Election criticized by Saskatchewan premier as vote counts continue in some ridings

·2 min read

Some House of Commons seats on the Prairies were still up for grabs Tuesday as mail-in and special ballots were being counted in close ridings following the federal election.

Little more than 100 votes separated the Conservative and Liberals candidates in one Winnipeg riding, where officials were going through more than 3,000 ballots that had been mailed in or cast in person at Elections Canada offices.

"It's very, very close," Doug Eyolfson, the Liberal challenger in Charleswood-St. James-Headingley-Assiniboia, said hours after polls closed Monday night.

Going through the special ballots might take until Wednesday, Eyolfson said, who was looking for ways to pass the time and get his mind on other things.

"I'm a long-distance runner, so I spend a lot of time running, getting back into the pool, just basically keeping busy and enjoying life," he said.

Eyolfson was behind in trying to unseat Conservative incumbent Marty Morantz.

Another battle and ongoing count were underway in Edmonton Centre, where Liberal Randy Boissonnault and Conservative James Cumming were running neck and neck.

By Tuesday night, there was no sign of an imminent result in either race.

"We expect the vote count to continue tomorrow," Eyolfson wrote on social media.

The electoral results overall didn't see many seat changes, and Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe called it the most pointless election in Canadian history.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau called an early election because he wanted to increase the Liberal seat count, Moe said.

"Canadians didn't give in to that, and so we're going to have more of the same — a Liberal minority administration that will be propped up again by the NDP."

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney said now that the election is over, he will continue to push for more health funding.

"We will get down to work with the Government of Canada and all parties in this minority Parliament on issues that matter to Albertans, which first and foremost means getting through this fourth wave of COVID-19," Kenney said in a prepared statement.

"One key lesson of the COVID era is that we must expand the capacity of Canada's health-care system. That’s why Alberta’s government has joined all of the provinces in calling for a significant increase in the Canada Health Transfer to reflect rising health-care costs."

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 21, 2021

Steve Lambert, The Canadian Press

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