The results of Thursday’s election in Ontario have sent two Liberal cabinet ministers and multi-term MPPs packing – two major upsets in a political sea change provincially that stripped the Liberals of official party status.
Almost half the voters in Ottawa Centre cast their ballots for the provincial New Democrats, giving NDP candidate Joel Harden enough support to take out former Liberal MPP and Attorney General Yasir Naqvi, who had been vying for a fourth consecutive term.
Harden, an academic and longtime social justice advocate, sealed a comfortable victory with 46.1 per cent of the vote in the riding, with Naqvi landing in second place with 32.8 per cent.
In Ottawa West-Nepean, PC candidate Jeremy Roberts defeated longtime Liberal MPP, ex-infrastructure minister and former Ottawa mayor Bob Chiarelli.
Roberts barely eked out a victory, however, in what ended up being one of the tightest three-way races of the night. The PC candidate, born and raised in Nepean, landed only 176 more votes than his NDP rival Chandra Pasma.
Harden’s and Roberts’ respective wins follow tough, hard-fought campaigns in both those ridings, where the Liberal incumbents tried and failed to overcome mounting and widespread frustration and anger with their party and leader.
Naqvi’s and Chiarelli’s losses come days after Liberal Leader Kathleen Wynne conceded her party would not form government after the election – while still imploring Ontarians to back their local Liberal candidates in order to prevent either the NDP or the Progressive Conservatives from sealing a majority government.
Ottawa Centre is an ethnically, linguistically and economically diverse urban riding – and home to many university students, bureaucrats, political staffers and young professionals. While the riding bore the Liberal banner provincially for the last 23 years, it has historically flip-flopped between the Liberals and the New Democrats.
Naqvi was first elected to the provincial legislature in 2007, and voters backed him twice more in 2011 and 2014. PC candidate and management consultant Colleen McCleery came in third place in the Ottawa Centre race, with 16 per cent of the vote.
Ottawa West-Nepean has been represented by a Liberal at Queen’s Park since 2003, making Roberts the riding’s first PC MPP in 15 years. Chiarelli was first elected in a 2010 byelection and won 29.3 per cent of the vote in the 2018 election.
Even though progressive voters flocked in droves towards the NDP across the province, three incumbent Ottawa-area Liberals managed to keep a grip on their seats.
Liberal incumbent and cabinet minister Nathalie Des Rosiers locked down Ottawa-Vanier – a longtime Liberal fortress – for a second time, with 42.9 per cent of the vote.
Des Rosiers, former dean of law at the University of Ottawa, first ran for office in a 2016 byelection – beating her PC rival by just shy of 6,000 votes. This time, the NDP candidate, Lyra Evans, was the one to beat. Evans came in second place, with 29.7 per cent of the vote.
The Liberal incumbent in Ottawa South, John Fraser, obtained 39.7 of the vote in his riding. Behind him were PC candidate and former Ottawa city councillor Karin Howard and NDP candidate Eleanor Fast, with 29.3 per cent and 27.1 per cent support, respectively.
Ottawa South has gone Liberal since 1987. Fraser was first elected in former Liberal premier Dalton McGuinty’s old riding in a 2014 byelection.
Meanwhile, Marie-France Lalonde secured a second term as Liberal MPP for the suburban riding of Orléans with 39 per cent of the vote, ahead of PC candidate Cameron Montgomery.
Here are the results for the other Ottawa-area ridings, all of which saw PC victories:
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