Mail-ins and nailbiters: How the federal election’s tightest races played out – Toronto Star

Voters waited hours to cast their ballots in King City on Monday night. And on Tuesday night, they were still waiting to find out who would be declared winner in King-Vaughan, where Conservative Anna Roberts was seeking to oust Liberal incumbent Deb Schulte.

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By Ben SpurrTransportation Reporter

Tue., Sept. 21, 20213 min. read

A day after polls closed in Monday’s federal election, voters in more than two dozen ridings across the country were still waiting to learn who their representative in the next Parliament would be.

As of late Tuesday evening, races in some closely fought ridings had yet to be called, in part because of the high number of mail-in ballots that were a hallmark of an election held during the fourth wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In the downtown Toronto riding of Davenport, the race was so tight that a result wasn’t expected to be finalized until Wednesday. As of 8:30 p.m. Tuesday, two-term Liberal incumbent Julie Dzerowicz held a slim 347-vote lead over NDP challenger Alejandra Bravo, with 172 of 182 polls reporting.

Going into the election, the New Democrats viewed Davenport as their best opportunity to break the Liberal stranglehold on Toronto, and both parties poured resources into what became a tightly contested seat.

The race in nearby Spadina—Fort York, which unexpectedly became more competitive after the Star revealed a withdrawn 2019 sexual assault charge against Liberal candidate Kevin Vuong, also remained too close to call Tuesday night. However, with only one poll left to report, Vuong, who the Liberals have said won’t serve in the party’s caucus if elected, was leading by more than 1,300 votes.

North of Toronto, the riding of King-Vaughan remained in the balance, but Conservative challenger Anna Roberts was within touching distance of scoring a significant victory by ousting Liberal cabinet minister Deb Schulte. In a repeat of the 2019 match-up that Roberts narrowly lost, late Tuesday the Conservative was leading with 45.4 per cent of the vote to Schulte’s 42.5 per cent, with 144 of 145 polls reporting.

East of Toronto, two ridings that were still toss-ups Monday night had fallen the Liberals’ way by Tuesday.

Incumbent Jennifer O’Connell ended up handily beating Conservative Jacob Mantle by more than 5,600 votes in Pickering-Uxbridge. Next door in the swing riding of Whitby, Ryan Turnbull was projected to fend off a challenge from Conservative Maleeha Shahid.

Two Kitchener ridings — Kitchener-Conestoga, and Kitchener South—Hespeler — remained undecided Tuesday, but in Kitchener Centre, Mike Morrice was projected to double the Greens’ seat count by clinching the party’s only victory east of Vancouver Island. He was on track to handily beat the Conservatives’ Mary Henein Thorn in a riding where Liberal Raj Saini dropped out following allegations of unwanted sexual advances.

Elsewhere in Ontario, Liberal Terry Sheehan was holding on to the narrowest of leads in Sault Ste. Marie. Sheehan has held the riding since 2015 but with results from only one poll left to be counted, he was edging out Conservative rival Sonny Spina by just 55 votes.

On the West Coast, the Liberals’ attempt to wrest back Jody Wilson-Raybould’s old seat was also coming down to the wire. Wilson-Raybould, the former justice minister who was booted from Liberal caucus in 2019, won re-election in Vancouver Granville as an Independent two years ago but didn’t run this time around. As of Tuesday night, the NDP’s Anjali Appadurai was trailing Liberal Taleeb Noormohamed in the riding by 230 votes.

In New Brunswick, the race in the Fredericton riding that turned red in June, when Green MP Jenica Atwin crossed the floor to join the governing Liberals, still had no clear winner on Tuesday. But Atwin was leading Conservative Andrea Johnson by fewer than 500 votes.

Ben Spurr is a Toronto-based reporter covering transportation for the Star. Reach him by email at or follow him on Twitter: @BenSpurr


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