with the Conservative candidate trailing far behind. Ms. Dzerowicz is running again and the Liberals are optimistic she will be able to hold onto the seat.
Jean-Yves Duclos won the riding for the Liberals in 2015 with just 28.9 per cent of the vote, beating the NDP incumbent by 1,000 votes in a tight four-way race. A professor of economics at the time, Mr. Duclos has since increased his profile in the area as the Liberal government’s Minister of Families. Still, the Conservatives are targeting the riding as part of an effort to win all seven seats in Quebec City, up from the five they currently hold. The Conservative candidate in the riding located in the historic heart of the provincial capital is 30-year-old communications specialist Bianca Boutin.
One of Quebec’s best-known athletes, Olympic gold-medal winning synchronized swimmer Sylvie Fréchette will test whether her name recognition can help the Conservatives make a breakthrough in the Laurentians, north of Montreal. Ms. Fréchette will try to unseat Rhéal Fortin, who won the seat for the Bloc Québécois in 2015 with 32 per cent of the vote. The riding will be a test of the Bloc’s strength in Quebec after a rough patch in 2017 and 2018 in which the party made more headlines for infighting than its role in Parliament.
Can the NDP hold onto its safest seat in Quebec, located in the eastern part of Montreal? The riding is represented by one of the party’s best-known faces in Quebec, Alexandre Boulerice. In the 2015 election, Mr. Boulerice won with 49.2 per cent of the vote, with a nearly 30-percentage point lead over his Bloc Québécois and Liberal rivals. The Liberals are confident they are more competitive in the riding this time around, given their strong polling results in Montreal. The Liberal candidate is Geneviève Hinse, who was chief of staff for two ministers of health in the Trudeau government.
It is not a coincidence the Conservatives kicked off their campaign in this Quebec city, given they feel they have the right candidate (former mayor Yves Lévesque) to win the riding for the first time since it went Progressive Conservative in 1988. After being a Bloc Québécois stronghold, Trois-Rivières turned NDP in the 2011 Orange Wave. NDP MP Robert Aubin is now trying to hold on for a third mandate. The Liberals feel they have a winner in Valérie Renaud-Martin, a city councillor who Mr. Lévesque once publicly anointed as his potential successor when he was still mayor.
Along with adjacent New Brunswick Southwest, this was one of the few ridings in the Atlantic region where the race was close between the Liberals and Conservatives in 2015. Former Harper-era cabinet minister Rob Moore is hoping to take his old seat back from Liberal incumbent Alaina Lockhart, who is the first woman to be elected in the riding. It’s a historically conservative seat, sending just two Liberal MPs to Ottawa since the First World War. If Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer hopes to regain a foothold in the East, this has to be a winnable seat for the Tories.
The Liberals lost a popular six-term MP when Rodger Cuzner retired this year; they’re hoping political newcomer Mike Kelloway can hold off the Conservatives’ Alfie MacLeod, a well-known former provincial MLA for Sydney River-Mira-Louisbourg. It’s one a handful of ridings in Nova Scotia where the Conservatives approached a sitting Progressive Conservative member of the provincial legislature and persuaded them to run federally. Mr. Cuzner won by a whopping 74 per cent of the vote in 2015, his most decisive victory in a riding that has never elected a Conservative candidate.
St. John’s East
The news has not been good for the NDP in Atlantic Canada lately, with senior party executives defecting from the party and many ridings without a candidate. Jack Harris, the former MP who has been a popular figure in Newfoundland politics since the late 1980s, may be one candidate who can rise above his party’s recent troubles. Mr. Harris lost to Liberal Nick Whalen in 2015 by just 624 votes during the Grits’ sweep of the Eastern provinces. This may be one of the few bright spots in the region for the New Democrats.