Election night in Canada - Macleans.ca

Election night in Canada

Conservatives will form government with the NDP as official opposition


Greetings from a couple floors underneath the Sheraton in downtown Toronto. The stage in the grand ballroom is dramatically lit and the large Canadian flags hang in place. Several hours from now Michael Ignatieff will arrive at the podium and try to find a positive word or two to describe tonight’s results.

Numbers can’t be published until 10pm EST, but we’ll start the three-hour pre-game show shortly.

7:00pm EST… Three questions which may or may not end up being relevant to tonight’s final results. Will the Conservative vote out-perform opinion polls like it did in 2008? Will the Liberal vote collapse any further than it already has? Will the NDP vote realize its potential? Here are Renard Sexton’s thoughts on that last question. Recalling the Liberal-Democrat experience in Britain, he figures it’s coming down three to five points nationally.

7:24pm EST… For whatever they may turn out to be worth, a few of the final seat projections. DemocraticSpace: Conservatives 155, NDP 86, Liberals 47, Bloc Quebecois 20. Election Prediction: Conservatives 146, NDP 65, Liberals 63, Bloc Quebecois 33, Independent 1. ThreeHundredEight: Conservatives 143, NDP 78, Liberals 60, Bloc Quebecois 27.

8:07pm EST… Matthew Yglesias on the differences between politics in Canada and the United States.

The American system encourages politicians to make extremist promises to their base while the Canadian one challenges politicians to reassure voters.

8:22pm EST... From elsewhere in the Maclean’s universe: Philippe Gohier on Quebec and John Geddes on Pierre Trudeau.

8:43pm EST… It was lost amid last night’s other news, so here is CBC’s feature on each leader’s biggest political errors. CBC’s television and online coverage, including their rather indispensable interactive map, will be anchored here tonight.

9:31pm EST… Polls are now closed across most of the country, but we’re still a half hour away from being to report anything on account of the Pacific time zone.

9:51pm EST… The CTV decision desk calls it a Conservative government. The aforementioned Renard Sexton earlier projected as follows: Conservatives 132, Liberals 76, NDP 63, Bloc 37.

9:55pm EST… Colby Cosh checks in from Calgary and Martin Patriquin checks in from Quebec.

10:00pm EST… Here we go. I count five changes in the early results from the East Coast: all Liberal incumbents defeated or trailing. Three go to the Conservatives, two to the NDP.

10:01pm EST… CBC calls it a Conservative government, NDP on pace for official opposition.

10:07pm EST… Those defeated incumbents are Siobhan Coady, Mike Savage, Jean-Claude D’Amours and Todd Russell. Brian Murphy is trailing in Moncton.

10:10pm EST… It is very, very early, but the Quebec map looks very, very orange and the the Toronto area shows very little red.

10:20pm EST… Helena Guergis is a distant third in Simcoe-Grey. Two cabinet ministers—Josee Verner and Jean-Pierre Blackburn—are trailing, as are two party leaders: Messrs Ignatieff and Duceppe.

10:27pm EST… Ruth Ellen Brosseau, the NDP candidate who skipped off to Vegas in the middle of the campaign and whose candidacy was news to the manager of the Ottawa pub she worked in, is currently leading in  Berthier-Maskinongé.

10:33pm EST… The Liberals who are trailing around Toronto include: Dryden, Ratansi, Oliphant, Hall Findlay, Tonks, Kennedy, Minna, Silva, Holland, Simson, Szabo, Bains, Crombie and Ignatieff.

10:40pm EST… Global calls it a Conservative majority.

10:44pm EST… This is by various measures an astonishing night, but here is one: the current Quebec standings. NDP 59, Conservatives 6, Liberals 6, Bloc 4.

10:55pm EST… Two cabinet ministers have been declared defeated: Cannon and Blackburn. Verner and Duncan are trailing and Elizabeth May is leading Gary Lunn.

10:57pm EST… Liberals trailing or defeated in Montreal: Jennings, Garneau, Patry and Rodriguez.

11:04pm EST… Colby theorizes from Calgary.

11:28pm EST… Mr. Ignatieff has just delivered brief remarks to a teary-eyed audience here in Toronto. He says he will stay on as leader as long as the party wishes—not having a seat will make that rather difficult—and serve in whatever capacity the party desires.

11:30pm EST… Now that the numbers have settled down more or less, the standings look as follows: Conservatives 168, NDP 104, Liberals 33, Bloc Quebecois 2, Greens 1.

11:33pm EST… John reports from NDP headquarters.

11:37pm EST… Going back to those three questions. The Liberal (19%) and NDP (31%) votes mostly held to where the last opinion polls had them, but the Conservatives (40%) got a similar bump to what they received in 2008. That and vote splits on the left side of the ledger are the overly simplistic explanations for what happened today.

11:58pm EST… Gilles Duceppe, who has lost his seat, has announced his resignation as leader of the BQ (or whatever now remains of the BQ).

12:09am EST… And now the victory speeches, starting with Elizabeth May who seems in danger of bursting with glee.

12:22am EST… Jack Layton is about to speak. While we wait, a few provincial breakdowns.

Ontario: Conservatives 72, NDP 22, Liberals 12.
British Columbia: Conservatives 21, NDP 12, Liberals 2, Greens 1.
Quebec: NDP 60, Conservatives 6, Liberals 6, Bloc Quebecois 3.

12:28am EST… And here’s Mr. Layton, looking exactly as triumphant as you might expect.

12:49am EST… Mr. Layton’s finished declaring victory and Mr. Harper’s still to come, but I’ve got to go write something. I’ll leave you to John, Colby and Marty for a bit.

3:41am EST… Greetings from a much later hour. Or a much earlier hour, depending on one’s perspective. Marty has filed from Quebec and John from Toronto. And here is my first draft. Obviously much more to come in the hours and days ahead. It will take some time to sort through tonight’s 308 winners.


Election night in Canada

  1. a test of Well's rules of Canadian politics, let the games begin.

    • Good we’ve already got someone to blame if it all goes south.

      • well I think it's safe to say #1 is the the door!

  2. Has anyone reading up on the whole ‘tweeting election results early’ found themselves tittering over the phrase ‘premature transmission’, or is it just me?

  3. There are some excellent comments in the Sexton piece.

  4. Sexton is the only person I know of who is predicting the Liberals will defeat the NDP. Interesting.

    • Ah whaddya expect- just some dude living in the US trying to comment on the Canadian election.

      Oh, wait…..

  5. The Sexton piece is interesting. I do think that a big difference is that people are actually talking about the NDP doing REALLY well, and I don’t recall that every happening. When was the last time there was serious discussion of the NDP leap-frogging the Liberals? Not even under Dion was it like this. We’ll see, but I think people are more willing to vote for a party that they think is going to do well, and there’s every reason for a voter to think that what Jack’s riding in is a bandwagon.

    • The main strategy for the other two parties has always been to just say "the NDP won't win" and "they're extremist socialists". The second has been so far from true it's not worth debating, and the first just collapsed. That's a big realignment in Canadian politics.

  6. I'm sure the party will be rocking in Liberal HQ as they watch their seats disappear. Enjoy the party Wherry.

  7. How's that Liberal celebration going? Feel more like a wake?

  8. But Iggy won the Facebook vote!!! What's the heck is going on here???

  9. Emily, paging Emily, anyone?

    • Funny, normally she is the first poster on all of Aaron's blogs.

      The next 4 years are going to be a riot listening to her new hightened level of ranting.

      • It's funny 'cause it's true.

        • That's ok, I'll catch up with her tomorrow. :)

  10. Yes, Emily…please share…or are you too busy crying????

    • Show a little grace now.

      • Ha!

        Yes, because the Liberal posters on Aaron's blog are so very full of grace.

        Emily has earned all the taunting that is about to come her way.

        • You have a choice, sir.

          • I should actually thank her, she cemented my resolve to vote Conservative.

            Thanks Emily!

      • not that she ever did. Emily?

        • It's a wonderful night and a brand new start for your party. Congratulations to you and your fellow Conservative supporters. It's Day 1- show your true colours.

          I dare you to be gracious in victory.

          • Umm F5%^k that….they never have been. It's a new day…search and destroy!!!!!!!!!!!

          • SDD – I hear ya.

            And it is an appeal which tugs at my heartstrings.

            But Emily? Reasonably, conversational, open-to-both-sides Emily? Willing to admit she's wrong (periodically) Emily?

            Dude. Swear to God I wish I was that strong.

          • SDD, I mostly agree with you, but that Emily bird is probably the most hostile, mean person on this blog. . . .

            Can't we just be mean to her?

  11. Oh yeah, blow me Wherry.

    • Hold on- MY comments get moderated and they allow THIS?

      • All part of that leftist media.

      • Mine did yesterday too.
        MSM coming to heel for the new masters?

  12. The one good thing, Elizabeth May leading! Harper is disgusting!!

    • early days, she could lose and make my life complete,also Joe Volpe declared defeated!

  13. Wow. CPC at 170 seats. Can we get someone to volunteer to stay up with Aaron overnight?

    • he's a big boy he'll live. Sorry Aaron.

  14. My goodness, in my voting lifetime I've now seen the destruction of both founding parties of Canada. Amazing! I love the voting populace and the people of Canada.

    • Indeed, we're a couple of short steps away from a totally revamped political landscape, which is kind of exciting — a full break from history means a lot of traditional expectations have a chance at the reset button.

    • And I think both of those parties relied far too much on past history to justify continued existence. It's a kind of arrogance that eventually backfires, doesn't it.

      It might also reflect a political reality already seen in the States: you need an ideological base that you can't abandon in any eventual appeal to the centre. Hence, an inevitable polarization of the political landscape.

      In other words, it's been a bad day for elitism, hasn't it been – from the standpoint of the parties, the media, and the pollsters.

  15. Mr. Ignatieff is saying he won't leave unless he is asked to leave. Boy, he has been out of the country for a long time! As he was giving his speech, I was half expecting the old hook to appear from off camera.

    • Yes, I was thinking the same thing. When the voters in your riding don't vote for you, they are asking you to leave…aren't they?

  16. Numbers can't be published until 10pm EST

    The clocks have sprung forward. All times are EDT.

  17. "Avez-vous vu Charmaine?" asked Paul Wells and the Trait d'Union of Terrebonne. Look for her in the House of Commons. It's an in absentia landslide…

  18. I wonder how many people will be banned from posting after tonight?

    Aaron must be having quite a hissy fit.

  19. I predicted the Conservative bump.


    Undecideds are more likely to swing to incumbents. Also, Cons have more motivated voters and can expect better turnout. Also, the Cons have good turnout due to their better support amongst older voters. And not only that, I think that swing voters, those that have made up their minds just recently (ie half of NDP voters), are less likely to show up (due to the uncertainty in their minds and their lack of resolve), dampening the NDP numbers. NDP was actually polling about 32 in the last few polls.

    In summary, most pollsters in Canada don't measure likely voters.

    In fact, I think none of them do, except perhaps Ipsos Reid, which had some polls showing the cons at 43.

  20. Congrats to the CPC and NDP, and all their supporters here. To the BQ and the LPC — remember Kim Campbell! And I'm very gratified to see the first Green seat!

    • I am happy for Lizzie May too, very smart woman!

      Sorry to see a couple of people lose and one of them is Michael Ignateff, he didn't deserve to go like that but you know Mario Vargas Llosa won a Nobel Prize after he lost miserably in Peru, is his doppelganger, I think he does have his heart in the right place, I have no question about that! I also believe in my heart he would not have form a coalition Government, it was a terrible strategy and he is not a leader not a politician what humbling experience but he could write a hell of a book!!

      • Oh c'mon. There must be someone you don't like. Ruby Dhalla? You don't like Ruby Dhalla I bet!!

        • Hahaha you are right, her and Guergis and Trudeau (bummer he won!) but thrilled beyond words for Chris Alexander one fine human being!

          I am sorely disappointed about Linda Duncan, do not like her but the CPC had a weak candidate!

      • Agreed, Ignatieff got boxed in early and never puzzled his way out, though he certainly gave it a well-considered try.

        As much as I'd have liked to see less Blue in Toronto, I'm certainly not going to miss Joe Volpe any.

        And now I live in solidly-Orange Quebec. Life could not easily be more weird.

        • Layton's speech right now is pretty good, my hope is that his strategy will be more about uniting Canada, he has a good shot at making a difference!

  21. I want to be polite and don't sound rude but I told you so!!!

    Strategy was going to win this , Harper's was almost flawless!

    • Yup, better then I had hoped at 161.

      And I was scoffed at by the majority of posters.

      • Hell, I was scoffing, and I'm a Conservative supporter.

        • Turns out my giant hat is far more intelligent then I gave it credit for.

          • Hahaha it is!!

    • Well spoken CL

      • Thanks : )

    • You surely did predict the outcome – full marks for that. :-)

      Less convinced that Harper's strategy played a role, but interested to read your thoughts on that aspect of the victory.

      • Clarification: The Harper strategy (in the last few days) of appealing to centrist Liberals to slide over to the CPC probably drew some votes the CPC way, but I'm much less convinced that Harper planned the NDP surge that necessitated that plea.

      • I will I am at the CPC rally right know in Calgary, but I will later : )

        • Lucky!

          I bet people are doing keg stands and wearing their ties as head bands!

          • It was so cool, people were thrilled and PM and his wife were so happy, it was truly an amazing thing to see, I feel so lucky to have had the chance to be there!

    • Claudia – this almost makes you look brilliant. I thought it, and hoped for it, and watched it happen for the last few weeks, but I didn't have the stones to predict it.

      You can stand tall knowing you saw it coming early, and stuck to your guns. Have you though of working in politics? lol

      • ALMOST, wuzz up with that? Hahaha just kidding! I just do this for a living and I love, love, my job I am obsessive about

        I am hoping to work with Danielle Smith, love her vision, will keep you posted to see if happens.

  22. I must admit, I am surprised by these results. It didn't seem it was going this way. Looks like they're set to snag 164 seats. That's CBC's projection anyway. Wow. Only the Compass poll would have predicted that many seats, though their popular vote – at 43% – was 4 points too high. All the other polls were wrong.

    And Claudia called it all along. Claudia, you should go out and buy a lottery ticket tomorrow.

    • Haha no lottery ticket but I am going to work for Danielle Smith can wait to see her win!!

  23. Perhaps most importantly, Ruby Dhalla had her a$$ handed to her tonight. Parm Gill crushed her. And Hairnet is finally out the door in Quebec. A big thank you to Jack Layton for pushing the Bloc off a very high cliff. They might never again be a factor in federal politics. Nice job Jack. Orange curtains going up at Stornaway. Whoddathunkit?

  24. You did tell us so, Claudia, and you were right… good for you… a great night!

  25. Chet said he was gonna be here to gloat. I get here… no chet, no gloating. Is he sick? Can somebody check on him?

    Anyway, congrats Conbots, from a humbled Libtard!

    • Dammit, I saw "chet" and my click finger instinctively went to the down-thumb, like one of Pavlov's dogs.

      On topic, do the Germans have a word for a peculiar but invigorating mixture of hope and disappointment?

      • They do now:


        • Geez Louise, I hope you don't charge by the hour!

        • I thought it was glockenschpiel… learn something every day.

    • I assume he's probably drunk at the local CPC riding party.

      Wish I was the same.

  26. Good for you fellow Canadians! You were not fooled or duped by the rabid "Harper Haters" that infest the taxpayer subsidized media, or the rabid, polarizing, partisans of the PPG. Good for you Canadians! To all the Liberals out there, except Wherry, Coyne and other journalistic frauds, don't despair, it's not the end of the world, Liberals need to reconnect with their base.

  27. I predicted stronger minority but no majority. I hadn't even fathomed an NDP opposition or the complete implosion of Libs & BQ.

    And in my riding, I voted anybody-but-NDP, and I was heavily outvoted. Well, no, if you add up Lib & CPC the two beat the NDP candidate. I shall refrain from the pathetic "illegitimate" whines that so many threw at the Tory government as a whole over the last few years.

    All in all, not a good night for MYL. Maybe Harper can recall what turning an upper case to a lower case "C" would do for the country.

    Many of our opposition MPs have a superb opportunity to pay off their student loans. So all is not lost.

    • Many of our opposition MPs have a superb opportunity to pay off their student loans.

      classic. :)

    • 'All in all, not a good night for MYL.'

      On the bright side, your propensity to refer to yourself in the third person remains intact.

      GBS is relieved.

      • Yeah, but it was durn close! Look at how many first-persons there were!

    • I'm glad to hear you tried to stop the NDP in your riding and failed, if only because it makes me fell less depressed about what happened in my riding. My riding's been held by the same Liberal since 1993. Last election was the first time he won less than 50% of the vote (he got 48.67% and won by over 18 points in 2008). So, you can guess from my preamble what happened. I swam in an orange wave, and all I got was this weird blue rash.

      The NDP candidate nearly DOUBLED her vote total from 2008, and the Tory candidate went sprinting up the middle to win the election with the lowest vote total for a winner in the history of the riding (she won the seat with the support of a whopping 19.4% of eligible voters)

      Anyway, all's fair of course, and to her credit, the Tory candidate in my riding did increase her vote total from the last election. Still it was disheartening to see the Tories increase their vote total by 2313 votes, the NDP increase their vote total by 5472 votes and have that translate into a Tory win. I'd bet dollars to doughnuts we could re-vote today and the Liberal candidate would suddenly crush his Tory opponent, but sadly, the election was yesterday (LOL).

  28. Well, the NDP get Quebec, and the CONservatives get the rest of Canada. What an absolutely perfect storm for Harper., and a sad, sad day for Canada.
    In one fell swoop Harper destroyed the Liberals, and Bloc for years to come, and when Jack can no longer pretend to give Quebec whatever they want?, ('cause we all know -NO ONE can), well, that'll be the end of Jack and his Beanstalk too.
    And with this, Harper has even set the stage for the next Conservative future Federal election.
    wow, hats off to Mr. mini-Mulrooney, he actually pulled it ALL off with great machiavellianism.

    • Suck on it Rick! Roll Harper around in your mouth and suck on it!

      • that'll be your "job" for the next 4 years er so -let me know how that sucks for you Ache ?

  29. Wherry gone to write his piece before he hears Harper's speech….sounds about right. I'm just sayin'.

  30. Just a heartfelt thanks to all the deadbeats piling up the don't likes on every post that wasn't Harper bashing and a special thanks to your partisan ringmaster Aaron Wherry and his boss Coyne who allowed (and believed) it to be "cool" to blow off any pretense of objectivity in this blog.

    In a just world you'd both be looking for work. To Mr. Wells, I bet your "pals" are going to be jealous of all the great tips leads and inside stories you will no doubt continue to get.

    The irony here is all that Mr. Wells did was be professional…perhaps there's a lesson there guys…maybe give it a whirl…I'm sure it beats the hell outa flakin' for the dippers.

  31. Who called CPC 163?

    I did.

    Who called the implosion of the LPC in Ontario?

    I did.




    • Four more years!

  32. Not.



  33. Certainly didn't predict what happended in Quebec, but anyone who didn't see the Conservative sweep in Ontario wasn't paying attention. There are no scenario where the NDP was going to pick up more than a few downtown Toronto seats without a MASSIVE MASSIVE Quebec-style vote increase. Under that unattainable bar every NDP vote helps the Conservatives.

  34. Suck it Wherry! Four more years! Four more years! Four more years!