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.
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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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.