Politics

Meet the class of 2019: Notable rookies headed to Parliament Hill

Canada’s new Parliament will look a lot different when it reconvenes after this 43rd general election.
Liberal Adam Van Koeverden, New Democrat Mumilaaq Qaqqaq and Liberal Lenore Zann. (Canadian Press/CBC News)

Canada's new Parliament will look a lot different when it reconvenes after this 43rd general election.

While some high-profile candidates for each of the main parties failed to secure their seats — including veteran politicians like Lisa Raitt and Ralph Goodale — some notable rookies will soon be sitting on the government and opposition benches.

And after two Liberal ministers went down to defeat last night, some of these Liberal names may be in the running for a spot around Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's cabinet table.

Fresh faces in the Liberal Party

The Liberals dropped seats in this campaign, a result that left the Liberal contingent weakened but still with a strong minority government.

A bright spot for Liberal fortunes was Quebec. Steven Guilbeault — a household name in that province, where he is known for his environmental work and ardent opposition to pipelines — won in Laurier-Sainte-Marie, a previously NDP-held riding in Montreal's east end.

The federal Conservatives criticized Trudeau for recruiting Guilbeault, saying it revealed Trudeau's "true colours" with respect to the country's natural resources sector.

Justin Trudeau officially introduces Steven Guilbeault as the Liberal Party of Canada's candidate in the Montreal riding of Laurier-Sainte-Marie. (Graham Hughes/The Canadian Press)

While Trudeau has said Guilbeault will not dictate the environmental policies of the federal Liberal Party, you can expect this high-profile candidate to play a prominent role in shaping the government's response to climate change after Trudeau promised to go further and faster in the fight against global warming.

The Liberal brand also proved resilient in Nova Scotia. Incumbent Liberal MPs like Sean Fraser in Central Nova and Bernadette Jordan in South Short-St. Margarets, two traditionally Tory seats, easily held off their Conservative contenders.

Four new faces from that province will represent the Liberal Party in the Commons — including Lenore Zann from Cumberland-Colchester, an actress with a list of credits dating back to 1980.

She ran for and lost the Nova Scotia NDP leadership but served as a member of that caucus for more than a decade before she left the party to fly the federal Liberal flag in rural Nova Scotia.

Liberal Lenore Zann is a former New Democrat and an actress with a long list of credits. (Andrew Vaughan/The Canadian Press)

She narrowly beat Scott Armstrong, a former Conservative MP who was trying to retake the seat after Conservative-turned-Liberal MP Bill Casey retired. She might be rewarded for making the leap to the Liberals in an area that traditionally returns Conservatives.

In Ontario, Olympian Adam van Koeverden handily beat Raitt by some 8,600 votes, or nearly 15 per cent of the vote.

The gold medal-winning former Olympic flag bearer enters the political sphere with almost universal name recognition. The Liberals targeted his Milton riding — a fast-growing part of the western Greater Toronto Area that has seen massive demographic change in recent years — and those efforts paid off.

Liberal Adam van Koeverden defeated former Conservative cabinet minister Lisa Raitt in Milton, Ont. (Cole Burston/Canadian Press)

Van Koeverden received a lot of support from the Liberal Party brain trust throughout the election, with Gerry Butts — the prime minister's top adviser — sending many encouraging tweets during the campaign. To hold such a seat in future elections, and to capitalize on his relative star power, van Koeverden could be tapped for a high-profile public-facing role in Parliament.

Two former cabinet ministers in the last provincial Liberal government — Helena Jaczek in Markham-Stouffville and Marie-France Lalonde in Orléans — could also prove useful to a government that lost some of its bench strength. The current Liberal caucus is light on politicians with ministerial experience.

Jaczek, a former provincial health minister, easily beat former Liberal minister turned independent candidate Jane Philpott. Lalonde was a community safety minister in former premier Kathleen Wynne's government.

Conservative ascendancy in Alberta

The Conservative Party cemented its hold on Western Canada in Monday's election.

Scheer capitalized on deep distrust for the federal Liberal government after it enacted controversial policies like a northern B.C. oil tanker ban and a new environmental assessment regime that some have dubbed the "no more pipelines" bill.

While the Trudeau cabinet approved Trans Mountain and purchased it to save it from being cancelled, it also denied the necessary approvals for the Northern Gateway project.

The Tories easily beat the Liberal candidates running in Alberta. In 2015, the Liberal Party had 25 per cent of the popular vote and won four seats. This time, the Liberals were reduced to just 13 per cent of the province's vote and were shut out of all seats.

In Saskatchewan, the Liberals faced equally embarrassing numbers. The Tories secured more than 65 per cent of the vote and won seats the Liberals had targeted at the outset — like Desnethé-Missinippi-Churchill River, a seat with many Indigenous electors.

One new face from Scheer's home province is Corey Tochor, who is the new Conservative MP for Saskatoon-University.

Tochor, like Scheer, is used to wearing a tricorne hat. He served as Speaker in Saskatchewan's legislature before resigning to run federally. Another former Saskatchewan Party member of the Legislative Assembly, Warren Steinley, took the Regina-Lewvan seat back from the NDP.

Corey Tochor, the new Conservative MP for Saskatoon-University, served as Speaker of Saskatchewan's legislative assembly. (CBC)

One rookie around the Conservative Alberta caucus table is Jag Sahota. A former failed Alberta provincial candidate, Sahota won the ethnically diverse riding of Calgary Skyview.

Conservative Greg McLean, a financial planner in Calgary, beat Liberal incumbent Kent Hehr in Calgary Centre.

In Edmonton Centre, Conservative James Cumming, the former president and CEO of the Edmonton Chamber of Commerce, beat Liberal incumbent Randy Boissonnault.

The Conservative Party returned four MPs in Atlantic Canada, including one new entrant to federal politics: Chris d'Entremont.

The former Nova Scotia MLA benefited from a progressive vote split in his West Nova riding. He edged ahead of his Liberal opponent to win the only seat in the province that didn't return a Liberal.

D'Entremont will be a much-needed voice for the Atlantic region in the Conservative caucus. He also brings ministerial experience to the table. D'Entremont previously served as a provincial minister of agriculture, fisheries and aquaculture, and as the minister responsible for Acadian affairs.

Chris d'Entremont, the new Conservative MP for West Nova, served as a member of the provincial legislature in Nova Scotia. (Robert Short/CBC News)

In the last six years on the opposition benches, d'Entremont served as the Progressive Conservative House Leader in the legislature. Scheer will likely tap the long-time politician for a prominent role in his "shadow cabinet," the group of MPs who face down Liberal ministers each day in question period.

The Nova Scotian said he wants to avoid some of the nasty tone in federal politics.

"I'm going to try my best to work around, I would say, that mean-spiritedness that goes amongst all the parties," he said.

"I've shown as an MLA that I've been able to work across party lines, that I've gotten things done for my area, and, you know, I really think that we just need to all take a step back and consider what happened during this election."

In Ontario, Conservatives elected their youngest ever member of Parliament in the form of Eric Melillo. The 21-year-old beat Liberal veteran Bob Nault in the northern Ontario riding of Kenora.

Eric Melillo is the new Conservative MP for the Kenora riding. Melillo will be the youngest member of this Parliament. (Jeff Walters/CBC)

Amid much criticism of the Liberal government's handling of the veterans file, electors in Bruce-Grey-Owen Sound voted for retired Canadian Army Col. and Conservative candidate Alex Ruff. Ruff bested former journalist turned Prime Minister's Office operative Michael Den Tandt.

NDP loses veterans

Some polls indicated NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh enjoyed a late campaign surge after a well-received debate performance — but that praise did not translate into seats.

On the whole, it was a tough night to be a New Democrat as virtually all of the party's Quebec MPs lost — Alexandre Boulerice was the sole exception in Rosemont-La Petite-Patrie — and the party failed to make any meaningful inroads in the Toronto area. The party was beaten badly even in traditional areas of strength, like former NDP leader Jack Layton's old riding of Toronto-Danforth. In the Windsor area, the NDP lost one of its most effective MPs: Tracey Ramsay, a frequent critic of Liberal trade policy.

One bright spot for the party was a strong showing in Nunavut. Mumilaaq Qaqqaq, 25, is the first NDP MP for the territory since 1980, when this region of the far North was still part of the Northwest Territories.

"I think it'll take a few days to sink in," she said in an interview with CBC North. "I'm glad that Nunavut is up for change, and ready for change, and that's exactly what we've been needing for decades."

Mumilaaq Qaqqaq, 25, will represent Nunavut. (Sara Frizzell/CBC)

Like the other parties, the NDP has had some success federally by recruiting local politicians to run for a seat in Ottawa.

Former Smithers, B.C. mayor Taylor Bachrach won the northern B.C. seat of Skeena-Bulkley Valley for the NDP after MP Nathan Cullen declined to re-offer. Bachrach has promised to make the fight against climate change a priority in Parliament.

Another local government leader, Victoria city councillor Laurel Collins, helped the New Democrats hold off a Green advance in the Victoria riding. Collins, who is also an instructor at the University of Victoria, credited Singh for her success, saying he did an "amazing job" advancing progressive policies on the campaign trail.

Greens pick up in the Maritimes

The Green Party's result Monday was a disappointment by many measures. Leader Elizabeth May's hope of picking up many more seats on Vancouver Island and in B.C. went unfulfilled.

While the Greens started the election with double-digit support in most polls, they have sunk to just 6.3 per cent in national support.

Jenica Atwin is Atlantic Canada's first ever elected Green MP. (Mike Heenan/CBC)

But the Greens made a breakthrough in Atlantic Canada. Fredericton voters made history by electing Jenica Atwin, New Brunswick's first ever Green MP. This is also the first seat for the party east of B.C.

"Canada is looking at Fredericton. They're looking at New Brunswick. So we're just so excited about this result," Atwin said. She beat Liberal Matt DeCourcey.

About the Author

John Paul Tasker

Parliamentary Bureau

John Paul (J.P.) Tasker is a reporter in the CBC's Parliamentary bureau in Ottawa. He can be reached at john.tasker@cbc.ca.

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