CALGARY — It was a blue-sky morning for Conservative Leader Stephen Harper, but it’s shaping up to be a dark night.
Early results from Atlantic Canada show two Conservative cabinet ministers losing their seats, with the riding previously been held by Justice Minister Peter MacKay also slipping away to the Liberals.
The party’s grimacing not just at the seat count, but at the popular vote; in 2011, they gathered close to 40 per cent of popular support in the Atlantic provinces, but early results suggest the numbers are way down from those highs.
Publicly, Conservatives say it’s still early.
“Let’s see what the voters say all the way to the Pacific coast,” Calgary candidate and Defence Minister Jason Kenney told CTV.
Across Canada, Conservative candidates are busy writing and rewriting their Monday night speeches, many now jettisoning a version in which their party managed to win a minority government.
At the Calgary Convention Centre, where Harper is expected to address his supporters later in the evening, about 400 chairs, all with small Canadian flags on them, are set up around a stage backed by massive screens.
Dozens of seats are reserved for Harper’s family, party leadership and close friends, including Sheldon Kennedy, the former NHL player who has worked closely with the Conservatives on child abuse and prevention.
“It’s a nice blue sky. That’s how I’m feeling,” Harper said Monday as he entered the Centennial Branch of the Royal Canadian Legion to cast his ballot.
Harper has thus far refused to discuss his own political future after election night, saying only that it’s been an honour to serve as prime minister for nearly 10 years.
The Canadian Press