Good afternoon! Today marks the end of a seventy-eight day campaign in Canada to determine who will govern the United States’ most important neighbor for the next few years. We’ve been following the campaign from a distance for the last few weeks, and tonight we’ll be sharing impressions with you as the results come in.
This is a nationwide election, in which several parties are competing for spots in Canada’s federal House of Commons: Stephen Harper and the Conservatives, Justin Trudeau and the Liberals, and Tom Mulcair and the New Democrats (NDP).
There are three hundred and thirty-eight seats up for grabs.
The Conservatives, or the Tories, are the biggest right wing party in Canada and the NDP are the largest progressive party. The Liberals are a partially progressive party that agrees with the Conservatives on some issues and the NDP on others.
In the last election, the Conservatives won a majority, while the NDP displaced the Liberals to become the Queen’s loyal opposition for the first time in Canadian history. The eviscerated Liberals have since chosen a new leader, Justin Trudeau, who has waged an impressive campaign and is ahead in preelection polling.
However, if Trudeau and the Liberals do not win a majority of seats tonight, Trudeau will need to team up with the NDP to form a new government and bring Stephen Harper’s tenure as Prime Minister to an end. Such an arrangement is known as a minority government, and is not uncommon in parliamentary democracies.
We’ve got CBC (the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation) on and are watching their coverage. If you’d like to do likewise, go here to launch one of the livestreams.
As the afternoon stretches on and turns into evening, we’ll post reflections on what we’re seeing. Feel free to leave a comment and ask a question, or share a thought.
UPDATE, 4:24 PM: Early results from Newfoundland and Labrador look good for the Liberals. They are ahead in five ridings (a riding is the Canadian equivalent of a U.S. congressional district).
UPDATE, 4:32 PM: The Liberals certainly are doing very well in the early results. CBC reports that the Liberals have won in three ridings in Atlantic Canada; they lead in three more. Something for Trudeau & Co. to feel good about.
UPDATE, 4:33 PM: Polls have now closed in Prince Edward Island, New Brunswick, and Nova Scotia. Fresh results due in soon.
UPDATE, 4:34 PM: The CBC has put the NDP up on the board; they’re ahead in one riding. This is Jack Harris in St. John’s‑East.
UPDATE, 4:39 PM: CBC is now talking about the riding of Sydney-Victoria, where Liberal Mark Eyking leads. Despite what you might be tempted to think, this riding is in Atlantic Canada, not British Columbia. As many Washingtonians know, two of the largest cities on Vancouver Island are Sidney, the only foreign port of call for Washington State Ferries, and Victoria, the capital of British Columbia.
UPDATE, 4:40 PM: The Conservatives just got on the board; they lead in one riding. Current score: Liberals 7, Conservatives 1, NDP 1. Remember, these are all Atlantic Canada ridings, “where they tend to vote red”, as a CBC correspondent noted. (Red is the color of the Liberals).
UPDATE, 4:43 PM: More than seventy percent of the vote in Atlantic Canada has gone Liberal so far, the CBC reports.
UPDATE, 4:45 PM: The Liberals are now ahead in 12 ridings. Conservatives and NDP still only lead in 1 each. The Liberals are running ahead in at least two ridings held by the NDP and the Cons.
UPDATE, 4:48 PM: The vote change in Atlantic Canada is stark. The Liberals are up 40.3% (for a total of 69.7%). They’re pulling support away from the Conservatives (-23%) and the NDP (-17%).
UPDATE, 4:54 PM: Liberals now running ahead in 21 ridings. NDP and Conservatives still have just 1 each. The Liberals look incredibly dominant in the maritime provinces.
UPDATE, 5:01 PM: Updated score: Liberals ahead in 26 ridings, Conservatives in 2, NDP 1. Still early, but it’s sure looking like a rout for the Liberals. 309 ridings to come.
UPDATE, 5:11 PM: It just gets better for the Liberals. They’re ahead in thirty ridings now! Current score: Liberals 30, Conservatives 1, NDP 1.
UPDATE, 5:17 PM: WHOA! The Liberals are now leading in thirty-two out of thirty-two ridings in Atlantic Canada. This is just remarkable. It’s a red wave.
Here’s a CBC screenshot showing the significant swing in Atlantic Canada:
UPDATE, 5:19 PM: “In all my years, I’ve never seen a region of the country painted in one color like this,” says CBC anchor Peter Mansbridge.
UPDATE, 5:25 PM: The Conservatives have retaken the lead in one riding. Fifteen races have been called at this juncture.
UPDATE, 5:45 PM: The Liberals now lead in thirty-three ridings — including one in Quebec. The Conservatives have been trading the lead with the Liberals in one key riding, but the Liberals have it at the moment. The NDP is in big, big trouble… it looks like their six seats are gone. Among the NDP casualties could be young progressive Megan Leslie, considered to be a rising star in the NDP.
UPDATE, 5:49 PM: The CBC projects that Megan Leslie, one of the most popular members of the New Democratic Party caucus, has been defeated.
UPDATE, 6:06 PM: CBC taking note of veteran NDP MP Peter Stoffer’s loss in Sackville-Reston-Chezzetcook, a riding he has held since 1997.
UPDATE, 6:28 PM: Fresh results from Quebec are due very soon. In the meantime, the Liberals are still sweeping Atlantic Canada. If the Liberals do well in Quebec and Ontario, it could be all over before we get to British Columbia.
UPDATE, 6:32 PM: Results in two hundred more ridings, from Quebec to Alberta, are now about to be counted. Here comes the big wave.
UPDATE, 6:33 PM: The Conservatives are finally back on the board. They’re ahead in four ridings now. Liberals still sweeping Atlantic Canada.
UPDATE, 6:36 PM: Stephen Harper described on CBC as “the most unpopular popular Prime Minister ever” among le Québécois.
UPDATE, 6:37 PM: “Numbers tumbling in quickly now,” CBC says. Current score: Liberals 42, Conservatives 6, NDP 1.
UPDATE, 6:39 PM: Liberals now up to fifty leading and elected. Conservatives have eleven and NDP have two.
UPDATE, 6:42 PM: We have a projection! CBC projects that the Liberals will form the next government and Justin Trudeau will be the next Prime Minister of Canada.
UPDATE, 6:43 PM: Big moment for the Liberals and Justin Trudeau.
UPDATE, 6:44 PM: Justin Trudeau is expected be sworn in as Canada’s next Prime Minister within two weeks. Stephen Harper has been defeated!
UPDATE, 6:50 PM: Fresh score: Liberals 75, Conservatives 37, NDP 10, Bloc Québécois 1
UPDATE, 6:55 PM: Liberals closing in on one hundred seats. They lead or have won 98. Conservatives have 61, NDP 12, Bloc 1.
UPDATE, 6:56 PM: Liberals notch 100. Conservatives at 63. NDP 12. Bloc 1.
UPDATE, 6:59 PM: The Liberals seem to be doing reasonably well in the Toronto area. They lead or have won in 119 ridings. Conservatives ahead in 67. NDP ahead in 13. The Bloc has 2 ridings.
UPDATE, 7:00 PM: Polls are about to close in British Columbia.
UPDATE, 7:05 PM: Liberals appear to be cruising towards a majority. They lead in 141 ridings. Conservatives ahead in 88, NDP 21, Bloc 4.
UPDATE, 7:06 PM: It’s worth remembering that in 2011 the Liberals got eviscerated. They went down to under forty seats. Right now, they lead in one hundred and fifty ridings. A stunning comeback.
UPDATE, 7:07 PM: The NDP is not doing well at all tonight.
UPDATE, 7:08 PM: Thomas Mulcair is trailing in his own riding of Outremont, but hardly any votes have been counted.
UPDATE, 7:09 PM: Results are trickling in from British Columbia now.
UPDATE, 7:11 PM: One hundred and seventy seats are needed for a majority. At present… Liberals have 156, Conservatives 93, NDP 25, and the Bloc 8.
UPDATE, 7:16 PM: This is incredible. Liberals 167, Conservatives 95, NDP 24, Bloc 6.
UPDATE, 7:18 PM: Liberals reach the pinnacle of 170. They’re leading in a majority of the country’s ridings!
UPDATE, 7:22 PM: CBC isn’t quite ready to project a majority Liberal government, but if the current trend holds, that’s what Canada will end up. A victory of historic proportions for Justin Trudeau. Liberal strategists say he has outdone even his father’s victory from deacdes ago.
UPDATE, 7:23 PM: The latest… Liberals: 177, Conservatives 95, NDP 23, Bloc 9.
UPDATE, 7:24 PM: Giggling heard on CBC set as Peter Mansbridge looks at ridings with ridiculously low numbers of votes counted. CBC currently looking at the riding of Delta, which the Liberals have a lead in.
UPDATE, 7:35 PM: CBC airs Olivia Chow’s concession speech. She is the wife of former NDP leader Jack Layton, who died shortly after his victory four years ago in the 2011 election. She was running as part of the NDP’s slate.
UPDATE, 7:40 PM: Big moment: CBC projects a Liberal majority government. Future Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will have a solid mandate to govern Canada.
UPDATE, 7:42 PM: “There’s no precedent for this election…. no precedent for what the Liberals have done,” says a CBC analyst. Liberals ahead in 179 ridings, Conservatives 101, NDP 33, Bloc 10, Green 1.
UPDATE, 7:43 PM: Overheard on CBC: “Terrible result for the Conservatives… Not a good night for the pollsters.”
UPDATE, 8:01 PM: The Liberals show no sign of relinquishing strength. They lead in 186 ridings. Conservatives ahead in 104. NDP winning 36. The Bloc has 10. Green Party 1 (Elizabeth May’s riding).
UPDATE, 8:09 PM: The Liberals have really outperformed expectations tonight. The Globe and Mail notes: “Before the results started streaming in, The Globe’s election forecast, based on recent polls and historical data, said there was an 81-per-cent chance the Liberals would get the most seats, but only an 18-per-cent chance of a Liberal majority.”
UPDATE, 8:16 PM: So much for this being the closest election in Canada’s history…
UPDATE, 8:22 PM: Liberals now leading in 191 ridings. This is something else. Conservatives ahead in 104, NDP in 32, Bloc in 10, Green in 1.
UPDATE, 8:34 PM: Tom Mulcair giving his concession speech. He’s speaking in both English and French. He congratulated Trudeau on an “exceptional” victory.
UPDATE, 8:36 PM: Mulcair thanks all of the candidates who campaigned under the NDP banner. “We ran in this election with the most women and with the most indigenous candidates,” Mulcair notes. “This is something that makes me immensely proud.”
UPDATE, 8:38 PM: Mulcair says the NDP will always be “a real choice” for the people of Quebec.
UPDATE, 8:39 PM: Mulcair ends concession speech without saying what his future plans are after speaking to a rather subdued crowd at NDP headquarters.
UPDATE, 8:48 PM: Stephen Harper expected to concede in a couple minutes.
UPDATE, 8:52 PM: Here comes Harper…
UPDATE, 8:57 PM: “It has been an unbelievable honor to serve as your Prime Minister,” Harper says. “We gave everything we have to give and we have no regrets whatsoever… We remain citizens of the best country on Earth.”
UPDATE, 8:57 PM: “The people of Canada have elected a Liberal government, a result we accept,” Harper says. He acknowledges having phoned Justin Trudeau. “I have assured him of my full cooperation for the transition in the coming days.”
UPDATE, 9:00 PM: “Tonight, friends, we have been able to elect a strong Official Opposition to the Parliament of Canada,” Harper says, adding, “The disappointment you also feel is my responsibility, and mine alone.”
UPDATE, 9:02 PM: Harper ends speech without discussing his future in politics.
UPDATE, 9:03 PM: CBC is reading a statement from Conservative party officials, in which it is revealed that Harper has left instruction for the appointment of an interim Conservative party leader.
UPDATE, 9:14 PM: “This is what positive politics can do,” Justin Trudeau says triumphantly as he begins his victory speech.
UPDATE, 9:14 PM: Trudeau says Canadians from all over have sent a strong, emphatic message of change.
UPDATE, 9:16 PM: Trudeau thanks his wife and children, saying he and his family are embarking on a new adventure together. “Dad will be there for you,” he says fondly.
UPDATE, 9:17 PM: Trudeau thanks his constituents for sending him to Parliament.
UPDATE, 9:19 PM: Trudeau salutes “the incredible volunteers who made tonight happen”.
UPDATE, 9:20 PM: “We thank him for his service,” Trudeau says of Stephen Harper.
UPDATE, 9:21 PM: “Conservatives are not our enemies, they are our neighbors,” Trudeau says. “Leadership is about bringing people of all different perspectives together.”
UPDATE, 9:22 PM: Speaking in French, Trudeau pays tribute to Thomas Mulcair and congratulates him for running a vigorous campaign, right up until the very end.
UPDATE, 9:23 PM: “We won this election because we listened,” Trudeau says, telling supporters, “You built this platform, you built this movement. You told us what kind of government you want.”
UPDATE, 9:26 PM: “You will be at the heart of this new government,” Trudeau says to cheering Liberal supporters.
UPDATE, 9:27 PM: “I know that I am on stage tonight for one reason and one reason only: Because you put me here,” Trudeau says. “And you gave me clear marching orders.”
UPDATE, 9:30 PM: “I will be the Prime Minister of all Canadians,” Trudeau says in French. “We will form a government of integrity that respects institutions and will make collaboration with the provinces [a priority].”
UPDATE, 9:32 PM: Trudeau pledges to listen to all three hundred and thirty-seven other members of Parliament chosen by Canadian voters.
UPDATE, 9:35 PM: “We know that our enviable, inclusive society didn’t happen by accident,” Trudeau says. “Have faith in your fellow citizens, my friends.”
UPDATE, 9:36 PM: “My friends, we beat fear with hope. We beat cynicism with hard work. We beat negative, divisive politics with a positive vision that brings Canadians together”, Trudeau says. “Most of all, we defeated the idea that Canadians should be satisfied with less.”
UPDATE, 9:37 PM: Trudeau finishes his speech with a flourish and is joined by his wife on stage. They are all smiles and supporters are simply euphoric.
UPDATE, 9:38 PM: Current standings: Liberals 184, Conservatives 101, NDP 42, Bloc 10, Green 1.
UPDATE, 9:43 PM: That certainly was a strong speech by Justin Trudeau. He will take office in about ten days. Transitions in Canada happen pretty quickly.
UPDATE, 9:44 PM: Wonder if we’ll get a readout from the White House tomorrow of a call between Obama and Trudeau. In all likelihood, President Obama will be calling Trudeau tomorrow morning to offer his congratulations and to discuss next steps.
UPDATE, 10:02 PM: Well, that’s it for our live coverage tonight. Thanks for following along.