Bloc Québécois wins one tight race, Liberals take another

Quebec voters in several different ridings still don’t know who will be representing them in the next federal mandate as thousands of votes are still uncounted and the separation between leading candidates is hair thin.

Counting continues in other close races, mail-in ballots mean some ridings may have to wait until Friday

Bloc Québécois candidate René Villemure finished 93 votes ahead of Conservative Yves Lévesque in Trois-Rivières as the counting ended Wednesday afternoon. (Graham Hughes/The Canadian Press)

Almost two days after the federal election, the Quebec riding of Trois-Rivières has finally declared a winner.

Bloc Québécois candidate René Villemure finished 93 votes ahead of Conservative Yves Lévesque in Trois-Rivières as the counting ended Wednesday afternoon.

Trois-Rivières has generally voted Bloc since 1993, but got caught up in the so-called NDP "orange wave" of 2011 and continued to support the New Democratic Party in 2015. Louise Charbonneau won the seat back for the Bloc in 2019 but opted out of running again this election.

The Bloc was at first declared winner in Châteauguay—Lacolle, but after a recount, Patrick O'Hara ultimately lost to Liberal incumbent Brenda Shanahan by 12 votes. Her victory was announced on Oct. 6.

In Longueuil-Saint-Hubert, it was announced late Wednesday that the Bloc's Denis Trudel beat Liberal Florence Gagnon.

That gives the Bloc 33 seats in the House of Commons.

In the riding of Brome-Mississquoi, the counting continued until a winner was announced Thursday evening. 

Liberal candidate Pascale St-Onge won with 186 votes more than Bloc Québécois candidate Marilou Alarie.

Mail-in ballots are slowing count

So, what's taking so long? Elections Canada says there were still 850,000 postal votes uncounted after Monday night Canada-wide. 

The agency expects the results to be tallied by the end of Wednesday but it has warned that some ridings may have to wait until Friday for a winner.

In some constituencies, verifying mail-in ballots took all day Tuesday, before counting could start, a spokesman for Elections Canada said.

Mail ballots have to be carefully checked to ensure they have been signed and that people have not already voted in person, or sent in more than one ballot by post.

Matthew McKenna, a spokesman for Elections Canada, said verifying huge numbers of ballots delayed counting in some areas.

"The counting of local ballots will take place throughout the day — local offices also had to do verifications of special ballots, and for many, that took all day yesterday, and may still be going,'' he said Wednesday. 

"We do expect the vast majority to be counted by the end of the day.''

with files from The Canadian Press