A snap election called during a global pandemic was bound to deliver intrigue. With vote splits taking on a new look due to a surging right-wing populist party courting anti-vaccine sentiment and a Green Party dogged by internal strife, some prominent incumbents fell and unheralded newbies emerged. Here is a brief look at some of the notable winners and losers from Election 2021.
Federal election winners:
Jenica Atwin, the Green Party floor-crosser who joined the Liberals just three months before the election, held a 500-vote lead with all but one poll reporting. Ms. Atwin made a major breakthrough in Atlantic Canada for the Greens in 2019 as their first elected MP from the region. But Ms. Atwin split with the party over a conflict on Israel policy.
In Kitchener Centre, the Green Party appeared to have made a long-awaited Ontario breakthrough, thanks in part to a Liberal party candidate withdrawing from the race. Liberal incumbent Raj Saini halted his campaign in early September after a series of allegations of inappropriate behaviour. He denied any wrongdoing. Although his campaign was suspended his name remained on the ballot, and Mr. Saini still received nearly one in five votes. The vote split favoured Green candidate Mike Morrice, who looked set to win with roughly 33 per cent of the vote.
Leslyn Lewis, who emerged from political obscurity to a third-place finish in the Conservative leadership campaign, won Haldimand-Norfolk for the Conservatives. The Ontario riding is a Conservative stronghold, held by former Conservative cabinet minister Diane Finley since 2004, who announced her resignation in May. Dr. Lewis, a practising lawyer, ran for her party’s leadership in 2020 on a socially conservative platform, raising more than $2-million.
Federal election losers:
Liberal fisheries minister Bernadette Jordan, who was handed a contentious file during the recent disputes over the First Nations lobster fishery, lost her Nova Scotia riding Monday night. She was defeated by Conservative candidate Rick Perkins.
Maryam Monsef, the first Afghan-Canadian MP who served in cabinet as minister of women and gender equality and rural economic development, lost her seat in Peterborough-Kawartha. Ms. Monsef was criticized by her opponents during the campaign for her appeal to the Taliban, whom she referred to as “brothers,” to allow refugees safe passage out of the country. She trailed Conservative Michelle Ferreri by more than 3,000 votes.
The NDP lost its sole seat in Atlantic Canada. Jack Harris had been in a mainstay in St. John’s East, holding the riding on and off from 1987 until is retirement this year. His successor, Mary Shortall, fell to Liberal Joanne Thompson.
For the second election in a row, People’s Party of Canada leader Maxime Bernier failed to win his riding of Beauce, which he held as a Conservative from 2006 until resigning from the party in 2018 following a leadership loss to Andrew Scheer. He was projected to finish a distant second in the riding to Conservative incumbent Richard Lehoux. Throughout the campaign, Mr. Bernier courted anti-vaccine sentiments during rallies across the country that often ran afoul of public health restrictions. He failed to parlay that interest into a single seat, attracting around 5 per cent support nationally, up from 2 per cent in 2019.
Annamie Paul was always facing long odds of winning her own riding, Toronto Centre, but the degree of defeat had to sting. As of Tuesday morning, she was sitting at fourth place with just 8 per cent of the vote, compared to 50 per cent for Liberal incumbent Marci Ien. She spent much of the year fending off a party revolt that led to the defection of Fredericton MP Jenica Atwin to the Liberals. Nationwide, Green support dropped to around 2.2 per cent from 7 per cent in 2019.
Avi Lewis made national headlines when he announced his NDP candidacy for West Vancouver–Sunshine Coast–Sea to Sky Country earlier this year. The broadcaster, son of former Ontario NDP leader Stephen Lewis and husband of author Naomi Klein earned endorsements from the likes of David Suzuki and Jane Fonda. The progressive pedigree and star support wasn’t enough. As of Tuesday morning he was sitting in third place, behind Liberal incumbent Patrick Weiler and Conservative John Weston.
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