Election updates: Ottawa incumbent MPs cruise to victory as Liberals look to form minority government

Catherine McKenna
Catherine McKenna

Ottawa voters returned their incumbent MPs to power in the 2019 federal election as the Liberal Party looks to return to power nationally – albeit in a weaker position of power.

Ottawa Centre MP Catherine McKenna retained her seat against NDP candidate Emilie Taman with 48.5 per cent of the vote. McKenna, Ottawa’s only cabinet minister when parliament was dissolved last month, promised in her campaign to restore the Prince of Wales Bridge as an interprovincial crossing for pedestrians and cyclists and to expand the innovation centre at Bayview Yards.

In her victory speech, McKenna told supporters that it had been a “tough campaign” both in Ottawa Centre and across the country and said she hoped that a “more positive political culture” would emerge in the aftermath of Monday’s vote. She reiterated her campaign’s infrastructure promises and said she would look to provide additional affordable housing in Ottawa, introduce more electric buses into OC Transpo’s fleet and work to make Ottawa a “clean-tech hub.”

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Other Liberal incumbents – Ottawa South’s David McGuinty, Ottawa-Vanier’s Mona Fortier, Nepean’s Chandra Arya, Kanata-Carleton’s Karen McCrimmon, Ottawa West-Nepean’s Anita Vandenbeld – also fended off challengers in their respective ridings.

Orléans remained red despite a new name on the ballot. Former MPP Marie-France Lalonde made the jump to federal politics after Liberal incumbent Andrew Leslie opted not to run in the 2019 election.

Longtime Conservaitve MP Pierre Poilievre held off Liberal contender Chris Rodgers with 46.6 per cent of the vote in Carleton.

It was a similar story on the other side of the Ottawa River, where Liberal MPs Greg Fergus and Steven MacKinnon held onto Hull-Aylmer and Gatineau, respectively.

Justin Trudeau is expected to remain prime minister but the Liberals may need the support of one or more opposition parties to govern. The Liberals won the most seats in the election, with 157 ridings showing red, but the incumbent government did not meet the threshold to form a majority and will now attempt to govern from a minority position.

The 2019 federal election could have long-term effects on Ottawa’s infrastructure landscape as well. City officials will be looking to the federal government (as well as the province) for help funding the third phase of light rail, for example.

Securing funding for large infrastructure projects might be more difficult from a minority government. Budget bills tend to become votes of confidence for minority governments, which opposition parties could use as an opportunity to prompt a new election should the fiscal plan not meet their standards.

– With files from Craig Lord, Peter Kovessy and Canadian Press

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