Decomposition of the 2021 federal election in Vancouver
This last election didn’t really change much when you look at who sits in Ottawa, but in Vancouver some trends were noticeable across the city.
The city has six ridings: Vancouver Center, Vancouver East, Vancouver South, Vancouver Kingsway, Vancouver Quadra, and Vancouver Granville (but we’ll just call them by their last name).
The biggest trend, it seems, continues to be limited participation in democracy. Four of Vancouver’s six ridings had voter turnout below 60%, with Kingsway leading the way with just 54% of eligible voters voting in 2021, closely followed by East and South (both at 55%). Nationwide turnout appears to be around 62 percent; only Quadra broke this barrier with around 63 percent.
Oddly enough, in 2019, Vancouver was around 62%, but, at the same time, Canada was above 67%. The pandemic may have soured some during the vote, but 2021 hasn’t seen any kind of record low; During the 2000s, at the end of the Jean Chrétien era and throughout the Stephen Harper era, the national vote was in the 1960s and fell below 59 percent in 2008.
As in 2019, the apathy vote led the way in all constituencies by a wide margin; in fact, each got big numbers in each constituency. At least 2,400 fewer voters voted in each constituency.
Growth and losses
That said, out of the five candidate parties across the city, three registered fewer votes than in 2019. The PPC, in its second election, experienced tremendous relative growth, but limited growth compared to the situation in its whole (more details below).
However, the great growth occurred in the NDP camp, where they obtained over 13,700 votes. And although both incumbents (Jenny Kwan at East and Don Davies at Kingsway) suffered losses, they still held huge numbers and were 1-2 in the votes received across town.
The big winner was Anjali Appadurai (winning over 9,600 votes against the NDP candidate in 2019), who lost a close race to Liberal Taleeb Noormohamed in Granville. However, the other three NDP candidates all recorded four-digit gains (a rare feat this election), with Breen Oullette closing in on longtime Liberal MP Hedy Fry at center (losing again, but this time by 5,000. instead of 10,000).
Big losses hit the Green Party hard (more below also), while the Liberals, who lost almost 10,000 votes across town, had plenty of support to spare compared to 2019 when they collected over 20,000 more votes in Vancouver than any other party. .
A strange trend across the city seemed to be the demise of independent candidates. In 2019, Vancouver saw four independent candidates running; in 2021, no one was running independently. In a well-documented case, former Liberal Jody Wilson-Raybould resigned as independent MP for Granville. In another, Imtiaz Popat, who ran alone at the Center in 2019, landed the Greens nomination at Granville.
There were actually six fewer candidates across town this time around. Along with the extinction of the independent Vancouver, only one libertarian presented itself (in the East) and the Greens left the South unchallenged.
In fact, the collapse of the Greens seems to be the most dramatic story across the city; they received less than half of the votes they had in 2019, dropping from 29,000 to 11,800. While this was in part due to not running a candidate in a constituency, the South was their largest constituency. weak in 2019 with only 2,445 votes. All of the Green candidates lost their support, with some seeing thousands less votes on their behalf. Although they are still the city’s fourth-largest party, that is a huge drop from 9.6 percent of the vote to 4.2 percent.
Which party overall got the most votes in Vancouver?
With four Liberals and two NDP MPs on their way to Ottawa, the politicians elected do not exactly match the city’s vote. The NDP actually got more votes than any other party, with over 100,000 in the six ridings. However, the Liberals were only 1,100 behind. Between the two parties, they obtained more than 70% of the votes.
The Conservatives came in relatively distant third, with over 58,100 votes; that’s about 20 percent. This 20 percent is also spread out, with no obvious foothold in the city. They placed third in all ridings except one, Quadra, where Brad Armstrong came in far behind outgoing Liberal Joyce Murray (both lost their support from 2019, while the NDP’s Naden Abenes got 1,500 votes, but is still far from Armstrong).
Much has been said about a possible split in right-wing support as the PPC progressed through the 2021 campaign, but the numbers don’t necessarily show this as an absolute. The PPC saw more support in every riding, but the Conservatives also saw some candidates receive more votes than the 2019 candidate (Center and Granville).
What happened to the “purple wave”?
In its second election, the PPC undoubtedly increased its support, seizing the anti-vaccine crowd, but whether that growth came from traditionally conservative voters, those who don’t usually vote, or voters from other places. parties is not obvious. In Vancouver, they more than doubled the number of votes received, although this is still a relatively small amount with less than 7,200 ballots across the city. To give a bit of perspective, if all these voters moved to a riding, it would be a third or fourth place. In fact, they finished fifth behind the Greens in all ridings except South, where no Greens showed up.
The “purple wave” promised by Maxime Bernier turned into several hundred new votes per constituency. In any case, the PPC vote would have made a significant difference to Conservative candidates in Vancouver, except to put Sukhbir Singh Gill far behind in the South. Overall, the PPC rose from around 1 percent of the vote to 2.5 percent, with a high of 3.2 percent.
However, the Conservatives got 8,200 fewer votes in Vancouver this election, which is not a trend they were hoping to see (and a bigger loss than any vote for the PPC). The vast majority of that was in the South, where Gill received 5,300 fewer votes than Wai Young in 2019 when she challenged liberal Harjit Sajjan for the seat. It was the biggest drop in Vancouver. In that riding, the PPC recorded just 572 wins, while Sajjan and Sean McQuillan of the NDP recorded gains of around 2,000.
Vancouver Granville, a hotly contested riding
One of the most talked about ridings in the country was Granville to fill the seat vacated by independent Liberal Wilson-Raybould. Since she was leaving as an independent, it was unclear where her support would go (over 17,000 votes with uncertain loyalties) and polls from the weekend before Election Day suggested that it was essentially about ‘a three-way tie between the three main parties.
In the end, Liberal Noormohamed won with less than 400 votes more than NDP Appadurai, while Tory Kailin Che was a few thousand behind. The numbers show everyone has won votes since Wilson-Raybould’s exit (except the Greens), with Appadurai taking the lion’s share, but not enough to catch up to Noormohomed, who won nearly 3,000 votes. during its 2019 campaign.
If Vancouver were a riding with six seats and the seats were determined by percentage of the vote, it is safe to say that the Liberals and NDP would each have two seats and the Conservatives one. From there, there is no clear winner from the last seat, although the Tories and Greens probably have the better claim.