It's a squeaker, but the Conservative incumbent appears to have retained his seat in west Winnipeg — by a tiny margin of 24 votes.
Marty Morantz has defeated Liberal candidate Doug Eyolfson in the Charleswood-St. James-Assiniboia-Headingley riding, who had hoped to win back the seat after representing it from 2015 to 2019, after he was elected during a Trudeau sweep.
Elections Canada posted the result on its website late Wednesday after two days in which more than 3,000 special ballots were counted, including mail-in votes and ballots from hospitals, correctional institutions and from members of the military.
As of Thursday morning, 95 per cent of the special ballots in the riding had been counted, according to Elections Canada.
The 24-vote difference means a recount is mandatory.
Morantz said he was relieved Elections Canada had finally posted the results and he looks forward to getting back to work in Ottawa.
Morantz thanked his family, the campaign volunteers, and the riding's residents, "who bore with us through this really unnecessary and unwarranted election that nobody really wanted. It's unfortunate that $600 million later, we wind up with a House of Commons that looks substantially the same as the one we had before the election was called," he said.
Morantz said he will respect the official process, which requires a judicial recount, and he declined to speculate on the reasons for such a tight race, including the impact of the far-right, anti-mask and anti-vaccine People's Party of Canada, which garnered 1,573 votes.
"I think there will be lots of analysis done about this race and how it turned out, but at the end of the day, my focus is really on getting back to work for the constituents."
There were 44,327 votes cast in the riding; a recount has to happen if there's a difference of 44 votes or less.
Morantz unseated Eyolfson after a similarly tight race in the 2019 election.
"Our election laws dictate a judicial recount must take place if the difference in votes is less than one one-thousandth of the total votes cast. As that is the case for this riding, we anticipate that will happen in the coming days. I want to extend a thank you to all of the Elections Canada workers who are carrying out this very important job and look forward to seeing the final results," Eyolfson said in a written statement.
Katie May reports on courts, crime and justice for the Free Press.