Canadians begin to cast ballots after divisive campaign, and amid tight polls

Canadians begin to cast ballots after divisive campaign, and amid tight polls

Elections Canada says roughly 27.4 million people are eligible to vote

Canadians are heading to the polls to cast their ballots following a 40-day election campaign that featured countless promises, numerous personal attacks and enduring uncertainty right up to the finish line.

Polls have officially opened across the country and millions of Canadians are expected to cast their ballots in this country’s 43rd federal election, which many experts believe will result in a hung Parliament.

The Liberals under Justin Trudeau and Conservatives under Andrew Scheer started the election largely neck-and-neck in opinion polls and, despite their best efforts, neither leader seems to have been able to jump ahead.

Trudeau voted in his Montreal riding of Papineau on Monday after flying back the night before from B.C., where he spent the final day of the campaign and which could prove critical to deciding which party gets to form government.

The Liberal leader, who came to power in 2015 on an inspirational promise of governing differently, suffered an uneven election campaign this time around thanks in part to revelations he wore racist makeup before entering politics.

The SNC-Lavalin affair also continued to dog Trudeau, as did anger among some progressives over his failure to reform the electoral system and his government’s decision to buy the Trans Mountain oil pipeline.

Scheer was scheduled to cast his ballot later in the day in Regina after also spending Sunday in B.C.’s Lower Mainland.

Like Trudeau, the Conservative leader faced challenges on the campaign trail, where he was seen as underperforming in the first French-language debate and faced pointed questions about his position on abortion and climate change.

The other leaders also sought to portray a Tory government as one that would cut services for Canadians after Scheer promised to balance the budget in five years, and he faced questions about his U.S. citizenship and claims to have been an insurance broker.

Ultimately, once all the ballots are cast and counted, the balance of power could reside with one of the other main parties should neither the Liberals nor Conservatives secure enough seats to win a majority government.

NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh, who will spend the night in his B.C. riding of Burnaby South after voting in last weekend’s advance polls, started the race facing questions about his leadership due to lacklustre fundraising, a shortage of candidates and other organizational challenges.

More than a month later, however, Singh is seen to have run a surprisingly strong campaign that has attracted many progressive voters, resulting in a bump in the NDP’s polling numbers, even though the party’s chances in Quebec remain uncertain.

The NDP leader was cheered by volunteers and supporters as he visited a campaign office in Burnaby, where he thanked those who helped over the past month and a half before reflecting on the party’s campaign.

Meanwhile, Green Leader Elizabeth May, who voted in her riding on Vancouver Island on Monday, is hoping her party can capitalize on its recent success in provincial votes and translate that to more seats in the House of Commons.

Maxime Bernier, who has spent much of the campaign trying to protect his own seat in Beauce, Que., will find out whether his upstart People’s Party of Canada is a movement or a footnote.

The first polls will close around 7 p.m. ET in Newfoundland and Labrador, with the last closing in B.C. at 10 p.m.

Elections Canada says roughly 27.4 million people are eligible to vote, and while most voters will cast their ballots today, around 4.7 million took advantage of advance polling last weekend. That marked a 29 per cent increase over 2015.

Voter turnout in the last election stood at 68.5 per cent, which was the highest since 1993.

Spotlight on B.C.: 12 races to watch on Election Day

The Canadian Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A dose of COVID-19 vaccine is prepared at a vaccination clinic in Montreal’s Olympic Stadium on Tuesday, Feb. 23, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
39 new cases of COVID-19 in Interior Health region

The total number of cases in the region since the pandemic began is now at 7,334

A rainbow shining on Kelowna General Hospital on May 12, 2020 International Nurses Day. (Steve Wensley - Prime Light Media)
New COVID cases trending down in Interior Health

24 new cases reported Thursday, Feb. 25, death at Kelowna General Hospital

From left: Councillor Lucy Taylor, Councillor Barry Banford, Councillor Bill Haring, Mayor Merlin Blackwell, Councillor Lynne Frizzle, Councillor Lyle Mckenzie and Councillor Shelley Sim. (District of Clearwater photo)
Council to consider raising taxes in 2021

The District of Clearwater council is considering a tax increase this year… Continue reading

A nurse performs a test on a patient at a drive-in COVID-19 clinic in Montreal, on Wednesday, October 21, 2020. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson)
30 new COVID-19 cases, five more deaths in Interior Health

This brings the total number of cases to 7,271 since testing began

FILE – A COVID-19 vaccine being prepared. (Olivia Sullivan/Sound Publishing)
B.C. seniors 80 years and older to get COVID vaccine details over next 2 weeks: Henry

Province is expanding vaccine workforce as officials ramp up age-based rollout

A health worker holds a vial of AstraZeneca vaccine to be administered to members of the police at a COVID-19 vaccination center in Mainz, Germany, Thursday, Feb. 25, 2021. The federal state of Rhineland-Palatinate, start with the vaccination of police officers in internal police vaccination centers. (Andreas Arnold/dpa via AP)
B.C. officials to unveil new details of COVID vaccination plan Monday

Seniors and health-care workers who haven’t gotten their shot are next on the list

A cross-country skier glides along the banks of the Ottawa River in Ottawa on Thursday, Feb. 25, 2021. Canadians across the country can look forward to a mild spring peppered with the odd winter flashback throughout the first part of the season, according to predictions from one prominent national forecaster. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Mild spring with some wintry blasts predicted for most of Canada: Weather Network

Weather Network is forecasting a slower than average start to spring in British Columbia

AstraZeneca’s vaccines are ready for use at the vaccination center in Apolda, Germany, Sunday, Feb.28, 2021. (Michael Reichel/dpa via AP)
Feds hoping for AstraZeneca shots this week as Pfizer-BioNTech prepare next delivery

The first of those doses could start to arrive in Canada as early as Wednesday

An investigation is underway after a man was shot and killed by Tofino RCMP in Opitsaht. (Black Press Media file photo)
Man shot and killed by RCMP near Tofino, police watchdog investigating

Investigation underway by Independent Investigations Office of British Columbia.

B.C. Supreme Court in Vancouver on Tuesday December 11, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C.’s compromise on in-person worship at three churches called ‘absolutely unacceptable’

Would allow outdoor services of 25 or less by Langley, Abbotsford and Chilliwack churches

Baldy Mountain Resort was shut down on Saturday after a fatal workplace accident. (Baldy Mountain picture)
Jasmine and Gwen Donaldson are part of the CAT team working to reduce stigma for marginalized groups in Campbell River. Photo by Marc Kitteringham, Campbell River Mirror
Jasmine’s story: Stigma can be the hardest hurdle for those overcoming addiction

Recovering B.C. addict says welcome, connection and community key for rebuilding after drug habit

A Vancouver restaurant owner was found guilty of violating B.C.’s Human Rights Code by discriminating against customers on the basis of their race. (Pixabay)
Vancouver restaurant owner ordered to pay $4,000 to customers after racist remark

Referring to patrons as ‘you Arabs’ constitutes discrimination under B.C.’s Human Rights Code, ruling deems

Most Read