Conservative Party Leader Andrew Scheer. (The Canadian Press)

Conservatives far ahead of other parties in picking candidates for fall election

As of Friday, they’d chosen 316 candidates for the country’s 338 ridings

Hoping to take power away from the Liberals in this fall’s election, the Conservatives are well ahead of the governing party in nominating candidates hoping to win seats in the House of Commons.

As of Friday, they’d chosen 316 candidates for the country’s 338 ridings.

The Tories have almost a full complement in Western Canada and Ontario, with most of their remaining open spots in Quebec and Atlantic Canada.

Newfoundland and Labrador in particular lacks Tory representation: the Conservatives currently have just three nominees for its seven seats.

The governing Liberals have far fewer candidates named.

They’ve nominated 213 candidates so far, good for just under two-thirds of Canada’s federal seats. According to the party’s website, six nomination meetings are scheduled over the next week, while a spokesperson for the party said “dozens more” are expected soon and the party is working with “a bigger pool of prospective candidates than we’ve ever had.”

ALSO READ: Tories, Libs fight over costs of climate action in election-campaign preview

The current roster is particularly weak in the Prairies. The Liberals hold just 11 seats in Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba, combined, and the party has yet to nominate candidates in 28 of Alberta’s 34 ridings, with significant vacancies in both Saskatchewan and Manitoba as well.

More Liberals are set to start campaigning in Atlantic Canada, where the party won every seat in 2015. Just a handful of those ridings needed new candidates, to fill gaps left by the retirements of MPs Bill Casey, Rodger Cuzner, T.J. Harvey and Mark Eyking.

The bulk of the nominees still to be named for the Liberals are in Quebec and Ontario — 58 combined — and are mostly in ridings that are rural or in smaller cities, many of which are currently held by Conservative MPs.

Though there are still months to go, the sooner nominees are in place, the sooner the door-knocking, hand-shaking and barbecue-attending can begin.

The nomination counts are a moving target, as more meetings are held and candidates are confirmed by Elections Canada almost daily.

But who has already been tapped so far — and where — might hint at the ease with which parties are launching into unofficial campaigning during the summer.

Of the major national parties, the NDP trails with just 116 candidates as of Friday, with most in Ontario, B.C. and Quebec. It has barely filled out its ranks in Atlantic Canada: There are zero confirmed New Democrat candidates in New Brunswick, four in Nova Scotia and just one candidate each in Newfoundland and Labrador and on P.E.I.

The NDP does lead in nominating female candidates, who make up over half their total so far. The Conservatives have nominated a record 98 women, the party said.

So far, 36 per cent of Liberal candidates are women — just 77 of the party’s current nominees. But that’s a higher percentage than in the Liberals’ full slate in 2015, when 31 per cent of their candidates were female.

But of the party’s non-incumbent candidates, a spokesperson for the Liberal party said, more than half are women, the result of new nomination rules that require local associations to do a “robust search” for female candidates.

Two other parties are looking to field candidates in every riding. The Green Party has 208 candidates nominated so far, with strong representation already in Ontario, Quebec and especially British Columbia. The Greens have 88 women running for them, just over 40 per cent of their total so far.

Finally, the People’s Party of Canada has 286 candidates confirmed as of Friday, a spokesperson for the party said. So far, the party has generally filled out its roster in the larger provinces and the Prairies, but has yet to name many contenders for seats in Atlantic Canada. The party did not provide a breakdown of its candidates by gender.

Christian Paas-Lang, The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Family dog dies in Chilliwack house fire

Cause of Ashwell Road blaze on Nov. 16 considered accidental

Chilliwack Cultural Centre invites large-format artists to display work in lobby

Applications for the centre’s lobby display are being accepted until Dec. 2

Toy drive brings in gifts, money for Ann Davis Transition Society in Chilliwack

Hundreds of toys and $1,600 in cash was donated to the society during its fundraiser Saturday

Volunteers remove invasive species of plants along creek in Chilliwack

Fraser Valley Conservancy’s stream-side restoration event took place at Luckakuck Creek in Chilliwack

PHOTO: Rain in the forecast Sunday, sun expected by Tuesday in Chilliwack

Chilliwack has been treated to fairly warm and dry weather over the past two weeks

VIDEO: Find Me My Furever Home – Pat at the Chilliwack SPCA

Pat is a two-year-old rabbit who’s up for adoption at the Chilliwack SPCA

B.C. woman ordered to return dog to ex-boyfriend for $2,000

After the two broke up, documents state, they agree to share custody of the dog, named Harlen

Abbotsford police chief mulls more enforcement of homeless lawbreakers

‘When all else has failed we have to hold people accountable,’ Police Chief Mike Serr tells council

Striking Vancouver hotel workers, employer reach ‘tentative’ agreement

Employees of the Rosewood Hotel Georgia have been out at picket lines since talks broke off on Sept. 21

RCMP cut free activists chained to Kelowna bank, placed under arrest

The group is protesting Interior Savings Credit Union’s support of Kelowna Ribfest

Cold, stormy winter forecast across much of Canada, The Weather Network predicts

In British Columbia temperatures will be slightly above normal and precipitation will be just below normal

Cell phone tickets worse tax grab than speed limits, SenseBC says

Distracted driving statistics questioned as B.C. tickets pile up

Security camera records hatchet attack on Langley store owner

Target escaped uninjured, but was ‘upset’ by incident

PHOTOS: Snoozing seal pup captures attention at White Rock Pier

Dozens of seals spent the day at White Rock’s iconic structure

Most Read