Polls have closed nationwide as Conservatives make gains in Atlantic Canada

The polls have now closed in most of the country and results from dozens of seats are starting to pour in from Elections Canada. Voting continues in B.C. and the Yukon as Canadians head to the polls for this unprecedented pandemic election.

The ballot counting is already well underway in Atlantic Canada, where the polls have been closed for more than two hours.

The early results from the region’s 32 seats suggest the Conservatives are poised to pick up some seats in this election, which means Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau may struggle to get the majority government he wanted when he called this election more than a month ago.

The Atlantic region has been a Liberal stronghold for the last two election cycles — the party swept every seat there in 2015 and dropped only five in 2019.

Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole, who has appointed a number of Maritimers to senior roles in the party, is on pace to perform better than his recent predecessors in this region.

Former prime minister Stephen Harper was shut out of Atlantic Canada in 2015 while his successor, Andrew Scheer, picked up only four seats in the 2019 contest — three in New Brunswick and one in Nova Scotia.

O’Toole, who pitched a more moderate form of conservatism than previous Conservative leaders, has already outperformed both Harper and Scheer in the seat count in this part of Canada.

According to the CBC News Decision Desk, Conservative candidates have been declared elected in six of the region’s ridings. Conservative Rick Perkins has unseated Liberal incumbent Bernadette Jordan in the Nova Scotia riding of South Shore-St Margarets. Jordan served as fisheries minister in Trudeau’s cabinet.

The Conservative candidate in Cumberland-Colchester, Stephen Ellis, has also defeated Liberal incumbent Lenore Zann.

With about 550,000 ballots counted so far, the Liberals have 42 per cent of the ballots cast, the Conservatives have about 33 per cent and the NDP has nearly 17 per cent of the vote share. The Green Party has captured three per cent of the ballots cast so far, while the People’s Party of Canada (PPC) has more than 4.5 per cent of all votes.

Voters line up at the Halifax Convention Centre as they prepare to vote in the federal election in Halifax on Monday, Sept. 20, 2021. (Andrew Vaughan/The Canadian Press)

The first projected winner of the 44th general election was Liberal incumbent Seamus O’Regan, who serves as natural resources minister in Trudeau’s cabinet. Dominic LeBlanc, another Liberal cabinet minister, has also been projected as the winner in his Beauséjour riding in New Brunswick.

Another prominent Liberal, Sean Fraser, the parliamentary secretary to the finance minister, has held off his Conservative challenger in the riding of Central Nova, a seat that was once held by former Progressive Conservative leader Peter MacKay.

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