Conservative support down in Alberta; Liberals take a seat as 3 others up for grabs

As of 11:30 p.m. Monday, support for Conservatives in Alberta was down about 14 per cent since the last federal election.

Read more: Live Canada election results 2021: Real-time results in the federal election

Approximately 55 per cent of Alberta votes were for the Conservatives, 15 per cent for the Liberals, 19 per cent for the New Democrats and 7.6 per cent for the People’s Party of Canada.

Read more: Maxime Bernier attends Calgary ‘freedom rally’ in last weekend of federal campaign

Alberta went into the 2021 federal election with one NDP seat surrounded by a sea of Tory blue.

While the majority of ridings remained Conservative, some tight races in the major cities are in jeopardy as two Liberal candidates and one NDP candidate are neck-and-neck with their respective Tory incumbents.

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Liberal candidate and former Calgary city councillor George Chahal was projected to win over Conservative incumbent Jagdeep (Jag) Sahota in Calgary-Skyview.

But, as of Monday night, the vote counts in Edmonton Centre and Edmonton Griesbach were too close to call and mail-in ballots will need to be counted in order to make a final call.

Liberal candidate Randy Boissonnault is neck and neck with Conservative incumbent James Cumming in Edmonton Centre.

Read more: Liberals projected to form minority government

Blake Desjarlais is currently leading in Edmonton Griesbach for the NDP, ahead of Conservative incumbent Kerry Diotte. His win would bring Alberta’s total NDP seats to two: NDP incumbent Heather McPherson is projected to take Edmonton Strathcona again.

The riding of Edmonton-Mill Woods was also close late Monday night, with a tight race between Conservative incumbent Tim Uppal and Liberal candidate and former Edmonton city councillor Ben Henderson.

Click to play video: 'O’Toole refuses to comment on Kenney’s handling of Alberta’s COVID-19 crisis' O’Toole refuses to comment on Kenney’s handling of Alberta’s COVID-19 crisis

O’Toole refuses to comment on Kenney’s handling of Alberta’s COVID-19 crisis

Former Saskatchewan premier and election night analyst for Global News, Brad Wall, wondered if Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole’s moderate, middle-of-the-road platform pushed the conservative base to the PPC.

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“It’s going to be very important for the Conservative party to reach out to their base in Alberta and Saskatchewan,” Wall said.

“People in the base will be saying: ‘All right, we tried it this way, we significantly modified the platform, adopted a carbon tax as part of our policy, and we’re still here, and the map’s still blue in these provinces, but it didn’t work.

“I think there will be some pressure and some challenge for Mr. O’Toole and the Conservative caucus to make sure that base stays, that it isn’t starting to look at other options.”

Read more: Canada election 2021: What are the Alberta ridings to watch for a possible political flip?

As of 11:30 p.m. Monday night, the PPC came in second in five Alberta ridings: Bow River, Fort McMurray-Cold Lake, Lakeland, Peace River-Westlock and Yellowhead.

Outgoing Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi pointed out that the Conservatives still won nearly all the seats in Saskatchewan and Alberta.

“The base is still there.

“Conservatives in this part of the world are always worried that base is going to disappear and it never does. They were worried about the Reform party from before.”

Nenshi said the Conservatives could make two mistakes coming out of this campaign with a lower popular vote in Western Canada.

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“The first one is to do that retention hook, and the second one is to think you actually moderated the party and you failed, because that platform was a surprise to everybody, even people in the party didn’t know that was happening.

“There has only been 36 days of the Conservatives having a conversation about how they can re-tool as a party that is about workers rights, about helping people get ahead, about anti-elite party,” Nenshi said.

“I don’t think this is a failure, they just didn’t get enough time to see if it actually works or not.”

Click to play video: 'Trudeau targets O’Toole over Alberta’s COVID-19 crisis' Trudeau targets O’Toole over Alberta’s COVID-19 crisis

Trudeau targets O’Toole over Alberta’s COVID-19 crisis

Wall suggested there wouldn’t be a lot of support for that kind of platform from the base in Saskatchewan and Alberta.

“A lot of the base wasn’t real happy with it, especially the carbon tax,” he said.

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“At least I think it should be on the radar for the leader and the caucus to be concerned about that. I think they ought to be mindful of the feelings of the Tory base in Western Canada,” Wall said.

Read more: Trudeau says Alberta, Saskatchewan made ‘wrong choices’ during COVID-19 pandemic

Political experts also raised Premier Jason Kenney’s handling of the fourth wave of the COVID-19 pandemic and whether or not that may have impacted support for the federal Conservatives in the election.

Click to play video: 'Calls grow for Kenney to resign over Alberta’s COVID-19 crisis' Calls grow for Kenney to resign over Alberta’s COVID-19 crisis

Calls grow for Kenney to resign over Alberta’s COVID-19 crisis

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