Liberals return to Alberta, and 5 other surprises in the election results

It might not be surprising that an election that seemed to attract little public enthusiasm resulted in a Parliament that looks a lot like the previous one.

As results rolled in Monday night, it became clear that the Liberals would continue to have the most seats in the House of Commons, that they would not reach the 170 seats required for a majority, and that the only path to their parliamentary defeat rests in a Conservative-NDP-Bloc Quebecois team-up.

Beyond that surface-level sameness, though, there were still plenty of surprises to be found in the results of Canada's 44th general election.

THE POPULAR VOTE PARADOX

A bit of Canadian electoral history may have been made Monday night – but we may not know for sure for several days.

As of 1:30 a.m. EDT, the Conservatives had garnered 34 per cent of the popular vote, compared to 32 per cent for the Liberals.

If those numbers hold, it will be the second straight election in which the party that won the most seats in Parliament did not pick up the most votes.

While Canadian history contains a handful of examples of popular vote and seat count disagreeing, that has never before happened in consecutive elections.

We won't know for sure if it happened this time, though, until Elections Canada counts every last vote – and with plenty of mail-in ballots still to be counted, the Liberals could still pull ahead in the popular vote.

A LIBERAL PRESENCE ON THE PRAIRIES

One of the main storylines of the 2019 election results involved the Liberals' fortunes in the Prairies – or rather, their lack of fortune there, as they didn't win a single seat in Alberta or Saskatchewan.

That wasn't the case Monday night, as George Chahal put a dot of red on Alberta's electoral map by defeating Conservative incumbent Jag Sahota in Calgary Skyview.

The Liberals had previously held the riding from 2015 until 2019, when Sahota garnered more than 52 per cent of the vote.

Chahal might not be the only Liberal representative heading to Ottawa from Alberta.

As of 11:30 p.m. MDT, the rubber-match race in Edmonton Centre was considered too close to call.

Randy Boissonnault was ahead of Conservative incumbent James Cumming by a few dozen votes, with 54 per cent of polls reporting. Boissonnault defeated Cumming for the riding in 2015, and Cumming defeated Boissonnault in 2019.

CABINET MINISTERS OUSTED

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's gender-balanced cabinet lost three women.

Voters in the Nova Scotia riding of South Shore-St. Margarets declined to send Fisheries Minister Bernadette Jordan back to Ottawa. The same fate awaited Rural Economic Development Minister Maryam Monsef and Seniors Minister Deb Schulte in their Ontario ridings.

All three women were first elected in 2015. Monsef was appointed to the cabinet following that election and moved through three roles over her six years as MP. Schulte jointed cabinet in 2018, and Jordan was first appointed to the cabinet following the 2019 election.

Everyone else in Trudeau's 37-person cabinet who sought re-election will be returning to Ottawa.

GREEN VOTE DRIES UP; PPC A MINOR FACTOR

After garnering more than 6.5 per cent of the vote in 2019, the Green Party appeared to have a far smaller share of the popular vote Monday night.

For much of the night, the Greens were garnering approximately two per cent of all votes cast country-wide. Some of that is due to the party only fielding candidates in 252 ridings; its smallest slate since 2000.

Green supporters may see a silver lining in the election of Mike Morrice in Kitchener Centre, even if his path was eased by Liberal incumbent Raj Saini ending his campaign early amid accusations that he behaved inappropriately toward female staffers, which he denies.

The People's Party of Canada, meanwhile, garnered a five-per-cent share of the popular vote, but failed to mount a serious challenge in any individual riding.

People's Party Leader Maxime Bernier seemed unfazed by the results on election night, telling CTV News that he was excited by the significant increase in support for his party from 2019, when it received 1.6 per cent of the vote.

AVI LEWIS OUT; ATWIN STAYS IN

In an election short on star candidates, the prospective MP who best fit that bill may well have been Avi Lewis.

The filmmaker was running for the NDP in West Vancouver—Sunshine Coast—Sea to Sky Country, a riding that had been held by the Liberals since 2015, with the Conservatives and NDP each also occasionally competitive.

The race had not been called by CTV News as of 10:30 p.m. PDT, but Lewis was trailing well behind both Liberal incumbent Patrick Weiler and Conservative challenger John Weston.

Meanwhile, Jenica Atwin became the latest MP to cross the floor and retain the trust of her constituency. Elected under the Green banner in 2019, Atwin defected to the Liberals earlier this year, citing concerns about the party's position on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

The voters of Fredericton, N.B. appeared willing to look past Atwin's party switch, as she eked out a narrow victory over her Conservative challenger. The new Green candidate in the riding, Nicole O'Byrne, was neck-and-neck with the NDP candidate, each of whom had garnered barely one-third of Atwin's vote total.

LONG, LONG LINES TO VOTE

Pandemic-related public health measures combined with a shortage of suitable polling locations to leave some prospective voters waiting in line for hours.

At one polling station north of Toronto in the riding of King-Vaughan, the line to vote stretched as far as a nearby highway off-ramp. Police were called to provide crowd control there, as they were in Blainville, Que.

Elections Canada said that anybody who was in line when polls closed would be allowed to vote, no matter how long it took.

CTVNews.ca wants to hear from anyone who chose to leave their polling station rather than wait in a long line to vote.