Federal election latest updates: Conservatives, NDP try to win seats from Liberals in Atlantic Canada

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Polls have closed in Quebec and Ontario, where the results have the potential of determining who will be headed into the prime minister’s office.

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  • Liberals leading overall in Atlantic Canada, but Conservatives in position to potentially pick up seats
  • Polls closed in 262 more ridings from Quebec to the Rockies at 9:30 p.m. ET.

Polls have closed in Quebec and Ontario, where the results have the potential of determining who will be headed into the prime minister’s office.

Polls from Quebec to the Rockies closed at 9:30 p.m. ET, with results rolling in after that. So far, the Liberals are leading but the Conservatives are enjoying a strong showing in Atlantic Canada.

Here’s what to watch for in Quebec and the Greater Toronto Area:

The Bloc’s big goals

The Bloc Québécois has enjoyed a bump in popularity after a slow start in the campaign, further tightening a close race in Quebec.

The Bloc is now polling close to its 2019 numbers, when it experienced a dramatic comeback under leader Yves-François Blanchet. The Bloc won 32 seats after being reduced to 10 in the previous election. Blanchet had set a new target early — 40 seats — but that message softened as the campaign went on.

Bloc Québécois Leader Yves-François Blanchet, left, tours the Lion Electric bus and truck plant while campaigning on Thursday in St.-Jerome, Que. (Ryan Remiorz/The Canadian Press)

Meanwhile, the NDP went from 16 seats to one in Quebec in 2019, just eight years after the party won 59 seats in the province during the so-called orange wave. Analysts say whatever goals the NDP and Conservatives had of making gains in Quebec are now harder to reach because of the Bloc, which is once again positioned as the Liberals’ main opponent in several close races. 

There are, for example, two or three races between the Liberals, Bloc and Conservatives, and about 15 races between the Liberals and the Bloc. 

Quebec has 33 fewer seats than Ontario in the House of Commons, but it’s a tough battleground that can help determine the difference between a minority and majority government. Polling experts say Quebecers can expect some surprises tonight.

Erin O’Toole calls the GTA home, but how much of it can Conservatives win?

In the Greater Toronto Area, all eyes will be on a series of tight races in both Toronto’s core and the 905 area code suburbs. 

For the past two elections, the GTA has been, for the most part, deeply Liberal, but data at the riding level suggests there could be upsets in store on Monday night and that could have huge ramifications on who forms government.

The region, which sends more MPs to Ottawa than Manitoba and Saskatchewan combined, is “a critical part of any winning formula for any of the parties,” said Jaskaran Sandhu, a political strategist at State, a public affairs and public relations agency based in the region.

Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau bumps elbows with Newfoundland and Labrador Premier Andrew Furey earlier this summer. Furey is making no apologies for endorsing the federal Liberals despite criticism from the provincial opposition. (Andrew Vaughan/The Canadian Press)

In downtown Toronto, NDP candidates in ridings such as Davenport and Parkdale-High Park are hoping to harness the support built by their party prior to the Liberal sweep in 2015. 

Meanwhile, the Conservative Party is hoping to break through in suburban GTA ridings such as Oakville and Richmond Hill, where frustration with Justin Trudeau’s decision to call an election might give the Tories the edge they need — provided that vote splitting on the right with the People’s Party doesn’t blunt their chances.

Liberals keep large lead, but Conservatives gain in Atlantic Canada

In Atlantic Canada, the Liberals kept their large lead in the region, but the Conservatives picked up seats, providing positives to take away for both parties.

The Liberals were down three seats, from 26, with votes still being counted.

The Conservatives were leading in nine, up from four. 

In Nova Scotia, Liberal handling of the moderate livelihood fishery, which saw violence and vandalism erupt in the southwestern part of the province last year, appears to have cost the party its first cabinet minister. Bernadette Jordan, who was the fisheries minister from the riding of South Shore-St. Margarets, lost to Conservative Rick Perkins.

In Newfoundland, CBC News is projecting five Liberal candidates so far will be re-elected, marking the first seats won by any party in the 2021 federal election.

CBC News is projecting all four ridings on P.E.I. will be held by the Liberals. 

And in New Brunswick, the Liberals were projected to win five ridings and the Conservatives three.

The Greens and the NDP have been shut out so far.

A long night?

This could be the start of a long process.

The COVID-19 pandemic has led many to vote by special ballot (1,267,014 ballots have been mailed out and 951,039 returned as of Monday, according to Elections Canada). That means it could take a while before you know who won and lost, especially in ridings where polling conducted during the 36-day campaign suggests the margin is razor thin.

However, Elections Canada told CBC News soon after those polls closed that it expects close to 95 per cent of those ballots to be counted tonight.

You can find full up-to-the-minute results here

Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole would love to see Nova Scotia ridings turn blue on Monday night, just like many did in the recent provincial election. (Frank Gunn/The Canadian Press)

When will we know the results?

There’s a real chance you’ll go to bed tonight without knowing who won the election.

But you might.

In-person voting at advance polls was way up from 2019, with approximately 5,780,000 votes being cast from Sept. 10-13, according to Elections Canada. 

Also, we’ll see whether there’s a good turnout on election day. What counts as good? Nearly 66 per cent of total eligible voters cast a ballot in 2019, just down from 68.5 per cent in 2015.

In-person ballots can be counted as soon as the polls close (here are the official poll closing times in local time in case you can still dash out to vote), while those special ballots won’t be counted until Tuesday. 

Our decision desk will keep working until we have answers for you. Send coffee. 

What’s happening at polling stations?

If you’re reading this at a polling station, don’t worry about not being able to cast your ballot. Elections Canada says anyone in line when a station is supposed to close will still be allowed to vote. 

Some Canadian voters waited outside in long lines on Monday while Elections Canada apologized for a technical problem with an application on its website that tells people where they can vote.

Many posted on social media that they were receiving an error while trying to use the voter information service page. They said the error stated: “We were unable to find your voting location. Please call the office of the returning officer for assistance.”

The problem has been fixed.

People line up outside a polling station in the Spadina-Fort York riding in Toronto on Monday. (Mark Blinch/Reuters)

In Toronto, which has significantly fewer polling stations than in previous years, many stood outside in long lines before casting their ballots. In the city’s downtown core, one line wrapped around an entire city block as people waited to vote in the Spadina–Fort York riding. Once inside, however, many told CBC News the process went smoothly.

In Montreal, an accident caused some minor injuries, a police spokesperson said, after a woman lost control of her vehicle and hit people near a polling station in Montreal’s West Island. Const. Caroline Chèvrefils could not provide more details about the driver or the condition of the victims.

NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh spent part of his childhood in St. John’s. Now, he’s hoping his party can hang on win at least one seat in the city. (Evan Mitsui/CBC)

The magic number: 170

If you need a refresher on how this whole election thing works, Canada has 338 federal ridings, most located in densely populated parts (think: the Greater Toronto Area).

To win a majority government, a party needs to win 170 seats or more. The Liberals triggered the election holding 155, but would need a strong showing to win back the majority the party lost in 2019. 

The Conservatives currently held 119 seats prior to the election.

  • You can find full up-to-the-minute results here

Party that wins most seats won’t always govern

There’s one wrinkle here.

As CBC’s Aaron Wherry explained in 2019, a party could win the most seats in the election, but that doesn’t mean its leader will be prime minister — the same holds true today.

Justin Trudeau, as the incumbent prime minister, has the authority to recall Parliament, present a speech from the throne and seek to win the confidence of the House of Commons. With the support of other parties, he could continue as prime minister even if a rival party has more seats than his. 

Of course, if a rival party wins a majority that scenario is out the window. 

Green Party Leader Annamie Paul, pictured here in Toronto’s Regent Park, will have to break the Liberal hold on Toronto Centre if she wants to represent her party in the House of Commons. (Evan Mitsui/CBC)

People’s Party of Canada Leader Maxime Bernier takes part in a campaign stop, in Toronto, on Thursday. (Evan Mitsui/CBC)

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