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The New Democrats are a long way from their historic breakthrough in the 2011 federal election under Jack Layton. The party lost in its bid for power under Tom Mulcair in 2015 and now — under leader Jagmeet Singh — the New Democrats are struggling.

The NDP’s fundraising has been anemic and its support in the polls has slipped. Outside of Quebec, where its support has collapsed, the NDP could be pushed out of some of its traditional strongholds in this fall’s election. But the party also says it believes it could make inroads into new territory, particularly in the Greater Toronto Area.

How the New Democrats do in this election won’t matter solely to the NDP itself. With other parties circling the party’s vulnerable seats, its performance also could help decide who forms the next government.

What the NDP’s hoping for ...

New Democrats say they’re optimistic about the odds of some of their former MPs winning back the seats they lost four years ago. They’re also targeting diverse ridings where they think Jagmeet Singh, the country’s first visible-minority leader of a major party, could attract new voters to the NDP.

Atlantic Canada

The New Democrats were shut out in Atlantic Canada in 2015 and have struggled in a series of provincial elections since. The party is hoping to regain some of the seats it lost in the region four years ago, but it is facing an uphill climb.

The NDP’s return to Newfoundland and Labrador depends on Jack Harris, who won St. John’s East for the party in 2008 and 2011. It was a close race in 2015, when the Liberals’ Nick Whalen beat Harris by just 1.4 percentage points — a rare win for the Liberals in a riding that mostly has voted Conservative in the past. But the Conservatives captured just 6.5 per cent of the vote here in 2015, suggesting the contest will again be a two-horse race between Whalen and Harris.

St. John’s East — Popular vote

2015 federal election

LIB 46.7
NDP 45.3
CON 6.5
GRN 1.1

Greater Toronto Area

The NDP has never had much success in the wider suburbs around Toronto, but the party is hoping that Jagmeet Singh will change that. The New Democrats have had more success in downtown Toronto in the past, though they lost all of their seats in the city in the last election. The party is hopeful it can win some of them back.

Davenport, a densely-populated riding where nearly half of commuters take public transit to work, is a key target for the NDP in downtown Toronto, where the party was shut out in 2015. It has been a swing riding at the provincial level over the last decade; the provincial NDP took it by a margin of 42 points in 2018. Federally, however, Davenport was solidly Liberal from 1962 until 2011, when the NDP’s Andrew Cash made a breakthrough. The Liberals’ Julie Dzerowicz wrestled the riding back in 2015 by a margin of just three points; she’ll face off against Cash again in October.

Davenport — Popular vote

2015 federal election

LIB 44.3
NDP 41.4
CON 10.6
GRN 3.1

Two-thirds of the population in Brampton East is South Asian, according to the 2016 census. It’s where NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh was twice elected to the Ontario legislature, and where his brother Gurratan won for the NDP in the 2018 provincial election. If Singh is going to deliver previously untapped voters to the NDP, then he has to win here. The fact that the Liberals won’t have an incumbent on the ballot improves the NDP’s chances.

Brampton East — Popular vote

2015 federal election

LIB 52.3
CON 23.5
NDP 23.0
GRN 1.1

Hamilton is usually friendly territory for New Democrats. The federal party won Hamilton East–Stoney Creek in 2006, 2008 and 2011, before former Hamilton mayor Bob Bratina took it for the Liberals in 2015. If the New Democrats are going to reconnect with their labour base, then this riding — in which about 16 per cent of the labour force works in manufacturing — should be high on their list.

Hamilton East–Stoney Creek — Popular vote

2015 federal election

LIB 39.0
NDP 32.7
CON 25.3
GRN 2.6

British Columbia

B.C. could be key to the NDP having a good election. It is the province in which its support in the polls has held up the most and it is the only place in which the New Democrats form the provincial government.

After Brampton East, Surrey–Newton has the most South Asians and Indian immigrants of any riding in the country. While the New Democrats have had some individual wins in the region — they won a portion of this riding in 2011 and the provincial NDP holds the area — this is another riding that the party is hoping it can win thanks in part to Jagmeet Singh’s appeal. The riding has swung between the Liberals, New Democrats and Conservatives for quite some time, but one constant has been Liberal incumbent Sukh Dhaliwal: win or lose (he lost twice), he has carried the party’s banner here in every election since 2004.

Surrey–Newton — Popular vote

2015 federal election

LIB 56.0
NDP 26.1
CON 15.7
GRN 2.2

... and what the NDP worries about

The NDP has fewer incumbents running for re-election than other parties, putting those seats at risk. And even where the NDP does have incumbents, the party can’t take anything for granted.

Southwestern Ontario

The urban areas in southwestern Ontario tend to be closely-fought three-way battles between the Liberals, Conservatives and NDP. The New Democrats are hoping they will not end up on the bottom of that pile, particularly in ridings where they lack incumbents.

One of the ridings where the lack of an incumbent could hurt the NDP is London–Fanshawe, where four-term NDP MP Irene Mathyssen has opted to take her name off the ballot. A bellwether both federally and provincially until recently, this was a close three-way race in 2015 and both the Liberals and Conservatives will be looking to take advantage of the NDP’s lack of incumbency here. That’s part of the reason why that controversial Saudi LAV deal is a particularly thorny issue for both parties — those LAVs are built in London–Fanshawe.

London–Fanshawe — Popular vote

2015 federal election

NDP 37.8
LIB 31.4
CON 27.2
GRN 2.9

The NDP’s win in Essex in 2015 was a significant breakthrough, as it was one of the few ridings where the party’s support actually increased over 2011. With just over a fifth of the labour force in the manufacturing sector — one of the highest rates in the country — the future of the automobile industry and the re-negotiated free trade agreement with the United States are both major issues in this riding. The contest is largely between the NDP and the Conservatives in Essex, but the resonance of the NDP’s criticisms of the Liberal government’s approach to free trade will be tested.

Essex — Popular vote

2015 federal election

NDP 41.4
CON 35.7
LIB 20.9
GRN 1.9

Manitoba and Saskatchewan

The NDP holds seats in both the northern parts of these two provinces and in the urban centres of Winnipeg, Saskatoon and Regina. To be a national party with representation across the country, the New Democrats will need to hold some of these seats.

One of the ridings with the youngest voters in the country, Churchill–Keewatinook Aski has the most residents who claim First Nations identity (70.3 per cent) of any riding in Canada. In 2015, the Liberals nearly took this riding away from two-time NDP leadership candidate Niki Ashton by making significant inroads among Indigenous voters. The judgment of those voters on the government’s approach to reconciliation likely will decide this fall whether the Liberals are able to take a seat they’ve only won twice over the last 65 years. Judy Klassen, who scored an upset for the Manitoba Liberals in the 2016 provincial election here, will be carrying the federal party’s banner this time.

Churchill–Keewatinook Aski — Popular vote

2015 federal election

NDP 45.0
LIB 42.0
CON 10.3
GRN 1.8

Voters in Elmwood–Transcona like to keep things close. The NDP’s Daniel Blaikie beat Conservative incumbent Lawrence Toet by a margin of just 61 votes in 2015. Toet defeated the NDP’s Jim Maloway by 300 votes in 2011. But that Toet win was the exception — the only time since 1979 that the riding or its predecessors hadn’t picked a New Democrat. Blaikie and Toet will be facing off again this fall and, with the party slumping in the polls, the NDP might find it difficult to keep its only toehold in Winnipeg.

Elmwood–Transcona — Popular vote

2015 federal election

NDP 34.1
CON 34.0
LIB 29.5
GRN 2.4

The New Democrats in Regina and Saskatoon were hamstrung for years by rural-urban ridings that combined parts of the cities with wide sections of conservative-voting rural areas, but that changed in 2015 when the two cities got urban ridings of their own. That helped the NDP win in a close three-way race in Regina–Lewvan, but the seat could be up for grabs now after the party booted Erin Weir from caucus for allegedly inappropriate behaviour. Without an incumbent, and with a portion of the local party apparatus having backed Weir throughout the dispute, the New Democrats look hobbled — which presents an opportunity to the Conservatives.

Regina–Lewvan — Popular vote

2015 federal election

NDP 35.2
CON 34.9
LIB 27.5
GRN 1.8

The Greater Toronto Area is key to the Conservatives’ election hopes. But the GTA alone won’t be enough to put the party in power: Conservatives also will need to defeat Liberals in Atlantic Canada, southwestern and eastern Ontario and in the suburbs of Western Canadian cities like Winnipeg and Vancouver.

There are some opportunities for the Conservatives on the East Coast, particularly where some high-profile Liberal incumbents have retired. Western Canada also is going to be tough going for the Liberals.

But a few ridings in Ontario that otherwise would have been high on the Conservatives’ list of soft targets might be harder for them to win than previously thought — thanks to the unpopularity of Doug Ford’s Progressive Conservative government.

Atlantic Canada

The Liberals swept all 32 of Atlantic Canada’s seats in 2015, a feat that was always going to be hard to repeat. But the retirement of some incumbent MPs could flip some traditional strongholds from Liberal red to Conservative blue.

Since 1957, the Liberals have won Kings–Hants only once - in 1993, when Scott Brison wasn’t their candidate. Brison wasn’t a Liberal candidate in 1997 and 2000 either, when he won the riding as a Progressive Conservative. Brison made this a safe Liberal seat, one of the few that survived the cull of the 2011 federal election. But Brison resigned at the beginning of the year, touching off a sequence of events that ended with the departure of Jody Wilson-Raybould and Jane Philpott from the Liberal cabinet and caucus and the party’s subsequent drop in support. Now that Brison isn’t on the ballot, will Kings–Hants return to its blue roots?

Kings–Hants — Popular vote

2015 federal election

LIB 70.7
CON 18.6
NDP 6.4
GRN 3.4

Mark Eyking nearly lost Sydney–Victoria to the Conservatives in 2011, holding on by just 2.1 percentage points. In 2015, he beat the Conservatives by 63 points. Eyking is not running for re-election this time — he’s one of five Nova Scotia Liberals who have thrown in the towel — and that could open up an opportunity for the Conservatives. They’re running Eddie Orrell, PC MLA since 2011, and are hoping to repeat some of the successes the provincial Tories have enjoyed on Cape Breton Island. The Liberals are vulnerable in Atlantic Canada and dropping Sydney–Victoria, which has voted Liberal in 11 of the last 12 elections, would be a significant loss.

Sydney–Victoria — Popular vote

2015 federal election

LIB 73.2
NDP 13.1
CON 10.6
GRN 2.5

Southern Ontario

Outside the GTA, there are some key ridings the Conservatives won in 2011 that they’d probably need to win again in 2019 in order to form a majority government.

Glengarry–Prescott–Russell was once one of the safest Liberal ridings in the country until Pierre Lemieux and the Conservatives won it in 2006. Francis Drouin took the seat back for the Liberals in 2015 and is heading for a re-match with Lemieux. But in this majority-francophone riding — the only one in Canada outside of Quebec or New Brunswick — the cuts made by Doug Ford’s PC government to Franco-Ontarian services could prove to be an obstacle to Lemieux’s comeback plans, and an example of how Ford might be a problem for Andrew Scheer on the campaign trail in Ontario.

Glengarry–Prescott–Russell — Popular vote

2015 federal election

LIB 53.3
CON 36.4
NDP 7.9
GRN 1.8

The Conservative path to a majority government runs through the suburbs in places like Toronto and Vancouver, but in Ottawa as well. The Liberals pulled off a big win in Kanata–Carleton to the west of the capital when Karen McCrimmon nearly doubled her party’s share of the vote between 2011 and 2015, capturing 51 per cent. Considering its history, this riding — which has voted blue at the provincial level in every election since 1923 — should be high on the list of Conservative pick-ups.

Kanata–Carleton — Popular vote

2015 federal election

LIB 51.3
CON 39.2
NDP 6.8
GRN 2.7

With a significant francophone population, Orléans was long a Liberal stronghold: the party lost it only twice throughout the 20th century. But it has been a bellwether since 1993, voting with the party that has formed government ever since. The Liberals won it back in 2015 with Andrew Leslie, but the retired lieutenant-general is not running for re-election. Marie-France Lalonde, who has held the seat for the provincial Liberals since 2014, will try to take his place. She’ll be facing off against former Liberal candidate and leadership hopeful David Bertschi, who will be carrying the Conservative banner this time.

Orléans — Popular vote

2015 federal election

LIB 59.7
CON 30.5
NDP 8.0
GRN 1.8

Since 1957, the riding anchored by the city of Peterborough has voted with the party that formed government in 19 of 20 general elections — making Peterborough–Kawartha the quintessential bellwether riding and an obvious target for the Conservatives. The Liberals are boosted by the presence of a cabinet minister — Maryam Monsef, minister for women and gender equality — but the riding was won by a relatively modest margin of just under nine points in 2015. Because of its history and how it ranks on the list of winnable seats for both parties, the party that wins here has a very good chance of taking power in Ottawa.

Peterborough–Kawartha — Popular vote

2015 federal election

LIB 43.8
CON 35.1
NDP 18.7
GRN 2.2

When Cambridge swings, it tends to swing for good. After being dominated by the Progressive Conservatives for years, the riding was held by New Democrats from 1964 until 1979, when it voted for the PCs for four terms. Then the Liberals won it between 1993 and 2004, when it went over to Stephen Harper’s Conservatives. In 2015, Bryan May of the Liberals took it back for the party by a margin of less than five percentage points. A manufacturing centre won by the Ontario Tories in six of the last seven provincial elections, Cambridge is the sort of riding the Conservatives need to win back if they’re going to form government.

Cambridge — Popular vote

2015 federal election

LIB 43.2
CON 38.6
NDP 13.9
GRN 3.2

Southwestern Ontario was an important part of Stephen Harper’s majority win in 2011, when his party captured the small urban centres in this part of the province. The Liberals took most of them back in 2015, but if Andrew Scheer is to replicate Harper’s success he needs to win seats like Kitchener South–Hespeler. The Conservatives won it by a wide margin in 2011 but lost it by just six points in 2015 to the Liberals’ Marwan Tabbara. If the Conservatives can’t take this seat back, even a minority government might be out of the picture for Scheer.

Kitchener South–Hespeler — Popular vote

2015 federal election

LIB 42.3
CON 36.7
NDP 15.6
GRN 3.7

Western Canada

There aren’t many Liberal seats for the Conservatives to target in Western Canada, but their seats in suburban Winnipeg and the Greater Vancouver Region should be low-hanging fruit.

The Liberals more than quintupled their share of the vote in Kildonan–St. Paul between 2011 and 2015, winning a seat that had been held by the Conservatives since 2004. A riding that splits between the Manitoba PCs and New Democrats at the provincial level, this is a key target for the Conservatives in suburban Winnipeg. It was close last time: MaryAnn Mihychuk beat the Conservative candidate by less than three percentage points.

Kildonan–St. Paul — Popular vote

2015 federal election

LIB 42.7
CON 39.8
NDP 14.3
GRN 1.8

When the Liberals won South Surrey–White Rock in a 2017 byelection, it was the first time since 1949 that the party had captured a seat in the area. Before that victory by former mayor and 20-year B.C. Liberal MLA Gordie Hogg, the Conservatives and their predecessor parties had held sway in the riding uninterrupted for 43 years. It’s just one of the many suburban Greater Vancouver ridings the Conservatives need to win if they are to form a government; the party is hoping to take it back with a re-match between Hogg and former cabinet minister Kerry-Lynne Findlay.

South Surrey–White Rock — Popular vote

2015 federal election

LIB 47.5
CON 42.1
NDP 4.9
GRN 4.1

At 47 per cent, Steveston–Richmond East has the third-most Chinese Canadians of any riding in the country. The riding is typically Conservative territory and voted for the party and its predecessors in every election since 1972, with three exceptions: in 1993, in 1997 and in 2015, when Joe Peschisolido — a former Canadian Alliance MP — won it for the Liberals. The Conservatives hold the neighbouring seat of Richmond Centre and are looking to regain control of both seats in Richmond, which they managed to do in both the 2008 and 2011 elections.

Steveston–Richmond East — Popular vote

2015 federal election

LIB 45.1
CON 38.5
NDP 12.1
GRN 3.7

Voters in Quebec have been fickle in recent years. The Bloc Québécois won a majority of the province’s federal seats in 2008; the New Democrats took most of them in 2011 before being pushed to one side by the Liberals in 2015. At the provincial level, Quebec’s last three governments have been run by three different parties.

A lot of seats are up for grabs in Quebec this fall because of the NDP’s collapse in support in the province. The Liberals, Bloc and Conservatives are all covetously eyeing those seats — and all three parties have the potential for gains.

But Quebec has been the most unpredictable province over the last few elections. Both the Liberals and Conservatives are counting on Quebecers to help them win a majority government. What will Quebec do this time?

Conservatives targeting the nationalist vote

The Coalition Avenir Québec’s big win in the 2018 provincial election provides the Conservatives with a roadmap for gains in October. The Conservatives will be hard-pressed to win most of the seats François Legault’s party captured a year ago, but they could paint some parts of the province Tory blue for the first time since the 1980s.

It was a big breakthrough for the Liberals when they won Lac-Saint-Jean from the Conservatives in a 2017 byelection, as this was the riding where the party put up its worst result in the country east of Saskatchewan in the 2015 federal election. The profile of local mayor Richard Hébert helped the Liberals win the seat — which had voted Conservative or Bloc Québécois in every election since 1984 — but the party will face a challenge in holding it. The Conservatives are angling for a comeback here, which should offer a real test of the party’s overtures to the Quebec nationalist vote.

Lac-Saint-Jean — Popular vote

2015 federal election

LIB 38.6
CON 25.0
BQ 23.4
NDP 11.7
GRN 1.3

One of the two ridings the Liberals won in Quebec City in 2015, Louis-Hébert has been a tough seat for incumbents to hold. The last time a party won the seat over two consecutive elections was in 1997. Since then, the seat has been held at one time or another by the Bloc Québécois, Conservatives, New Democrats and Liberals. One factor that could complicate the Conservatives’ chances of winning the seat again is Maxime Bernier’s People’s Party — every vote his candidate captures improves the odds that the Liberals’ Joël Lightbound will break the anti-incumbent trend in Louis-Hébert.

Louis-Hébert — Popular vote

2015 federal election

LIB 34.8
CON 27.2
NDP 20.8
BQ 14.4
GRN 2.5

Trois-Rivières was a Bloc Québécois stronghold for nearly 20 years until the New Democrats won it in 2011. But the NDP’s Robert Aubin only held on to his seat by less than a thousand votes in 2015, when the Liberals finished a close second. While that could make this riding low-hanging fruit for the Liberals, the Conservatives also have high hopes in former Trois-Rivières mayor Yves Lévesque. His performance will be a test of the Conservative strategy of banking on high-profile local candidates to make inroads in francophone, nationalist ridings like Trois-Rivières — which voted for the CAQ in last year’s provincial election, as well as Mario Dumont’s ADQ in its short-lived 2007 breakthrough.

Trois-Rivières — Popular vote

2015 federal election

NDP 31.8
LIB 30.2
CON 18.6
BQ 17.0
GRN 1.7

Once a Liberal stronghold, La Pointe-de-l’Île hasn’t voted for the party since 1980. Instead, it has opted for nationalist candidates in nine of the last 10 elections — Brian Mulroney’s PCs in the 1980s and the Bloc Québécois in every election since 1993, with the single exception of 2011, when the riding was swept up in the NDP’s orange wave. This time, Mario Beaulieu, the Bloc incumbent and a former leader of the party, is hoping to hold off not only the Liberals but also the Conservatives, who have a local mayor on the ballot. The Conservatives’ odds are slim, but the CAQ has its only presence on the island of Montreal here.

La Pointe-de-l’Île — Popular vote

2015 federal election

BQ 33.6
LIB 28.6
NDP 26.8
CON 8.0
GRN 2.0

The suburban region around Montreal is coveted territory for both the Bloc Québécois and the Liberals — and the key to winning here is to pick up the votes the NDP has left on the table. The Bloc will be trying to hold onto Mirabel, a seat it has won in every election since its founding, with the exception of the NDP’s 2011 breakthrough. The Liberals also will be looking to pick up a seat the Bloc managed to win with less than one-in-three votes in 2015. But if the Conservatives are able to break through somewhere in the Greater Montreal area, Mirabel might be where they do it.

Mirabel — Popular vote

2015 federal election

BQ 31.5
NDP 30.1
LIB 26.1
CON 10.1
GRN 2.2

Does the NDP have a future in Quebec?

Quebec was key to the NDP’s rise to Official Opposition status in the 2011 election. But after losing most of its seats in the province in 2015, does the party have a near-term future in Quebec? And which party is best positioned to take the most advantage of the NDP’s struggles?

Berthier–Maskinongé was one of the rare ridings in Quebec where the NDP’s share of the vote actually increased between 2011 and 2015 — largely thanks to Ruth Ellen Brosseau, the parachute candidate from Ottawa who made her home in the riding after unexpectedly winning it in the NDP’s orange wave. Few NDP incumbents have a reasonable hope of re-election in Quebec, but Brosseau is one of them. If she does not survive, however, the future of the NDP in the province will be even grimmer than it already appears.

Berthier–Maskinongé — Popular vote

2015 federal election

NDP 42.2
BQ 25.8
LIB 20.3
CON 10.2
GRN 1.6

Drummond was nearly a four-way race in 2015, with the fourth-place Conservatives finishing 12.8 points behind the first-place New Democrats. That puts the seat high on the target list for the Liberals, Bloc Québécois and Conservatives. And having earned less than one-third of the vote last time, the NDP will be hard-pressed to hold the seat. Depending on how the vote splits, any one of the other three parties could come out on top — a situation that could repeat itself in other parts of Quebec.

Drummond — Popular vote

2015 federal election

NDP 30.5
LIB 26.5
BQ 22.8
CON 17.7
GRN 2.4

If the Bloc Québécois wins Beloeil–Chambly, it will accomplish something it hasn’t since 2008 — by sending its leader to the House of Commons. The New Democrats gutted the Bloc’s support in the last two elections, but with the NDP’s support down steeply the Bloc could make a comeback in many of the seats it lost in the suburbs around the island of Montreal. Losing Beloeil–Chambly to Bloc Leader Yves-François Blanchet also would be a symbolic loss for the NDP: it was here in a 1990 byelection that the New Democrats won their first seat ever in the province.

Beloeil–Chambly — Popular vote

2015 federal election

NDP 31.1
LIB 29.3
BQ 27.7
CON 9.3
GRN 2.3

Laurier–Sainte-Marie is densely-populated, highly-educated and has the second-most renters and constituents employed in the arts and entertainment industry of any riding in the country. A bastion of former Bloc Québécois leader Gilles Duceppe, the riding went to the NDP’s Hélène Laverdière in 2011 and stayed with her in 2015. But Laverdière is not running again and the Liberals are hoping to install Steven Guilbault, a well-known environmental activist, in her place. Laverdière was a giant-killer when she took down Duceppe in this sovereignist fortress, but the election of Guilbault would demonstrate how Quebec’s politics are shifting toward a focus on the climate question rather than the "national question".

Laurier–Sainte-Marie — Popular vote

2015 federal election

NDP 38.3
BQ 28.7
LIB 23.7
CON 4.1
GRN 3.5

The Liberals, Conservatives and Bloc are all hoping to benefit from the collapse of the NDP in Quebec — and those hopes intersect in Saint-Hyacinthe–Bagot. The New Democrats won the seat with just 28.7 per cent of the vote in 2015 and the Liberals do not need much of a boost to take it for the first time since 1980. The Bloc would like to capture the seat, which it held between 1993 and 2011, while the Conservatives, who finished a strong fourth in 2015, also have a history in this part of the province and can’t be ruled out.

Saint-Hyacinthe–Bagot — Popular vote

2015 federal election

NDP 28.7
LIB 27.6
BQ 24.3
CON 16.7
GRN 2.3

When Doug Ford’s Progressive Conservatives won a big majority government in 2018’s Ontario election, he did so by winning most of the parts of the province that Andrew Scheer’s Conservatives need to win to secure a majority government of their own.

But while Scheer would like to repeat the success of ‘Ford Nation’, he might face an obstacle in Ford himself.

Polls suggest that the Ontario premier might be having a negative impact on Scheer’s election chances. To defeat Justin Trudeau’s Liberals, Scheer will need to win where Ford won last year — while also distancing himself from the unpopular premier.

Breaching the Liberals’ Fortress Toronto

The Liberals swept all of Toronto’s seats in the last election, but both Stephen Harper in 2011 and Doug Ford in 2018 were able to win in places like Etobicoke and Scarborough. If Scheer can pull that off, he’s probably going to be the next prime minister.

One-fourth of its population lists Chinese as their mother tongue and nearly two-thirds of its residents are immigrants: Don Valley North is a very diverse riding. The riding, won by the Conservatives in 2011, went back to the Liberals in 2015 but it should be high on the Conservatives’ target list this year. The Conservatives’ support in the riding dropped only marginally last time and the Liberals do not have an incumbent.

Don Valley North — Popular vote

2015 federal election

LIB 51.4
CON 37.8
NDP 8.5
GRN 2.2

Marco Mendocino won a closely-fought race against former finance minister Joe Oliver in 2015, returning Eglinton–Lawrence to its Liberal roots. But the seat was captured provincially by the Ford PCs in 2018 by a narrow margin and the riding’s profile makes it one that likely would end up in the Conservative camp if they win a majority government — as was the case in 2011.

Eglinton–Lawrence — Popular vote

2015 federal election

LIB 48.9
CON 42.6
NDP 6.3
GRN 1.4

Normally, Etobicoke North wouldn’t be a riding to watch. It has been one of the safest Liberal seats in recent years; Kirsty Duncan won it by a margin of 39 percentage points in 2015. But the riding is ground zero for Ford Nation. It’s where Doug Ford has his seat, having flipped it from the Ontario Liberals in 2018. The federal Conservatives, who haven’t won here since 1984, want to do the same. The Ford family name will be on the ballot, but it will belong to Renata Ford, widow of former Toronto mayor Rob Ford, who is running for the People’s Party.

Etobicoke North — Popular vote

2015 federal election

LIB 62.4
CON 23.0
NDP 12.4
GRN 1.2

Just over four-fifths of people in Scarborough–Agincourt are visible minorities and nearly half are of Chinese descent, according to the 2016 census. The riding has been held by the Liberals without interruption since 1988. It also had been held by the Ontario Liberals since 1985 — until last year, when the Ontario PCs took it with 50 per cent of the vote. The Conservatives narrowed the margin in a 2017 byelection and if they do it again on Oct. 21, they could flip the seat, too.

Scarborough–Agincourt — Popular vote

2015 federal election

LIB 49.4
CON 40.6
NDP 5.1
GRN 1.4

The Liberals captured York Centre in 2015 by a narrow 2.9-point margin, taking it back from the Conservatives. The history of this riding, both at the provincial and federal levels, has been solidly Liberal — the federal party has lost it only once since 1962. But the Conservatives’ victory here in 2011 and the Ontario PCs’ win in 2018 suggest the riding could swing again.

York Centre — Popular vote

2015 federal election

LIB 46.9
CON 44.0
NDP 7.3
GRN 1.8

Where the election will be won or lost

With more seats than most provinces, the Greater Toronto Area decides elections. Fast-growing and full of young families and commuters, it is perhaps the region of the country where pocketbook issues matter most. Whoever wins here probably will win the election.

Located in a traditional swing region of the country, Aurora–Oak Ridges–Richmond Hill was won by the Liberals by just 2.1 percentage points in 2015 after the three ridings that existed before were swept by the Conservatives in 2011. So it was always going to be close — but the Liberals will be particularly focused on winning this seat again to keep it out of the hands of Leona Alleslev, who crossed the floor from their party to the Conservatives in 2018.

Aurora–Oak Ridges–Richmond Hill — Popular vote

2015 federal election

LIB 47.3
CON 45.2
NDP 5.7
GRN 1.3

One of the richest and fastest-growing ridings in the country, King–Vaughan was regained by the Liberals in 2015 after the Conservatives won both of the previous ridings in 2011 that now make up the seat. A close race last time, it will not take much for the Conservatives to win this seat again — the kind of seat they absolutely must win if they are to form a majority government, as Doug Ford’s PCs did in 2018.

King–Vaughan — Popular vote

2015 federal election

LIB 47.4
CON 44.2
NDP 6.5
GRN 1.9

Richmond Hill has the second-most Farsi-speakers of any riding in the country; it elected Iranian-born Majid Jowhari of the Liberals in 2015. He’ll be up against Richmond Hill’s former Conservative MP Costas Menegakis, who was defeated when he opted to run in a neighbouring riding in the last election. The Liberals have won 15 of the last 19 votes held here, but the margins were close in 2015 — and Ford’s PCs captured a majority of ballots cast in Richmond Hill last year.

Richmond Hill — Popular vote

2015 federal election

LIB 46.9
CON 43.3
NDP 8.0
GRN 1.7

Following a strong second-place finish in a 2014 byelection, Celina Caesar-Chavannes won Whitby for the Liberals in 2015 after the seat had voted Conservative for nearly a decade. But after a rift with the prime minister, Caesar-Chavannes left the Liberal caucus and is not running for re-election, leaving this seat up for grabs. With one-fourth of commuters in their cars for at least an hour a day, this is one riding where the debate over the carbon tax could prove decisive.

Whitby — Popular vote

2015 federal election

LIB 45.0
CON 42.1
NDP 10.3
GRN 2.2

Karina Gould’s victory in Burlington was one of the surprises in 2015. She is one of the Liberal cabinet ministers who might have the most to worry about — she won her seat by just 3.5 percentage points in 2015. Burlington had gone Conservative in the three previous elections and, with the sole exception of the 2014 vote, has elected the Ontario PCs in every election since 1943 at the provincial level. It is hard to imagine a Conservative majority government without an MP from Burlington.

Burlington — Popular vote

2015 federal election

LIB 46.0
CON 42.5
NDP 9.1
GRN 2.4

A fast-growing riding full of young families, Milton is one Conservative riding where the Liberals might be playing offense. Lisa Raitt was one of the Conservative MPs in the GTA who withstood the Liberal surge, winning by a margin of five points in 2015. But the Liberals have nominated a former Olympian in Adam van Koeverden, suggesting they think Milton is a seat they can win. If they pull off a win here, the Liberals are probably on course to stay in power — and the Conservatives are likely heading back to the opposition benches.

Milton — Popular vote

2015 federal election

CON 45.4
LIB 40.4
NDP 10.9
GRN 2.3

Winning a majority government means winning most, if not all, of Mississauga’s six seats. For the Conservatives, Mississauga–Erin Mills is at the top of that list, as it has been the friendliest Mississauga seat for the party in recent years. That didn’t prevent Iqra Khalid of the Liberals winning it by a margin of just over 10 points in 2015, but if the Conservatives are going to win the election they’ll have to win seats like Mississauga–Erin Mills.

Mississauga–Erin Mills — Popular vote

2015 federal election

LIB 49.7
CON 39.2
NDP 9.4
GRN 1.6

After Erin Mills, Mississauga–Lakeshore has been the next most favourable riding for the Conservatives in Mississauga — which makes it a must-win for Andrew Scheer. It was decided by a margin of just six points in 2015, with Sven Spengemann of the Liberals defeating Stella Ambler. The two will be facing off again in this riding, one of many in the Halton and Peel regions that will play a big role in deciding if any party can win a majority government.

Mississauga–Lakeshore — Popular vote

2015 federal election

LIB 47.4
CON 41.2
NDP 8.0
GRN 2.4

Balancing the environment and the economy has always been complicated for the Liberals — and never more so than when Justin Trudeau’s government bought the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project.

The purchase of the pipeline might not have changed the minds of those inclined to distrust the Liberals’ approach to the energy file. For those suspicious of the Liberals’ sincerity on the environment file, the pipeline merely offered fresh evidence.

Pipeline access is an important issue for oil industry workers in Alberta, for Atlantic Canadians who pay high gas prices and for British Columbians who worry about their vulnerable coastline. Will it be the decisive issue when they cast their ballots?

Alberta, the B.C. Interior and the Fraser Valley

The Liberals pulled off a surprise when they won four seats in Alberta in 2015, but the downturn in the oil industry has hit the party’s fortunes in the province hard. In neighbouring B.C., the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion finds its highest level of support in the B.C. Interior, where the Liberals are playing both offense and defense.

In 2015, the Liberals scored an upset with their first seats in Calgary since 1968. One of the two was Calgary Centre, where former Alberta Liberal MLA Kent Hehr prevailed by a margin of just 1.2 percentage points over the Conservatives’ Joan Crockatt. Hehr was given a seat at the cabinet table; he later lost it over allegations of sexual harassment, but he remains one of the Liberals’ best fundraisers and will put up a stiff fight against the Conservatives’ Greg McLean. Still, it will be difficult for the Liberals to win any seats in Alberta — including in downtown Calgary, the financial epicentre of the province’s oil industry.

Calgary Centre — Popular vote

2015 federal election

LIB 46.5
CON 45.3
NDP 5.6
GRN 2.2

If the Liberals are banking on holding any seats in Alberta, Edmonton Centre should be right at the top of the list. This is the seat Anne McLellan used to win for the party under Jean Chrétien and Paul Martin and it has a significant number of progressive voters: the Alberta NDP won a majority of ballots cast within the boundaries of this riding in the April provincial election. Though it was a narrow win for Liberal Randy Boissonnault in 2015, the Liberals will be looking to hoover up a chunk of the vote that went for the third-place federal NDP four years ago. If the Liberals can secure the progressive vote in the riding, they should be able to hold off the Conservatives’ James Cumming in his second run against Boissonnault.

Edmonton Centre — Popular vote

2015 federal election

LIB 37.2
CON 35.0
NDP 24.5
GRN 2.6

The Liberals haven’t won in Kamloops–Thompson–Cariboo since 1974, but they believe they can win in 2019 thanks to Terry Lake, a former provincial cabinet minister and MLA for the riding from 2009 to 2017. Held by Conservative Cathy McLeod since 2008, the riding was a relatively close three-way race in 2015, with the Conservatives taking 35 per cent of the vote and NDP and Liberals taking about 30 per cent apiece. If the Liberals can attract that NDP vote, they could leapfrog the Conservatives into first place. The Liberals are hoping to offset losses on the coast with gains in the B.C. Interior, where the pipeline issue plays differently than it does in the rest of the province. Its construction will create jobs in the Interior and the natural resource sector plays a bigger role in the local economy there — factors that could help Lake win the seat.

Kamloops–Thompson–Cariboo — Popular vote

2015 federal election

CON 35.3
NDP 30.8
LIB 30.4
GRN 3.6

If the Liberals are hoping to make a gain in Kamloops–Thompson–Cariboo, they’re also hoping to repeat their upset victory in Kelowna–Lake Country. In 2015, Stephen Fuhr quadrupled the Liberals’ vote share from 2011, winning the seat from the Conservatives. That victory marked the first time the Liberals had won in Kelowna since 1968 — the last time the Liberals were mounting their first campaign under a leader named Trudeau. But that means it’s normally a reliably Conservative seat and Fuhr could face a challenge in preventing the riding from returning to the norm.

Kelowna–Lake Country — Popular vote

2015 federal election

LIB 46.2
CON 39.8
NDP 14.1

The Liberals won Mission–Matsqui–Fraser Canyon in 2015, the first time since 1974 the party had won a riding sharing territory with this sprawling federal seat. They won by a narrow margin over the second-place Conservatives - just 2.3 percentage points - which suggests Liberal MP Jati Sidhu is in for a difficult fight. This is another riding the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion will traverse, but the seat straddles the line between the B.C. Interior and the Lower Mainland. The Liberals won in 2015 thanks to their support in the Lower Mainland portion of the riding, but they took few polls in the Interior portion. Will the pipeline help or hurt them this time?

Mission–Matsqui–Fraser Canyon — Popular vote

2015 federal election

LIB 37.2
CON 34.9
NDP 20.5
GRN 5.1

From coast to coast

While polls suggest most British Columbians support the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion, opposition is strongest on the B.C. coast — where the pipeline ends and the oil tankers begin. At the other end of the country, some coastal residents are lamenting the pipeline that won’t be built: Energy East.

If there’s just one riding where the Liberals could feel the political fallout of the Trans Mountain purchase, it’s the riding where the pipeline meets the sea: Burnaby North–Seymour. Opposition to the pipeline helped the B.C. New Democrats win the area’s two Burnaby seats in 2017 and could give the federal New Democrats an issue to rally around. The NDP has a familiar name on the ballot in Svend Robinson, who was the NDP MP for the Burnaby portion of the riding from 1979 to 2004. The Conservatives can’t be ruled out, either: if Robinson and the Liberals’ Terry Beech split the vote, the Conservatives could win with only a minor improvement over their 2015 performance.

Burnaby North–Seymour — Popular vote

2015 federal election

LIB 36.1
NDP 29.6
CON 27.8
GRN 5.3

One Liberal cabinet minister who could be sunk by the purchase of the Trans Mountain pipeline is Jonathan Wilkinson, who held the fisheries and oceans portofolio. North Vancouver swung to the Liberals in a big way in 2015, but the Conservatives (and their predecessor parties) won the riding in 10 of the previous 12 elections. Andrew Saxton, who won the seat for the Conservatives in 2008 and 2011 and finished second-to-last in the 2017 leadership race, will be running against Wilkinson again. Neither the New Democrats nor the Greens have a strong base of support upon which to build in the riding, but if the Liberals lose enough votes to them it could give Saxton his comeback chance.

North Vancouver — Popular vote

2015 federal election

LIB 56.7
CON 26.9
GRN 8.3
NDP 7.8

Had it gone ahead, the Energy East pipeline would have supplied the Irving refineries in Saint John and the federal government has been blamed in part for the cancellation of this project. That’s one reason why Saint John–Rothesay could flip to the Conservatives — along with the riding’s generally blue history and the fact that the New Brunswick PCs won all but one of the Saint John region’s seats in the 2018 provincial election. Liberal MP Wayne Long has not always followed the party line: he voted for an inquiry into the SNC-Lavalin affair and against the party’s small-business tax measures — something that could help him in a province where the Liberal brand has taken a beating.

Saint John–Rothesay — Popular vote

2015 federal election

LIB 48.8
CON 30.5
NDP 17.5
GRN 3.1

Candidates running for the four parties that have dominated federal politics for the past few decades aren’t the only ones worth watching in this election.

After scoring provincial breakthroughs in Atlantic Canada and a federal byelection win on Vancouver Island, the Greens are poised for what could be their best election ever. Whether they win a lot of seats or not, the Greens can be expected to have a significant impact on the outcome of the vote.

Also worth watching are the high-profile candidates who broke with mainstream parties and are now striking out on their own: former Liberal ministers Jody Wilson-Raybould and Jane Philpott, running as Independents, and Maxime Bernier, leader of the People’s Party.

Top targets for the Greens

Support for the Green Party is strongest on Vancouver Island and that’s where it has its best hopes for gains. But if the Greens are casting about more widely, they should look to ridings where their provincial cousins have had success.

The P.E.I. Greens made history in April when they formed the party’s first Official Opposition anywhere in Canada. The federal Greens are hoping to repeat some of that success on the Island in October, but it’s hard to find a riding where the Greens have a real shot. Charlottetown might offer their best odds, even if the riding has elected a Liberal MP in every election since 1988 and the Greens took just 5.8 per cent of ballots cast there in 2015. But in the six provincial districts that make up the federal riding, the P.E.I. Greens won the most votes just a few months ago — so it isn’t outlandish to think the federal Greens could do the same.

Charlottetown — Popular vote

2015 federal election

LIB 56.3
NDP 23.1
CON 14.8
GRN 5.8

The Greens had their first breakthrough in the Maritimes back in 2014, when David Coon won the provincial party’s first seat in that year’s New Brunswick election. He then expanded his party’s caucus to three seats in 2018, winning his own Fredericton South seat by a huge margin. That might give the federal Greens the base they need to win Fredericton. At the very least, it will complicate the electoral dynamics in this seat, which elected a Liberal in 2015 but went Conservative in both the 2008 and 2011 elections. Will strategic progressive voters back the Liberals or the Greens, or could the two parties split the vote to the benefit of the Conservatives?

Fredericton — Popular vote

2015 federal election

LIB 49.3
CON 28.4
GRN 12.4
NDP 9.9

Even when the Liberals were at a historic low in 2011, they still won Guelph by a double-digit margin. Lloyd Longfield took it again for the party in 2015 by a comfortable edge over the Conservatives, who haven’t won here since 1988. But Guelph has been one of the best ridings in the country for the Greens in recent years and the Ontario provincial wing of the party capitalized on that base in the 2018 election, sending their leader Mike Schreiner to Queen’s Park. And it wasn’t even close — Schreiner pulled twice the votes of his nearest rival. If voters in Guelph are getting in the habit of voting Green — if Schreiner’s win wasn’t specific to the context of that provincial election — then Green candidate Steven Dyck might have a shot here.

Guelph — Popular vote

2015 federal election

LIB 49.1
CON 26.3
NDP 12.0
GRN 11.3

The third-best riding in the country for Greens over the last three elections, Esquimalt–Saanich–Sooke is a top target for the party on Vancouver Island. The NDP’s Randall Garrison won it in both 2011 and 2015, but took just 35 per cent of the vote in the last election. The Liberals’ David Merner finished second with 27.4 per cent, but he will be carrying the Green Party banner this time and has an opportunity to build on his new party’s score of 19.9 per cent from 2015. The NDP brand has some staying power in this part of the province, however — the provincial B.C. New Democrats have held the area without interruption since 2005.

Esquimalt–Saanich–Sooke — Popular vote

2015 federal election

NDP 35.0
LIB 27.4
GRN 19.9
CON 17.5

The Greens have had Victoria in their sights for some time: it is next door to Elizabeth May’s Saanich–Gulf Islands riding and the party finished second, with about a third of the vote in the riding, in both a 2012 byelection and the 2015 general election. B.C. Green Leader Andrew Weaver’s seat is within the federal boundaries of Victoria, and with the NDP’s Murray Rankin not running again, the seat is ripe for the picking for the Greens — if they can make good on their uptick in the polls. If they do, no seat in the country is more likely to flip to them than Victoria.

Victoria — Popular vote

2015 federal election

NDP 42.3
GRN 32.9
CON 11.8
LIB 11.8

Going their separate ways

Jody Wilson-Raybould and Jane Philpott will try to make the case for more non-partisanship in their bids to be re-elected as Independents, while Maxime Bernier will make the case that the voters that have backed him as a Conservative should follow him as leader of the People’s Party.

Markham–Stouffville was already setting up to be a competitive race between the Liberals and Conservatives. But the candidacy of Jane Philpott as an Independent makes this riding a wild card. Will Philpott retain enough of the support that narrowly won her the seat in 2015 to be re-elected as an Independent? Can the Liberals hold on in a three-way race? Or will the Conservatives benefit from a split in the vote and win a seat the Ontario PCs secured by a 22-point margin in 2018? The good news for Philpott is that this part of the country is one of the few that has elected an Independent MP in the last 50 years: Tony Roman won York North as an Independent in 1984.

Markham–Stouffville — Popular vote

2015 federal election

LIB 49.2
CON 42.8
NDP 6.1
GRN 1.9

The urban centre of Vancouver generally has been friendly territory for Liberals over the years, so Jody Wilson-Raybould was cruising for re-election — until the SNC-Lavalin affair blew everything up. As the central figure in that story, Wilson-Raybould has raised her personal profile enough to give her a chance to pull off the rare feat of election as an Independent candidate. She might be helped by the mixed election results in the riding over the last two elections. Wilson-Raybould won comfortably in 2015, but the NDP and Conservative candidates still managed a quarter of the vote each. The riding was a three-way race in 2011. Depending on how the vote divvies up, there is the potential for Vancouver Granville to become a four-cornered contest this time — one that could go in any direction.

Vancouver Granville — Popular vote

2015 federal election

LIB 43.9
NDP 26.9
CON 26.1
GRN 3.1

The future of the People’s Party of Canada likely depends on Maxime Bernier’s ability to win re-election in the riding he’s made into one of the safest Conservative seats in the country since his first win in 2006. Beauce does have a quirky political history, being one of the few francophone parts of Quebec to have never supported the Bloc Québécois — and having elected Bernier’s father Gilles when he stood as an Independent in 1993, after he had won it twice for the PCs in the 1980s. The Conservatives are banking on the local profile of Richard Lehoux, a former mayor, to bring the seat back into the Conservative fold. Will Beauce go back to its roots or continue to be an exception?

Beauce — Popular vote

2015 federal election

CON 58.9
LIB 22.3
NDP 9.7
BQ 7.4
GRN 1.7

The 60 ridings that tell the story of where the election will be won and lost

Abstract illustration of federal election ridings
Éric Grenier headshot


Where do Justin Trudeau’s Liberals need to win to secure re-election? What is the path to a majority government for Andrew Scheer and the Conservatives? What does the future for the NDP under Jagmeet Singh look like? And can Elizabeth May’s Greens, Maxime Bernier’s new People’s Party or Independents like Jody Wilson-Raybould change the electoral map?

These are the big questions that will be answered on Oct. 21 when voters cast their ballots in Canada’s 338 ridings — and how these 60 ridings swing will tell the story of this campaign.

Read about the 60 ridings in the six themes below.


Future of the NDP

10 ridings

    St. John’s East, Brampton East, Davenport, Essex, Hamilton East–Stoney Creek, London–Fanshawe, Churchill–Keewatinook Aski, Elmwood–Transcona, Regina–Lewvan, Surrey–Newton


    Conservative-Liberal battlegrounds outside the GTA

    11 ridings

      Kings–Hants, Sydney–Victoria, Glengarry-Prescott-Russell, Kanata–Carleton, Orléans, Peterborough–Kawartha, Cambridge, Kitchener South–Hespeler, Kildonan–St. Paul, South Surrey–White Rock, Steveston–Richmond East


      A climate of change in Quebec

      10 ridings

        Lac-Saint-Jean, Louis-Hébert, Trois-Rivières, La Pointe-de-l’Île, Mirabel, Berthier–Maskinongé, Drummond, Beloeil–Chambly, Laurier–Sainte-Marie, Saint-Hyacinthe–Bagot