Polls have closed in Newfoundland and Labrador, launching what’s expected to be a nail-biter finish to the federal election campaign.
Seven seats are at stake in the province. The Liberals held six of them and the NDP one heading into the 36-day campaign.
Liberal candidates are leading in four of the seven seats as early results roll in, but the parties are keeping a close eye on St. John’s East and Bonavista-Burin-Trinity.
The NDP hold their only Atlantic Canadian seat in the downtown riding St. John’s East, but Jack Harris, who won the riding back from the Liberals in 2019, isn’t running again.
The party is hoping labour leader Mary Shortall will be elected as his replacement.
Meanwhile, Liberal incumbent Churence Rogers in Bonavista-Burin-Trinity holds an early lead over Conservative Sharon
Rogers had Chrystia Freeland, the country’s deputy prime minister and finance minister, campaigning for him last weekend.
With polls suggesting a dead heat between the Liberals and Conservatives, neither of them within reach of a majority, every one of the country’s 338 ridings will matter.
Trudeau pulled the plug on his minority Liberal government on Aug. 15, a little less than two years after Canadians first reduced the Liberals to a minority.
He argued that Canada was at a pivotal moment in history and Canadians deserved a chance to decide how they wanted to finish the fight against COVID-19 and build back the shattered economy.
But the timing of his election call, coming as a fourth wave of the coronavirus was beginning to sweep the country, quickly sapped the goodwill Trudeau had built up among Canadians for his government’s handling of the pandemic over the previous 18 months.
And it gave rival leaders an opening to attack Trudeau’s character, describing him as a selfish egoist who can’t be trusted to put the interests of Canadians ahead of his personal ambition to secure a majority.