A handful of votes still separate winners from losers as mail-in ballot counting continues

Justin Trudeau’s Liberals have won one more seat in Quebec, pushing them slightly ahead of the Bloc Quebecois in the province.

Brome-Missisquoi is the only one to travel so far to change hands since Monday’s preliminary election results, which did not include some 850,000 mail-in ballots.

Once election officials finished counting mail-in votes on Thursday, liberal Pascale St-Onge edged out the bloc’s Marilou Alarie by just 186 votes.

That leaves liberals leading or elected in 34 of Quebec’s 78 seats, to 33 of the Bloc, and also places them slightly ahead in terms of the popular vote.

Conservatives lead or are elected in 10 Quebec districts and the NDP in just one.

Nationally, the Brome-Missisquoi victory places the Liberals in 159 seats, although one of them was won by an unauthorized Liberal candidate, Kevin Vuong at Toronto’s Spadina-Fort York, who will now have to sit as an independent MP.

On Thursday night, Taleeb Noormohamed was declared the winner in Vancouver Granville by 436 votes over Anjali Appadurai of the NDP.

With mail-in ballot counting still continuing in three hotly contested constituencies Thursday night, the Conservatives stood at 119 seats, the NDP at 25 and the Greens at two.

However, recounts are expected in a group of closed tours, where a handful of votes separates the winner from the loser.

In most districts of Quebec, Ontario and Atlantic Canada, the count was completed Thursday afternoon, as well as the Yukon and Northwest Territories.

But across BC, where more ballots were received by mail than in any other province, election officials still counted thousands of votes.

Some results are dependent on a few votes, as mail ballot counting continues. #CdnPoli # Elxn44

As the remaining results rolled in, election experts cautioned that on some photo-finish tours, a recount will have to decide who ultimately sits in Parliament.

Experts say a count is expected in the Winnipeg area at Charleswood-St. James-Assiniboia-Headingley, where the conservative Marty Morantz beat the liberal Doug Eyolfson by just 24 votes.

Elections Canada said Thursday afternoon that the count had ended there and the results were being verified.

A judicial recount is likely to be triggered there because the margin is so small, experts said.

Quito Maggi, a pollster who runs the public opinion firm Mainstreet Research, said voters should expect recount in various districts.

“The Charleswood seat is heading for a judicial recount. I suspect that at least two or three other (candidates) will ask to go to the recount,” Maggi said.

“We realized that in this election there was a higher than expected number of close races. The turnout was very, very low as well. At least 1.2 million fewer people voted in this election than in the last election.”

An automatic judicial recount is activated if there is a tie between the two main candidates or if the difference in votes is less than one thousandth of the total votes cast.

In other close races, the loser has the option of going to court to ask for the votes to be re-counted. The NDP, Conservatives and Liberals did not say, when asked by The Canadian Press, whether they would require recounts in constituencies where they came second by a small margin of votes.

Among the short-term results is Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, where less than one percent of the vote separates liberals from conservatives. Liberal Terry Sheehan narrowly fought Tory Sonny Spina by 247 votes after the mail-in ballots were counted.

In Davenport’s Toronto race, the Liberals’ Julie Dzerowicz won by less than 200 votes, after a fierce challenge from the NDP.

The NDP snatched Edmonton Griesbach from the Tories, by a larger-than-expected margin, after a dynamic campaign by two-spirit leader Métis Blake Desjarlais.

Similarly, liberal Patrick Weiler emerged from the mail count Thursday with a nearly 2,500 vote lead over his conservative rival in BC’s West Vancouver-Sunshine Coast-Sea-to-Sky Country.

Elections Canada expected more districts to finish counting mail ballots on Thursday night. But in some with thousands of mail-in ballots, many of them in British Columbia, the count will continue on Friday.

As of Thursday night, they were still counting several BC constituencies, including Nanaimo-Ladysmith, which is the site of a fierce battle between the NDP, the Conservatives and the Greens.

In Victoria, election officials were busy counting more than 12,600 mailed ballots, the most in Canada.

The count also advanced in the islands of the Gulf of Saanich, where more than 10,700 people have chosen to vote by mail and Elizabeth May, the former leader of the Green Party, was declared the winner on Thursday.

But in Richmond Center, BC, voters held their breath as mail ballots were counted in an epic battle between rookie Wilson Miao and veteran incumbent Alice Wong.

On Thursday, Liberal Miao had a narrow lead over conservative veteran Wong, who has been the local MP since 2008.

Elections Canada said it expected to complete the count in almost all constituencies by Friday.

This report was first published by The Canadian Press on September 23, 2021.


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