Federal election: NDP nabs a second seat in Edmonton; Liberals’ best shot remains too close to call

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Federal election: NDP nabs a second seat in Edmonton; Liberals’ best shot remains too close to call

Author of the article:

Ashley Joannou

Pedestrians make their way past Edmonton Centre Liberal candidate Randy Boissonnault's campaign office, Monday Sept. 20, 2021. Photo by David Bloom
Pedestrians make their way past Edmonton Centre Liberal candidate Randy Boissonnault’s campaign office, Monday Sept. 20, 2021. Photo by David Bloom Photo by David Bloom David Bloom /David Bloom/Postmedia

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The federal NDP doubled its presence in Edmonton – and Alberta – after winning two seats in the region in Monday’s election.

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While the province remains a Conservative stronghold, NDP MP Heather McPherson was re-elected in Edmonton Strathcona and newcomer Blake Desjarlais nabbed Edmonton Griesbach.

After the last federal election saw the Conservatives win all but one of Alberta’s 34 ridings, the Liberals’ best shot at a seat in Edmonton this go-around remained too close to call late Monday.

McPherson, the sole non-Conservative elected in Alberta in the 2019 federal election, said Monday that this election was an unnecessary one, with Canadians voting in another Liberal minority government.

She said her main concern now that she has been re-elected is the “collapsing health-care system” in Alberta. 

“There shouldn’t be a higher priority for any parliamentarian from Alberta,” she said.

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“Right now, in Alberta, we are suffering the ill effects of (Premier) Jason Kenney, and the terrible reality of the fourth wave and what it has done to our health-care system and so the federal government will need to step in and help and I will be doing everything I can to make sure that happens.”

The NDP put a significant amount of time and resources during the campaign into Edmonton Griesbach, hoping Desjarlais could unseat long-time Conservative incumbent Kerry Diotte.

Federal NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh came to the riding twice during the election campaign and polling in the lead-up to the election showed that it was going to be a tight race.

With no incumbent MPs in Alberta, the Liberals have nowhere to go but up in this election.

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In the Edmonton region, Liberal candidate Randy Boissonnault was fighting to regain the seat he lost to Conservative James Cumming in Edmonton Centre in 2019. The two men traded the lead back and forth through much of the early evening. By later that night NDP candidate Heather MacKenzie had also earned a significant portion of the vote making the riding a close three-way race.

By press time Monday it remained too close to call.

Across Canada, hundreds of thousands of mail-in ballots are slated to be counted on Tuesday.

Reached by phone Monday night, MacKenzie said she was feeling good.

“I think we all knew it was going to be a tight race here in Edmonton Centre so the results are obviously to that effect,” she said.

“My volunteers and I kind of saw it coming so we’ve been gearing up for it.”

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Despite the close race, MacKenzie said they wouldn’t make any decisions on calling for a recount of votes until all the special ballots have been counted.

Another race that was expected to be close was Edmonton Mill Woods, where in 2019 Conservative Tim Uppal upset former Liberal cabinet minister Amarjeet Sohi. In the end, Liberal candidate Ben Henderson was not able to unseat Uppal who will be returning to Ottawa for his second-consecutive term. Sohi is running for mayor of Edmonton in October’s municipal election.

Conservative MPs were also declared elected in the rest of the ridings in the Edmonton region.

Election day came as Alberta battles a fourth wave of the COVID-19 pandemic that has put significant pressure on the health-care system. Political-watchers have questioned whether Kenney’s low approval ratings would have an impact on the federal election result.

Throughout the campaign, both Singh, and Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau frequently mentioned Kenney in efforts to link him to Conservatives generally and Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole specifically.

– With files from Anna Junker

ajoannou@postmedia.com

twitter.com/ashleyjoannou

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