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Other parties gain ground on Conservatives in federal Lethbridge riding

Click to play video: 'Other parties gain ground on Conservatives in federal Lethbridge riding' Other parties gain ground on Conservatives in federal Lethbridge riding
WATCH ABOVE: After Monday’s federal election, the local picture remains virtually unchanged, with Lethbridge Conservative Rachael Harder elected for a third term. But while she secured victory by a comfortable margin, it wasn’t as comfortable as her first two wins. Erik Bay explains – Sep 21, 2021

The political landscape looks very familiar for Lethbridge voters after Monday’s federal election, both locally and nationally.

The Liberals secured a second straight minority government.

Read more: Trudeau’s minority government needs a dancing partner. Who will it be?

In Lethbridge, Conservative Rachael Harder will continue to represent the riding in Ottawa.

“I don’t take this for granted. My team and I worked really hard for that, so we’re really excited about this victory,” Harder said.

Click to play video: 'Canada election 2021: Rachael Harder re-elected in Lethbridge' Canada election 2021: Rachael Harder re-elected in Lethbridge
Canada election 2021: Rachael Harder re-elected in Lethbridge – Sep 20, 2021

Harder won comfortably, securing nearly 56 per cent of the vote. However, that was at least 10 per cent lower than her Conservative colleagues in southern Alberta’s three other ridings.

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Read more: Rachael Harder re-elected for 3rd term as Lethbridge MP

That’s also down from her results in 2019, when she received 65.7 per cent of the vote, with the NDP, Liberals and PPC all improving on their results from two years ago.

University of Lethbridge political sociologist Dr. Trevor Harrison says that’s reflective of the west changing politically.

“The urban ridings are signalling that [change] and the Conservative party is perhaps not reaching out to groups of people, particularly millennials, as they have in the past,” Harrison said.

Read more: Conservative support down in Alberta; Liberals take at least 1 seat, NDP wins 2

NDP candidate Elaine Perez finished second, with more than 19 per cent of the vote and says the gains reflect the different perspectives within the riding.

“There are lots of people here who believe in the NDP and the things they want to do,” she said.

Click to play video: 'Lethbridge NDP candidate Elaine Perez reacts to federal election results' Lethbridge NDP candidate Elaine Perez reacts to federal election results
Lethbridge NDP candidate Elaine Perez reacts to federal election results – Sep 21, 2021

Coming in third, Liberal candidate Devon Hargreaves says while the result wasn’t ideal, he believes there is an opportunity for future growth.

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“We do have a hunger for a progressive voice in Ottawa, so it’s great to come together with like-minded individuals and make that an option on the ballot,” Hargreaves said.

Click to play video: 'Lethbridge Liberal candidate Devon Hargreaves reacts to federal election results' Lethbridge Liberal candidate Devon Hargreaves reacts to federal election results
Lethbridge Liberal candidate Devon Hargreaves reacts to federal election results – Sep 21, 2021

Lethbridge’s biggest jump went to the PPC. Kimmie Hovan received 7.2 per cent of the popular vote compared to Grant Hepworth, who received just 1.6 per cent for the party in 2019.

The party passed the Greens with 5.1 per cent of the national vote, qualifying them for the next federal leaders’ debate, but Harrison doesn’t believe the party’s local momentum will carry forward.

“I think we can view this as… a pretty safe protest vote,” Harrison said.

“The Conservatives in [southern Alberta] still won by enormous margins, so if you wanted to register a protest but didn’t want the Liberals to win, you could vote for the PPC and there’s no loss there.”
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In a video posted to her Facebook page, Hovan called the result an “amazing accomplishment.”

“The support I received in such a small amount of time was overwhelming,” Hovan said.

Independent candidate Kim Siever finished fifth with 1.9 per cent of the vote, while the Christian Heritage Party’s Geoffrey Capp finished with just one per cent.

According to Elections Canada, with 254 out of 255 polls reporting Tuesday afternoon, 62.9 per cent of eligible voters cast a ballot.

That’s down from 2019 when voter turnout was 69.1 per cent.

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