Edmonton

Conservative support sags as Albertans add Liberal, NDP MPs

Alberta voters have returned a cadre of Conservatives to Ottawa, along with two New Democrats and one Liberal — and one race still undecided as of early Tuesday.

NDP’s Blake Desjarlais defeats incumbent Kerry Diotte in Edmonton Griesbach

Preliminary turnout figures suggest far fewer voters in Alberta were drawn to the polls compared to 2019. With 86 per cent of Alberta polls reporting, turnout was 49 per cent, compared to 69 per cent two years ago. (Jamie McCannel/CBC)

Alberta voters have returned a cadre of Conservatives to Ottawa, along with two New Democrats and one Liberal — and one race still undecided as of early Tuesday.

The province again bucked the national trend, as Canadians elected a Liberal minority government for the second time since 2019.

But the Tories' commanding grip on Alberta eased in some parts of Edmonton and Calgary.

By early Tuesday, the NDP's Blake Desjarlais had wrestled victory from two-term Conservative MP Kerry Diotte in Edmonton Griesbach.

Neither candidate spoke publicly on election night.

And in Edmonton Centre, incumbent Conservative James Cumming, former Liberal MP Randy Boissonnault and NDP contender Heather MacKenzie were in a three-way tug of war.

"The pulse of this riding is abundantly clear," Boissonnault told reporters outside his Oliver campaign office. "It is a progressive heart of Edmonton, and let's see what happens in the coming days."

With a sliver of a lead and a handful of polls left to report, Boissonnault said it was too soon to claim victory.

Almost 3,200 special ballots, including mail-in ballots, won't be tallied until Tuesday. At 12:45 a.m., Boissonnault had a 115-vote lead over Cumming.

Boissonnault represented the riding from 2015 until 2019, when Cumming defeated him.

Cumming has not yet commented on the results.

The NDP's Heather McPherson, previously Alberta's only non-Conservative MP, handily won re-election in Edmonton Strathcona — a departure from previously tight races in the riding.

Heather McPherson heading back to Ottawa

3 months ago
2:33
NDP incumbent Heather McPherson is happy to represent Edmonton Strathcona again and calls Alberta’s health-care system in the fourth wave of COVID-19 a priority. 2:33

"I think I'm going to be going to Ottawa with some colleagues this time, which is really the best news," McPherson told reporters at her campaign office.

Both Boissonnault and McPherson said voters sent a resounding message that social supports, such as subsidized child care, affordable housing, a robust health-care system and protection for seniors and people with disabilities, be a priority.

Voters in Calgary Skyview chose Liberal George Chahal, an outgoing city councillor, over incumbent Conservative Jag Sahota.

Although CBC had the Conservatives winning 30 of the province's 34 seats, Conservative Party of Canada support dropped by 14 per cent compared to 2019, according to CBC data.

The NDP made the largest gains in the province compared to 2019, followed by the People's Party of Canada.

In Edmonton Mill Woods, incumbent Conservative Tim Uppal was re-elected by a narrower margin than in 2019, garnering 38 per cent of the vote with 197 of 200 polls reporting.

Liberal challenger and retiring city councillor Ben Henderson came second to Uppal with 34 per cent of the votes counted by early Tuesday morning.

But with more than 3,100 special ballots still to tally, Uppal was reluctant to declare himself the victor.

"We're still going to count every single ballot, because in democracy, that's what right," Uppal told cheering supporters gathered in a Mill Woods parking lot.

Most Conservatives elected in Alberta are incumbents, except Laila Goodridge, who was victorious in Fort McMurray-Cold Lake. Goodridge, a former United Conservative Party MLA, resigned her seat to run in the federal election.

More than 1.2 million Canadians requested special ballots, as many people opted to vote by mail during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Preliminary turnout figures suggest far fewer voters were drawn to the polls compared to 2019.

With 86 per cent of Alberta polls reporting, turnout was 49 per cent, compared to 69 per cent two years ago.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Janet French is a provincial affairs reporter with CBC Edmonton. She has also worked at the Edmonton Journal and Saskatoon StarPhoenix. You can reach her at janet.french@cbc.ca

With files from Natasha Riebe, Michelle Bellefontaine, Audrey Neveu and Tricia Kindleman

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