Guelph has sent a Liberal to Ottawa in every election since 1993, and Election #43 was no exception. Liberal incumbent Lloyd Longfield is still the Member of Parliament for Guelph, and though he’s going back to Ottawa with a smaller Liberal government, we will have some new friends from the area.
With still four polls out of 239 left to report, Longfield breezed to an easy victory with 40.4 per cent of the vote, and a buffer of over 11,000 votes between him and his nearest competition. Longfield’s victory did come at a cost of about 9 percentage points, or 4,400 votes when compared to 2015 though.
The surprise in Guelph was the turnout for Green Party candidate Steve Dyck. While Dyck did not win the riding, he added 14 per cent to local Green support over 2015 with a 25.4 per cent finished compared to 11.3 for Gord Miller. This is the single best showing by a Federal Green candidate in Guelph ever, a place that used to be held by Mike Nagy who reached third place in 2008 with 21.15 per cent.
Coming in a distant third is Conservative candidate Dr. Ashish Sachan with 19.4 per cent. That’s a seven point tumble over Gloria Kovach in 2015, and is the worst showing for a Conservative candidate since 2000 when Progressive Conservative candidate Marie Adsett came in third place with 18.6 per cent.
NDP candidate Aisha Jahangir finished in fourth place with 12.2 per cent of the vote, which puts her on par with Andrew Seagram in 2015 who also secured 12 per cent of the vote.
People’s Party candidate Mark Paralovos broke 1,000 votes with 1,075, which was good for 1.5 per cent of the vote, and was comparable to the national share of the vote for the PPC with 1.6 per cent across Canada. The People’s Party gained no new seats in Canada, and the one seat they did have, Maxime Bernier’s Beauce riding in southern Quebec, was lost to the Conservatives 38.6 per cent to 28.4 per cent for the incumbent Bernier.
The Christian Heritage Party candidate Gordon Truscott won 0.7 per cent for 492 votes, and Communist Juanita Burnett took 0.2 per cent with 162, which was just a little bit ahead of Independent Michael Wassilyn with 0.2 per cent for 140 votes. Independent candidate Kornelis Klevering finished in last place with 0.1 per cent
Chong Holds Wellington-Halton Hills
Next door in Wellington-Halton Hills, Conservative Michael Chong sailed to an easy re-election with 47.7 per cent of the vote. It’s not Chong’s best showing (that was 63.7 per cent in 2011), but it was not his worst either (that was his first election in 2004 with 42.81 per cent). Compared to 2015, Chong lost about three per cent, but that only translated to a little over 300 votes that the candidate lost between elections.
Liberal candidate Dr. Lesley Barron was a distant second with 28.3 per cent, which was nearly eight points less than Chong’s Liberal opponent in 2015, and if you’re looking for where those votes might have gone, you need only look to the third place candidate.
Green Party candidate Ralph Martin secured 12.3 per cent of the vote, which is an eight-point improvement over the finish of the Green candidate in 2015. That candidate was Brent Allan Bouteiller, who ran in every election in Wellington-Halton Hills for the Greens until this year, and Bouteiller’s best showing was 9.84 per cent in 2008.
NDP candidate Andrew Bascombe also improved his party’s fortunes over 2015 with 9.2 per cent of the vote, which was an increase over 1,000 votes compared to Anne Gajerski-Cauley in the last election. Rounding out the Wellington-Halton Hills race was PPC candidate Syl Carle, who secured 2.2 per cent of support in the riding.
‘Round the Region
Though the Conservatives were looking to pick up at least a couple of ridings in the Waterloo Region, Liberal support there seemed to hold, and even might have turned a long-held Conservative seat in the northern part of the area.
Starting at the south end in Cambridge, Liberal Brian May will return to Ottawa with not much loss of support. He got 39.5 per cent of the vote, which was a loss of 3.5 percentage points, but in actual votes he only lost 388 total voters from 2015. Conservative candidate Sunny Attwal actually lost support when compared to the 2015 incumbent Gary Goodyear, with a 30.2 per cent finish versus 38.65 per cent in Goodyear’s last election.
Just north of Cambridge in Kitchener South-Hespler, Liberal Marwan Tabbara held on to his seat in a riding that was widely considered a toss-up by analysts. In the end, Tabbara secured over 3,500 votes to finish first over Conservative challenger Alan Keeso.
The story was the same in Kitchener Centre where Liberal Raj Saini got 36.6 per cent of the vote in a very competitive riding, but the interesting story here was the race for second. Green Party candidate Mike Morrice squeaked by Conservative Stephen Woodworth to finish second, with Morrice getting more than a thousand votes over the former MP.
Waterloo MP and cabinet minister Bardish Chagger easily secured re-election by nearly doubling the vote totals of the Conservative candidate Jerry Zhang, 30,606 votes to 15,479. Chagger came closest of all her Liberal colleagues in the area of keeping her 2015 totals, and though she lost one percentage point in terms of share of the vote, she actually gain a thousand more voters compared to 2015.
The big story of the regional election picture is the still ongoing story of Kitchener-Conestoga. As of this writing, Kitchener-Conestoga is the only riding in Canada to not be called by Elections Canada because of the very tight race there between Conservative incumbent Harold Albrecht and Liberal challenger Tim Louis.
Right now, 273 votes sit between Liberal Louis going to Ottawa with five polls yet to report. This would be a major upset for area Conservatives when you consider that Albrecht has represented Kitchener-Conestoga since 2006, and was the only area Conservative MP in the Waterloo Region to get re-elected in 2015.
Of course, that would be the second major upset in our immediate area after Lisa Raitt lost her riding in Milton last night to Adam van Koeverden. Raitt, who represented the riding of Milton since 2015, and before that the riding of Halton since 2008, only lost about 1,100 votes from 2015, but van Koeverden was able to find nearly 10,000 new Liberal voters to take a decisive victory over Raitt 51.4 per cent to 36.5. Raitt was the deputy leader of the Conservative Party and was one of the leading candidates in the 2017 leadership race.
According to Elections Canada, voter turnout was at 65.95 per cent with 17.9 million out of our 27.1 million eligible voters casting a ballot on Monday, or during early voting. That would only be a loss of about two per cent over the voter turnout in 2015, but exact numbers will not be known until Elections Canada takes into account the people that registered at polls on Election Day.
Meanwhile, those early voting numbers have been more finely tuned, and the CBC is reporting that Waterloo Region and Guelph area kept pace with the national average of increased participation during early voting this election.
On average, about 3,000 to 4,000 more people voted in 2019 versus the 2015 election according to the number crunchers at Elections Canada. Nearly 3,400 more people voted in Guelph over the Thanksgiving weekend then they did in early polls in 2015. Interestingly Wellington-Halton Hills saw 18,369 people vote early, which is not only almost 4,400 more voters than 2015, but nearly 1,400 more than voted in Guelph.
The final national numbers:
Liberals = 157 seats (33.1 per cent)
Conservatives = 121 seats (34.4 per cent)
Bloc Québécois = 32 seats (7.7 per cent)
NDP = 24 seats (15.9 per cent)
Green = 3 seats (6.5 per cent)
Independent = 1 seat (0.4 per cent)
People’s Party = 0 seats (1.6 per cent)