Punjabis make history in Canada federal elections 2015

Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service
Chandigarh, October 20
History was made in Canada in the 42nd federal elections, results of which were out today. As many as 18 Punjabis have been elected as Members of the House of Commons (Parliament) of Canada. The number exceeds the figure of those elected from Punjab for the Lok Sabha (13).
Of the 44 Indo-Canadian candidates, 20 are elected to that country’s Parliament. This is the maximum number of Indo-Canadians ever elected. In 2008, 10 and in 2011, 8 Indo-Canadians were elected. First time in 1993, three Indo-Canadians made to Parliament. One of them was Gurbax Singh Malhi, the first turbaned Sikh to be elected.
The 17 Indo-Canadians belong to the Liberal Party, which gained a clear majority in the 338-member House. The party has won 185 seats, the Conservative, the outgoing ruling party, 100 and the NDP, which is the main opposition party in the incumbent Government, is placed third with 42 seats.
Among the prominent Punjabi winners are Navdeep Bains, Harjit Sajjan, Deepak Obhrai and Sukh Dhaliwal. Navdeep Bains and Sukh Dhaliwal had lost the elections last time but won this time. Four Punjabi women – Sonia Sidhu, Kamal Khera, Anju Dhillon and Ruby Sahota have also been elected.
Prominent losers are Tim Uppal and Bal Gosal, Devinder Shorey, Param Gill, Jinny Sims and Nina Grewal. Tim Uppal lost the election to Amarjit Sohi of the Liberal Party with a thinn margin of 80 votes in Edmonton-Mill Woods in Alberta.
There are five turbaned Sikhs — Harjit Sajjan, Raj Grewal, Darshan Kang, Navdeep Bains and Randip Sarai – who have been elected. Harjit Sajjan, who has been elected from Vancouver South, an area dominated by people of Chinese origin, is a serving Lt Colonel in the Canadian Army. He contested the election after taking leave. He led the Canadian Army in Afghanistan war.
Traditionally, Punjabis have been close to the Liberal Party, the reason the party put up maximum number of candidates from the community. The Liberals had nominated 20 Indo-Canadians in the elections and most were Punjabis. Of these, 15 Punjabis have been elected. Only two Punjabis have been elected on the Conservative Party ticket. They are Deepak Obhrai and Jati Sidhu. The best win is for Anju Dhillon, who won in a French-speaking constituency where Punjabi population is negligible.
The Liberal Party has promised to revoke C-24 Bill, which empowered the Canadian government to divest any immigrant, found involved in anti-Canada or any terrorist activity, of citizenship. The party has also promised to soften the C-51 Bill authorising the government to make arrest without issuing an arrest warrant in a terror-related case.
Those who made it
The list of Indo-Canadians elected to the House of Commons: Raj Saini, Raj Grewal, Kamal Khera, Ruby Sahota, Sonia Sidhu, Rameshwar Sangha, Navdeep Bains, Gagan Sikand, Yasmin Ratansi, Sukh Dhaliwal, Darshan Kang, Harjit Sajjan, Amarjit Sohi, Anju Dhillon, Randip Sarai, Deepak Obhrai, Jati Sidhu and Chander Aryan, Bardish Chaggar and Bob Saroya.

Liberals sweep Brampton, Mississauga

CBC news

The Liberals have made huge gains across much of the 905 region, knocking out high-profile cabinet ministers en route to a majority win in Canada’s 42nd federal election.

The party, led by Justin Trudeau, won 24 out of the 29 seats in the cities that surround Toronto, including a sweep of all 11 ridings in Brampton and Mississauga.

The Conservatives took five seats in the 905 region. In 2011, the Tories won every seat in the GTA outside Toronto on the road to a majority victory.

In Brampton Centre, incumbent Minister of State for Sport Bal Gosal lost to Liberal challenger Ramesh Sangha despite claiming last week that the Conservatives were “ready to take” the riding. With all polls reporting, Sangha captured nearly 49 per cent of the vote, compared to Gosal at nearly 34 per cent.

Shortly after the candidate’s boast about a looming victory, two volunteers left Gosal’s campaign after Sangha accused Conservative volunteers of destroying Liberal campaign signs. A Liberal campaign volunteer captured footage showing two figures dressed in dark clothing kicking down an election sign at the side of the road last Tuesday night.

The Liberals filed complaints with both Peel Regional Police and Elections Canada.

Bal Gosal
Incumbent Bal Gosal could not hang on to his seat, despite expressing confidence just days before the election that the Conservatives were “ready to take” Brampton Centre.

Late Monday, Gosal echoed the sentiments of other defeated Conservatives, telling CBC News that Canadians “wanted a change.

“They decided to go with high taxes and big spending. That’s what happened and it is how politics works.”

Asked about the sign controversy, Gosal said his campaign apologized and the volunteers left his team.

“We ran a very clean campaign, and I wouldn’t do anything different,” he said.

Meanwhile, in Brampton North, Parm Gill, parliamentary secretary to the minister of international trade, fell to Liberal candidate Ruby Sahota, who grabbed more than 48 per cent of the vote. Gill trailed with 33 per cent of the vote.

And in Mississauga East-Cooksville, Liberal Peter Fonseca took back his old riding from Wladyslaw Lizon, who narrowly defeated Fonseca in 2011.

“I think the people really were looking for some real change,” Fonseca told CBC News late Monday. “They want help, they want opportunity.”

Harjot Ghuman Matharu, producer and host of Fulkari radio on CJMR, said Tuesday that the Liberal success in Brampton can be attributed in part to the party’s efforts to rebuild a relationship with the Punjabi and Sikh communities that was once strong under former prime minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau.

“I think that’s the reason they got the vote. I think that’s what happened in these past years, as we’ve seen the Liberal Party rebuild the relationship with the community,” Matharu told CBC’s Metro Morning.

“The strengthening of bonds that they once lost to the Conservatives here in Brampton that came back through a lot of building over the past few years.”

Change ‘for the sake of change’

In other parts of the 905, two high-profile cabinet ministers fell to Liberal candidates. In Ajax, Immigration Minister Chris Alexander lost to Liberal Mark Holland, who was elected in 2008 when the riding was Ajax-Pickering. After the vote, Alexander spoke about his loss.

“I think it was change, really, for the sake of change, for having a new team taking on the job of governing this country,” he said. “And I think it was also the fact that after three mandates, Canadians tend to take a harder look at incumbents.”

Meanwhile, up in Vaughan-Woodbridge, Liberal Francesco Sorbara beat Conservative cabinet minister Julian Fantino by nearly 2,000 votes.

“I respect the decision that the electorate has made,” Fantino said as he left a post-election party.

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Conservative fortunes were better in Thornhill, where Conservative Peter Kent become the first candidate in the 905 to be re-elected. Tory Lisa Raitt also bucked the Liberal trend and won re-election in Milton. In Durham, Conservative Erin O’Toole retained his seat.

The only other ridings in the 905 that escaped the red tide were Markham-Unionville and Oshawa, with both won by the Conservatives.


Darshan Kang captures first Liberal seat in Calgary since 1968

By Annalise Klingbeil, Calgary Herald

Former two-term Liberal MLA Darshan Kang made history by ending a 47-year-old federal Liberal drought in Calgary on Monday evening.

Kang snatched the diverse Calgary Skyview riding from Conservative incumbent Devinder Shory and became the first Liberal MP to be elected in Calgary since 1968, under the first wave of Trudeaumania.
“I’m feeling great. I’m glad it’s over,” said Kang after declaring victory, as supporters cheered.
“I can’t explain it in a word. I don’t have the words. I’m honoured and privileged. I want to thank all the constituents of Calgary Skyview who made this possible.”
Kang’s tiny northeast campaign office was a hive of activity on Monday, packed with people cheering, dancing, and gleefully shouting as they crowded into an adjacent tent to watch election results come in.
Nearby, at Shory’s strip mall campaign headquarters, the Tory hopeful was nowhere to be seen as a handful of people sat in a quiet room and watched results trickle in.
Shory could not be reached for comment as results came in Monday, but earlier in the evening as polls closed, he told the Herald he was feeling optimistic.
“We’ve been working very hard for the last two months and I’m very happy and very proud of my team,” he said.
“I’ve had a very positive relationship with my constituents for the last seven years.”
Shory said he repeatedly heard at doorsteps that people were concerned about the economy and the “safety and security of Canada.”
Late in the evening, Shory’s campaign strategist spoke to media and said a post-mortem was planed “to figure out in more detail what happened here.”
“As far as the ground game, we felt we put together a strong position and communication at the door. I think ultimately there was a lot of undecided people and we’ll have to think more in detail why undecided went with Liberals,” said campaign strategist Steven Ladd.
Ladd said Shory was a strong advocate for the riding and he plans to continue to be involved in the community despite Monday’s loss.
Earlier in the night, Kang said he was feeling great but expecting a tight race.
“We’re not taking anything for granted,” the 64-year-old said.
Kang is no stranger to tight election races — he was first elected as an MLA in Calgary-McCall in the 2008 provincial election by just 118 votes.
Located in the city’s northeast, Calgary Skyview was labelled a potential battleground when the election campaign launched 11 weeks ago. In recent weeks, political scientists said they believed the diverse riding could tip to the Grits.
Kang’s win came after more than 2,000 people showed up to a raucous rally hosted by Liberal leader Justin Trudeau in Calgary Skyview on the final day of campaigning Sunday.
Calgary Skyview is home to more than 11,000 residents and is one of the most ethnically diverse ridings in Alberta. It’s a new riding, created through redistribution, and replaces the Calgary Northeast constituency.
Eight candidates vied to represent voters in Calgary Skyview.
Sahajvir Singh, 34, owns a land investment company and ran for the NDP, while Ed Reddy, 45, a former soldier who now works as an oilpatch consultant ran for the Green Party.
Realtor Najeeb Butt, 59, ran for the Progressive Canadian Party and Daniel Blanchard, 28, ran for the Marxist-Leninist Party.
Independent candidate Joseph Young, 68, a member of the Communist League in Canada, and Democratic Advancement Party Leader Stephen Garvey, 50, also ran in Calgary Skyview.
Shory, 58, won the former Calgary Northeast riding with 56 per cent of the vote in the 2011 election. The two-term MP worked as a lawyer before he was first elected in the 2008 federal election.
Kang served part of the riding as a provincial Liberal MLA in the constituency of Calgary-McCall, but opted not to run for re-election in the May provincial election, instead stepping aside to run federally for the Grits.

Conservatives elected in five of eight Edmonton ridings

CBC News

Edmontonians elected Liberal MPs for the first time in nearly a decade in two of the closest races in Monday’s federal election.

Amarjeet Sohi, an Edmonton city councillor, won the Edmonton-Mill Woods seat for the Liberals by defeating Conservative candidate Tim Uppal by a narrow margin of 80 votes.

Justin Trudeau to be prime minister as Liberals surge to majority
Liberals win first 2 Calgary seats since 1968 as Conservatives take 8
Randy Boissonnault reclaimed Edmonton Centre for the Liberals, defeating Conservative candidate James Cumming by a margin of more than 900 votes. The riding was wide open when Laurie Hawn, the incumbent Conservative MP decided not to run again.

Boissonnault and Sohi join Calgary Liberals Kent Hehr and Darshan Kang, who were also elected ending a drought by their party in that city going back to 1968.

Tim Uppal
Conservative Tim Uppal embraces a supporter after he was defeated by Liberal Amarjeet Sohi by a margin of 80 votes. (Marion Warnica/CBC News )

Pollster Bruce Cameron said that while only five of 34 seats in Alberta went to parties other than the Conservatives, the four breakthrough seats by the Liberals in Edmonton and Calgary are significant.

Cameron said at least some of the Alberta Liberals will be prime candidates for key jobs in the new government. He noted Anne McLellan became a cabinet minister and deputy prime minister when she won Edmonton Centre under previous Liberal governments.

“So having a foothold, even though it’s only a handful of seats, is very important symbolically and actually structurally for the Trudeau government,” said Cameron, president of Return on Insight in Calgary.

While it was a narrow victory for Sohi, Coun. Ben Henderson said his fellow councillor deserved to win.

“Amarjeet has just been such a champion for this area and has worked so hard and is so connected with this community,” said Henderson.

Henderson added the outcome is “a huge loss” for city council but “a huge win for this area to have someone with that kind of dedication” as their MP.

Sohi defeated Uppal, who as multiculturalism minister had spearheaded the Harper government’s ongoing fight to ban the niqab during citizenship ceremonies, a contentious issue throughout the campaign.

Uppal suggested in a brief statement to his supporters that he planned to ask for a recount.

“You deserve to know for sure that those numbers are correct,”he said. “And we’ll look at them again this week.”

Alberta result disappointing for NDP

Although Justin Trudeau will lead a Liberal majority government in Ottawa, the majority of ridings in Edmonton and across Alberta still remained in the hands of the Conservatives.

Conservative Matt Jeneroux, a former Progressive Conservative MLA who lost his seat in the May provincial election, was elected in Edmonton-Riverview.

Janis Irwin
NDP candidate Janis Irwin said she was disappointed in her loss to Conservative Kerry Diotte in Edmonton-Griesbach. (CBC)

Conservative Kelly McCauley handily beat Liberal candidate Karen Leibovici by more than 5,000 votes in Edmonton West.

Conservative Ziad Aboultaif took the riding of Edmonton Manning, beating one of the NDP’s marquee candidates in Edmonton, Aaron Paquette.

Conservative Mike Lake won Edmonton-Wetaskiwin with nearly 70 per cent of the vote. Lake was formerly the MP in Edmonton-Mill Woods-Beaumont, which disappeared in boundary redistribution.

Conservative Kerry Diotte, a former city councillor, defeated Janis Irwin of the NDP in Edmonton-Griesbach, one of three new ridings in the city.

Irwin said she and her team of volunteers campaigned for two years. She was disappointed by the result.

“I was certainly hearing on the door that a lot of folks were looking for change and they were wanting something different,” she said. “People were telling me, ‘let’s get behind you.’ ”

Linda Duncan regained her seat carrying the NDP banner in Edmonton-Strathcona, which she first won in 2008.

Duncan admitted her party had hoped to have more breakthroughs than just her one seat in Edmonton.

“There are some upsets here that are a total surprise, I think, to everyone. But you can’t say we didn’t give it a good try and we had a fabulous group running,” she said.

“And of course I’m very sad to have lost a lot of my credible colleagues in the House” of Commons, Duncan added. referring to the loss of seats by the NDP nationally.

The Conservatives won all but one of Alberta’s 28 ridings in 2011.

The boundary redistribution meant that there were six new ridings in the province, bringing the total to 34.

The Liberals and the NDP were both hoping for breakthroughs in this traditionally conservative province, especially on the heels of the Alberta NDP’s breakthrough in the May provincial election.

Edmonton Centre

Liberal Randy Boissonnault won the riding over Conservative James Cumming and NDP candidate Gil McGowan. The riding was held by former deputy prime minister Anne McLellan, a Liberal, before she was defeated by Conservative MP Laurie Hawn in 2006. Hawn decided not to run in this election.


Much of the focus in this new riding had been on the battle between NDP candidate Janis Irwin, an Alberta Education bureaucrat and former vice-principal, and Conservative Kerry Diotte, a former journalist and city councillor. Diotte bested Irwin by more than 2,000 votes.

Edmonton-Mill Woods

This race was the nailbiter of the night in Edmonton. Liberal Amarjeet Sohi ended up ahead of Conservative candidate Tim Uppal by only 80 votes, which will probably lead to a recount.

Edmonton West

Liberal Karen Leibovici, a former MLA, Edmonton city councillor and mayoral candidate, lost her bid to make a political comeback. Conservative Kelly McCauley won the riding by more than 5,000 votes.


Conservative Ziad Aboultaif easily defeated NDP candidate Aaron Paquette and Liberal challenger Sukhdev Aujla, who was second but behind by nearly 5,000 votes.


Former Progressive Conservative MLA Matt Jeneroux, who lost his seat in the May provincial election, is now going to Ottawa as the new Conservative MP for Edmonton-Riverbend. Jeneroux won decisively over Liberal Tariq Chaudary, Green Party candidate Valerie Kennedy, Brian Fleck of the NDP and Libertarian Steven Lack.


NDP candidate Linda Duncan won her third term as MP for this central Edmonton riding. Conservative Len Thom placed second. While the area has leaned centre-left in the past, Conservative Rahim Jaffer was the MP until Duncan defeated him in 2008.

St. Albert–Edmonton

Everyone was watching to see if incumbent Brent Rathgeber could win this seat as an independent after leaving the Conservatives two years ago. However, Conservative candidate Michael Cooper won the riding by more than 4,000 votes. Rathgeber came third to Liberal candidate Beatrice Ghettuba.

Sturgeon River-Parkland

Conservative Rona Ambrose, health minister in the former government, won by a massive margin of more than 21,000 votes.

Sherwood Park-Fort Saskatchewan

Conservative Garnett Genuis dominated his opponents by winning 64 per cent of the votes.

Fort McMurray-Cold Lake

Conservative David Yurdiga, the incumbent, is returning to Ottawa, after defeating Liberal Kyle Harrietha in a rematch of last year’s byelection, triggered by the resignation of former MP and now Wildrose leader Brian Jean.

List of candidates elected in B.C. in the 2015 federal election

By Amy Judd
Global News
Here is a list of the candidates elected in B.C. in the 2015 federal election.This list will be updated throughout the evening as the results come in.

There are 42 ridings in total in B.C., with six new additional ridings this election. Other ridings’ boundaries were changed to create a new riding.

Abbotsford – Ed Fast (Conservative)

Burnaby North-Seymour (new riding) – Terry Beech (Liberal)

Burnaby South (new riding) – Kennedy Stewart (NDP)

Cariboo-Prince George – Todd Doherty (Conservative)

Central Okanagan-Similkameen-Nicola (new riding) – Dan Albas (Conservative)

Chilliwack-Hope (new riding) – Mark Strahl (Conservative)

Cloverdale-Langley City (new riding) – John Aldag (Liberal)

Coquitlam-Port Coquitlam – Ron McKinnon (Liberal)

Courtenay-Alberni – Gord Johns (NDP)

Cowichan-Malahat-Langford (new riding) – Alistar MacGregor (NDP)

Delta (new riding) – Carla Qualtrough (Liberal)

Esquimalt-Saanich-Sooke (new riding) – Randall Garrison (NDP)

Fleetwood-Port Kells – Ken Hardie (Liberal)

Kamloops-Thompson-Cariboo – Cathy McLeod (Conservative)

Kelowna-Lake Country – Stephen Fuhr (Liberal)

Kootenay-Columbia – Wayne Stetski (NDP)

Langley-Aldergrove – Mark Warawa (Conservative)

Mission-Matsqui-Fraser Canyon (new riding) – Jati Sidhu (Liberal)

Nanaimo-Ladysmith (new riding) – Sheila Malcolmson (NDP)

New Westminster-Burnaby (new riding) – Peter Julian (NDP)

North Island-Powell River – Rachel Blaney (NDP)

North Okanagan-Shuswap – Mel Arnold (Conservative)

North Vancouver – Jonathan Wilkinson (Liberal)

Pitt Meadows-Maple Ridge – Dan Ruimy (Liberal)

Port Moody-Coquitlam (new riding) – Fin Donnelly (NDP)

Prince George-Peace River-Northern Rockies – Bob Zimmer (Conservative)

Richmond Centre – Alice Wong (Conservative)

Saanich-Gulf Islands – Elizabeth May (Green)

Skeena-Bulkley Valley – Nathan Cullen (NDP)

South Okanagan-West Kootenay – Dick Cannings (NDP)

South Surrey-White Rock – Dianne Watts (Conservative)

Steveston-Richmond East (new riding) – Joe Peschisolido (Liberal)

Surrey Centre – Randeep Sarai (Liberal)

Surrey Newton – Sukh Dhaliwal (Liberal)

Vancouver Centre – Hedy Fry (Liberal)

Vancouver East – Jenny Kwan (NDP)

Vancouver Granville (new riding) – Jody Wilson-Raybould (Liberal)

Vancouver Kingsway – Don Davies (NDP)

Vancouver Quadra – Joyce Murray (Liberal)

Vancouver South – Harjit Sajjan (Liberal)

Victoria – Murray Rankin (NDP)

West Vancouver-Sunshine Coast-Sea to Sky Country – Pamela Goldsmith-Jones (Liberal)

The high-profile winners and losers of the federal election

The Globe and Mail
For the Conservatives and New Democratic Party, Monday night was a bloodbath.

Powerful cabinet ministers fell across the country, and New Democrat stalwarts – including the deputy leader – were swept out of office by Justin Trudeau’s red tide.

Full coverage of Federal Election 2015

Leading the list of top Tory scalps were the ministers of Finance, Citizenship and the Environment. On the NDP side, some of the party’s longest-serving MPs were thrown out the door, the party was on track to lose every seat in Toronto, and even Leader Tom Mulcair was in a tough re-election fight in his Quebec riding of Outremont.
Joe Oliver: The mightiest titan to go down was the sitting Conservative Finance Minister, who was trailing in the affluent midtown Toronto riding of Eglinton-Lawrence. Liberal Marco Mendicino, a former Crown attorney running in his first election, was poised to edge out Mr. Oliver. The NDP’s Andrew Thomson, a former Saskatchewan finance minister whom the New Democrats used frequently as a spokesman during the campaign in a bid to burnish their fiscal credentials, finished a distant third. The riding, which had been held since its 1979 creation by the Liberals until Mr. Oliver took it away in 2011, was also the scene of internal Grit drama earlier this year. Former Mississauga Tory MP Eve Adams tried to win the Liberal nomination there, with Justin Trudeau’s blessing, only to face stiff opposition from local Liberals. Mr. Mendicino prevailed in the resulting nomination contest.
Chris Alexander: The Citizenship and Immigration Minister was a promising, youthful former diplomat when he took Ajax-Pickering in suburban Toronto away from the Liberals in 2011. But Mr. Alexander became best known as a Harper attack dog, spearheading legislation to strip convicted terrorists of their citizenship and fighting back against criticism that the government mishandled the Syrian refugee crisis. This time around, Liberal Mark Holland, the man Mr. Alexander unseated four years ago, came back with a vengeance, thumping the minister in the new Ajax riding.
Julian Fantino: The former Toronto police chief had a rough ride in Ottawa, handling four portfolios over five years, ending as associate defence minister this year. Most notably, he had a rough relationship with veterans when serving as veterans affairs minister, closing eight offices providing services for veterans. He once famously showed up late for a meeting with veterans who wanted to discuss the cuts, then got into an argument with them. Mr. Fantino was on track to lose in Vaughan-Woodbridge, a suburban riding north of Toronto, to Liberal Francesco Sorbara.
Leona Aglukkaq: Health minister for five years and Environment Minister for the past two, Ms. Aglukkaq spent her entire time in Parliament at the cabinet table. In the past two elections, she captured what had previously been a Liberal seat in Nunavut with increasingly large shares of the vote. This time, however, she lost a tough fight to Liberal Hunter Tootoo, a former speaker of the Nunavut legislative assembly.
Megan Leslie: The Tories weren’t the only ones to watch their giants go down to defeat. The NDP’s deputy leader and the most powerful member of the party’s younger generation, Ms. Leslie’s loss in Halifax is a serious blow to the NDP’s rebuilding efforts. It is also an indication of the magnitude of Mr. Trudeau’s victory and the other parties’ losses: Halifax had been an NDP stronghold, formerly the seat of ex-leader Alexa McDonough. Ms. Leslie lost to Liberal Andy Fillmore. Also among the first NDP candidates to go down to defeat Monday was Peter Stoffer, one of the NDP’s longest-serving MPs, who was felled in Sackville-Preston-Chezzetcook, a riding of suburbs and small towns ringing Halifax.
Olivia Chow: The former Toronto MP who stepped down in 2014 to launch an unsuccessful mayoral bid, fell short in her bid to return to the Commons. Adam Vaughan, who won her old seat in a by-election for the Liberals, soundly defeated Ms. Chow in Spadina-Fort York. A supremely self-confident, if often combative, former city councillor, Mr. Vaughan is a top adviser on housing and other urban issues for Mr. Trudeau.
Paul Dewar: The NDP’s foreign affairs critic and one of its most prominent MPs, Mr. Dewar was on track to lose Ottawa Centre to Liberal Catherine Mary McKenna.
Chrystia Freeland: A former journalist, Mr. Trudeau recruited Ms. Freeland as an adviser on economic issues two years ago, persuading her to leave New York and move to Toronto to run in a downtown by-election. She held on on Monday, edging out NDP opponent Jennifer Hollett, a former MuchMusic VJ, in the riding of University-Rosedale. Expect Mr. Trudeau to tap her intellectual heft in his future government.
Bill Blair: The former Toronto police chief overcame criticism of his support for carding – a police practice that results in racial profiling – and his handling of the mass arrests of peaceful protestors at the G20 summit in 2010 to take the Scarborough Southwest riding for the Liberals. Mr. Blair finished ahead of incumbent NDP MP Dan Harris and Tory Roshan Nallaratnam.
Andrew Leslie: A retired lieutenant-general, who served in Afghanistan and the former Yugoslavia, Mr. Leslie also held the post of chief of the land staff. His presence in Mr. Trudeau’s caucus, after unseating Tory Royal Galipeau in Orléans, is meant to buttress the Liberal party’s defence credentials.
Darshan Singh Kang: Not since 1968, Trudeau père’s first election, have the Liberals won a seat in Calgary. In large part because of the elder Trudeau’s subsequent policies – particularly the National Energy Policy, widely blamed in Alberta for bleeding the oil dry for the benefit of Central Canada – the party was largely thought unelectable thereafter. But Mr. Kang, who was leading late Monday night, looked set to finally put the NEP’s ghost to rest on the wave of Trudeau fils’s popularity.
Lisa Raitt: One high-ranking Tory to hold on, the Transportation Minister won a solid victory in the Toronto suburb of Milton. Under Mr. Harper, she had a rare status as one of his few ministers allowed to speak with reporters and exercise some degree of autonomy within the government. Now, she holds an equally rare status as a powerful Tory outside the West who didn’t get defeated.

Federal election turnout hits 68.5 per cent, largest since 1993

The Canadian Press
OTTAWA — Elections Canada says 68.5 per cent of eligible voters cast ballots in Monday’s federal election, the largest turnout of voters in more than 20 years.
Of the 25.6 million people registered to vote, close to 17.6 million turned up at polls across the country in an election that handed the Liberals led by Justin Trudeau a majority victory.
That kind of turnout hasn’t been seen since the 1993 election, a campaign that also resulted in a sweeping Liberal win under the stewardship of Jean Chretien.
The swell in numbers was partly due to the 3.6 million Canadians who cast ballots during the four-day advance polling period on the Thanksgiving long weekend — an increase of 71 per cent over the 2011 election, when only three days of advance polls were held.

Justin Trudeau’s victory leads Liberals into majority government


National Post

The Liberal Party steamrolled to a stunning political comeback Monday night, forming a new, majority government and creating Canada’s first family dynasty at the highest level of national politics as an historic campaign came to a dramatic end.
The Liberals had collapsed to just 34 seats and third place in the 2011 election. But they were elected in 184 constituencies by early morning, taking from both the NDP and Conservatives and riding a wave of resentment toward Harper.
As the results began streaming in from the last polls in British Columbia, it became apparent that Liberal leader Justin Trudeau, whose father Pierre was one of Canada’s most legendary leaders, had exceeded the 170-seat threshold for a majority government that even the most recent polls indicated would be impossible.
The Conservatives ended the evening with 99 seats and 31.9% of the popular vote, the NDP with 44 seats (19.7%),  the Bloc Québécois with 10 seats (4.7%) and the Greens with one seat, leader Elizabeth May’s in B.C., and 3.5% support.
The Tories’ backing remained virtually the same as it has been in polls for weeks now, with the huge Liberal gains coming largely at the expense of the New Democrats.
After three terms as prime minister, Stephen Harper indicated to his party that he would be stepping down as leader of the Conservatives, though remaining as an MP.
In a lengthy victory speech, Trudeau stressed the power of positive election campaigning and its potential to change how Canadians view public service.
“You can appeal to the better angels of our natures, and you can win while doing it,” he said. “We beat fear with hope, we beat cynicism with hard work, we beat negative, divisive politics with a positive vision that brings Canadians together.”
He also alluded to the Conservatives’ campaign against what they called “barbaric cultural practices” such as women who wear the face-covering niqab at citizenship ceremonies.
“Our enviable, inclusive society didn’t happen by accident and won’t continue without effort,” said Trudeau. “Have faith in your fellow citizens, they are kind and generous, they are open and optimistic. They know in their heart of hearts that a Canadian is a Canadian is a Canadian.”
Harper said in a muted concession speech that would help facilitate the transition of power, before touting what he said were some of the guiding principles of his political career.
“We believe hardworking Canadians should keep more of the money they earn because we believe the government should manage people’s money the way people manage their own,” he said. “We believe that in a dangerous world, Canadians must advance our values defend our interests and stand by our friends.”
The campaign underscored the differences between the parties, which helped Canadians make a choice, Tom Mulcair, the NDP leader, said in his concession speech late Monday night.
“Today Canadians have made that choice, and we accept that choice with full humility,” he said, before leaving the stage quickly.
Mulcair added that Trudeau had made “ambitious commitments” to Canadians, and voters will now have high expectations.
The night was a major disappointment for the NDP, who had been ahead in the polls only weeks ago and looked on the verge of leading the federal government for the first time. It dropped from 94 seats in the last Parliament.
The Liberals started by snapping up all 32 seats in Atlantic Canada, then stormed into Ontario, Quebec and the Prairies as the first two waves of results flooded in Monday.
A subdued Peter McKay, who resigned as a Conservative MP and cabinet minister earlier this year, conceded early in the evening that many voters wanted to turf out his party.
“This is not what we had hoped for at all,” McKay told CBC. “Clearly there was a very clear resonance of this (idea of) change – change to what or change for what reason people can give all kinds of commentary.“
Jason Kenney, the Conservative national defence minister, suggested mid-evening that the Liberal gains early in the night were the inevitable result of a party being in power for a decade.
“After 10 years in office, there’s obviously going to be an accumulation of resentments over various issues,” he told CTV. “And that’s obviously what we’re seeing in Atlantic Canada.”
A plebiscite on Harper himself was woven throughout the campaign. Opponents depicted him as anti-democratic, overly hawkish and pandering to intolerant viewpoints; supporters, as a skillful, stable navigator of the ship of state.
The parties also offered some distinctive platform choices: Trudeau pledged to run three straight deficits so he could invest in a huge infrastructure program, the NDP promised to introduce a new national daycare program while still balancing the budget, the Conservatives touted a fiscally responsible program with various tax breaks.
The 78-day election set precedents on numerous counts: the longest race since 1872, the first mandated by a fixed-election-date law, and the launch pad for controversial new voter-ID rules.
But the real surprises emerged as the campaign itself unfolded.
The Conservatives began a close second behind a buoyant New Democratic Party in most polls, though pundits predicted the elongated campaign could play into the hands of the Tories and their overflowing war chest.
The Liberals were in third, Trudeau apparently having peaked months earlier and succumbed to the perception that he was too green and intellectually light-weight to be prime minister.
Then began a deluge of disparate issues and stories – from immigration to the economy and free trade – that sent the campaign skittering off in a myriad directions.
Perhaps the earliest sign that those first expectations would have to be revised came with the first leaders’ debate, where no one scored an obvious win but Trudeau drew plaudits for a solid performance.
As the Senate-expenses trial of Mike Duffy played out, Conservative fortunes seemed to flatten and the Liberals began slowly picking up steam. By early September, a succession of polls showed the three parties in a statistical dead heat, none ahead by more than the margin of error.
Then came the first real disruptive event of the campaign, the Quebec-centred debate on the Conservatives’ determination to prevent women from wearing face-covering niqabs at citizenship swearing-in ceremonies.
Mulcair came out strongly against the policy, a position that went over poorly in Quebec, the province whose orange-wave of New Democrat victories in 2011 raised the party to a historic high in Parliament.
As the NDP’s support dropped in Quebec, the Liberals picked up support in the polls, apparently because voters determined to oust Harper and the Tories saw Trudeau’s team as the best bet to win.
The Conservatives doubled down on the niqab file, announcing a hotline to collect reports of “barbaric cultural practices.” But it failed to pay dividends and, coupled with a tepid response to the Syrian refugee crisis, left an impression the Tories were anti-immigration. Polls suggested Conservative support had flat-lined, as the Liberals moved into the lead and steadily increased the gap.
Further muddying the waters was the announcement of an agreement in the Trans-Pacific Partnership talks, a trade deal among 12 countries that the Conservatives touted as potential Viagra for the economy, but the NDP said was a sell-out that would decimate Ontario’s automobile industry.

Protester charges at Stephen Harper during turbulent B.C. campaign rally

SURREY, B.C. — A man ran towards Conservative Leader Stephen Harper during a rally in Surrey, B.C., on Thursday evening and was grabbed by RCMP officers before being taken away.

The incident came minutes after another protester at the Conservative event attended by many members of the South Asian community stood up with a sign reading “Climate Justice” before being taken away.

Members of the RCMP grab a protester during a campaign event for Conservative leader Stephen Harper in Surrey, B.C. on Thursday.

A third person who stood up to shout was also taken out of the hall where about 300 people were attending the speech by Harper.

Harper was in the midst of a speech he has given multiple times this week, suggesting opposition parties would pose risks to the economy with deficits and overspending if elected.

The man ran towards Harper just as he was saying the Liberals and NDP would harm the economy.

“They (the Liberals and the NDP) would significantly raise those risks friends,” he said, as the man bolted across the open circle at the centre of the gathering.

“A lot more than that,” Harper added calmly as the man was taken away and detained.

When another protester interrupted, Harper said, “let me finish,” and seconds later the woman was ejected.

“Friends you know they’re worried when they don’t come to their rallies and they come to ours instead,” Harper said as the woman was led out.

A group that opposed continued expansion of the Alberta oil sands issued a news release later in the evening saying their members had attended the event and one member was detained by police.

The release from 350Vancouver.org said they had attended, “to demand real climate action and express their concerns about the climate impacts of tar sands expansion.”

The group also said they are opposed to the proposed Kinder Morgan and Enbridge pipelines.

“Local organizers have pledged to continue organizing to stop tar sands from passing through Burnaby, Coquitlam or Langley, or through the newly proposed route through Surrey and Delta,” said the release.

By Canadian Press

Michael Den Tandt: What a Liberal government would look like

With Justin Trudeau and Stephen Harper neck and neck entering the home stretch, one question now imposes itself: What kind of government are we likely to get if Trudeau becomes prime minister, assuming the Grits were to wind up in a position to implement most or all of their pledges? We now have, quite handily, the full document in one discreet booklet. It’s a mixed bag.
Trudeau entered the Liberal leadership race three years ago promising to reinvent Liberalism top to bottom. And indeed, he and his team have thoroughly overhauled the party’s structure, particularly its fundraising. Liberal policy generation, as I argued last time, is now far more oriented toward the so-called middle class (meaning swing voters) than ever before.
That said, there’s also much in the Liberal policy summary that smacks of failed Red Books past — as though the party is still struggling to reconcile its need to win elections with certain old reflexive twitches.
On the plus side, leading the way, would be that income taxes for most Canadians would come down under a Liberal government. The Liberals say cutting the marginal tax rate on income between $44,700 and $89,401 to 20.5 per cent from the current 22 per cent, combined with more generous child benefits geared to income, would benefit 90 per cent of families.
The Liberals’ accountability and democratic reform plans, if implemented, could be transformative; they amount to a wholesale repudiation of 30 years’ accumulation of power in the Prime Minister’s Office.
The plans include banning partisan advertising by the government; making the electoral system more proportional; making Senate appointments arms-length and merit-based; upgrading the debacle of Question Period with, among other things, a Prime Minister’s Question Time as the British House of Commons enjoys; ending the use of omnibus bills; ending prorogation as a tactic for avoiding the judgment of the House; beefing up the role of parliamentary committees; and giving Officers of Parliament more teeth.
The Liberal platform contains a raft of measures to improve services and benefits for Canadian military veterans, which go well beyond reopening the nine dedicated Veterans Affairs offices that were shuttered by the Conservatives in cost-saving exercise that, in retrospect, looks ever-more misguided, self-defeating and stingy. Of all branches of the Canadian public service, military serving overseas in war zones are the only ones for whom the risk of being blown up is a routine part of the job. It is only right that this extraordinary commitment be recognized, and it’s to the Liberals’ credit they aim to do so, if elected.
Beyond that, however, some red flags emerge.
Over the next decade, the platform enthuses, a Liberal government will boost funding in “social infrastructure” by a cool $20 billion. This grab bag includes affordable housing, transit, seniors’ centres, early childhood education, parks, playgrounds — indeed, anything the government deems a nice idea, it seems. Elsewhere in the document, under a heading entitled “making decisions,” the Liberals promise to “invest only in programs proven to offer good value.” Given Trudeau’s political partnership with Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne, one can’t help but wonder: Good value, like the billions wasted via Ontario’s Green Energy Act?
The platform promises to “take action on climate change, put a price on carbon, and reduce carbon pollution.” Never mind that carbon is not, in fact, pollution, but the chemical building block of all life on Earth. There’s no suggestion of how any of this is to work. “We will instead partner with provincial and territorial leaders….” This bit reads like nothing so much as an attempt to be seen to be proactive, while avoiding the political penalty of proposing a carbon tax.
Following the repeated drubbings the Liberals have taken over their gun-control boondoggles over the years, one would have thought they’d steer well clear, but no: Old habits die hard. Though the Grits promise not to resurrect the long-gun registry, they do intend to repeal sensible measures that reduced red tape for law-abiding gun owners transporting firearms back and forth to a firing range. To repeat: Illegal guns, mainly illegal handguns smuggled in from south of the border, are the cause of most urban gun violence. Saddling legitimate gun owners with additional paperwork makes no one any safer. Nice optics, though.
Most disappointing of all, in a substantial section on rethinking the country’s relationship with First Nations, is a commitment to ensure that “the Kelowna Accord — and the spirit of reconciliation that drove it – is embraced.” So, a 10-year-old deal? Really? Nowhere is there a mention of reforming or abolishing the 1876 Indian Act, which is explicitly racist, a national disgrace, and still the law of Canada.
The money the platform dedicates to aboriginal issues — $2.6 billion over four years — is barely more than the Conservatives offered up in their ill-fated First Nations Education Act. The sweeping reform necessary to end the chronic inequality between aboriginal and non-aboriginal Canadians, apparently, would have to wait for another day, yet again.