A Race to the Hot Seats

4 minute read

With all signs pointing to a federal election this fall, the House of Commons bid farewell to several long-time MPs who have confirmed they will not seek re-election. Last week saw some emotional departures in the House when MPs were given the floor to deliver a final speech. 

Saying Goodbye to Some Key Players

Well-known Liberal MP and former Innovation Minister, Navdeep Bains, has been one of the most publicized losses for the Liberals. He announced he would not be running again in January. Bains has been an MP, originally representing the riding of Mississauga—Brampton South, since 2004. His current riding of Mississauga—Malton gave him an impressive 37.1% winning margin in 2019’s federal election. Another loss for the Liberals is that long-time Malpeque MP, Wayne Easter, will not run again. Easter first won his PEI riding in 1993 and served under Prime Minister Chrétien as Canada’s Solicitor General. More recently, Easter has been the Chair of the high-profile Finance Committee in the House of Commons. For the Conservatives, Peter Kent, who has held the Toronto-area riding of Thornhill since 2008 announced late last year that he would not seek re-election. Kent previously served in Prime Minister Harper’s cabinet as Minister of the Environment. Jagmeet Singh’s team will be losing Mumilaaq Qaqqaq, who served as NDP MP for Nunavut. She was a strong Indigenous voice, fighting for housing, clean water, and food security in the North. She serves as NDP’s Critic for Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency and Northern Affairs.  

All four of these seats are seen as relatively safe for their respective parties, so strategists will be looking for a few star candidates that will help boost the national campaign.

Where things get interesting

In other ridings with departing MPs, the races will be decidedly closer and a lot more fun to watch. One of the hottest regions of the country will be the area around Hamilton. Several of those ridings had tight winning margins in the last election and without an incumbent, the chances of an upset are high. 

Flamborough—Glanbrook will also need new candidates. Conservative MP David Sweet, who represents the riding of Flamborough-Glanbrook is retiring. While he’s been an MP since 2006, he only won his seat in 2019 by a 2.6% margin. Across the city, a major player for the NDP, Scott Duvall, announced he will not be running. Duvall only secured Hamilton Mountain by 5.8% previously. Lastly, in Hamilton, MP for Hamilton East—Stoney Creek, Bob Bratina, will not be seeking re-election. Bratina previously won by a healthier 10% margin, but much of that stemmed from his personal popularity as a former mayor. 

Both the Liberals and the NDP like their chances to make gains in the Hamilton area, while the Conservatives are hoping to hold on to what they already have.

Other contests to watch

As nomination battles heat up across the country, here are a few other things to keep an eye on.

In Atlantic Canada, there will be a fight for the Newfoundland and Labrador seat held by Jack Harris. He won St. John’s East for the NDP in the last election by 13.5%. With his retirement, the riding is up for grabs. Party organizers will also be paying a lot of attention to Fredericton and Miramichi-Grand Lake. Fredericton’s MP recently crossed the floor from the Green Party to the Liberals, while Liberal MP Pat Finnigan only won his northern New Brunswick seat by 1.1%.

Quebec is another province that will see a lot of activity on the political barbeque circuit this summer. The Conservative Party’s opposition to Bill C-10, legislation updating the Broadcast Act, has cost them some support in the province. The Liberals and the BQ feel that some Conservative seats are now in play. The Liberals are also targeting the riding of Trois-Rivières. Bloc Québécois MP Louise Charbonneau announced she wouldn’t be running again and only won in 2019 with a 6% margin. 

Finally, there’s Alberta. While the overall provincial numbers are solidly Tory blue, there are a few soft spots for the NDP and the Liberals to exploit. Most of those are the ridings in and around Edmonton. Look for some high-profile candidates to announce that they’re running over the summer, including the Mayor of Edmonton Don Iveson.

Recent polls have Justin Trudeau’s Liberals in majority territory, but NDP support is up and the Conservatives can never be counted out. It all makes for a summer of political manoeuvring and strategizing which means months of entertainment for all the parliamentary junkies who are regular readers of Summa’s Look Ahead.

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