McLeod victorious in tight election race

The Liberal government will return to parliament with another minority.

Liberal candidate Michael McLeod, incumbent NWT MP, addresses the media during the election results for the 2021 federal election. (Photo by Mariah Caruso/ CKLB.)

The federal election was a little too close for comfort for Liberal candidate Michael McLeod.

A handful of reporters waited patiently at Stanton Suites Hotel for results and incumbent to give remarks.

CKLB reporter Mariah Caruso attended the election event.

As the hours passed, she noted everyone’s patience wore thin and confidence dwindled as the gap between red and orange grew smaller and smaller.

McLeod described the election as “a real nail-biter” as he admitted to even being a little nervous.

“It’s an exciting night and I’m quite happy that we ended up with the numbers that we did,” he said, “I certainly would have liked them to be a little more in my favour but that’s the name of the election process.”

McLeod claims victory

McLeod and team called the win, prematurely at around midnight.

Michael and team overlooking the polls. (Mariah Caruso/CKLB)

Telling reporters that although NDP candidate Kelvin Kotchilea has not officially conceded, they believe it was safe to call the winner.

Kotchilea wrote the morning after on social media, congratulating McLeod.

He adds that if the local electoral district association (EDA) would have him as their candidate again, he’d run.

“I’ll definitely give it another go, it was a close race,” reads the post.

The Liberal party of Canada secured a minority government, some say is just a copy and paste government of 2019.

McLeod jokingly attributes his win to his lucky cowboy boots.

McLeod finished with 4,979 votes, totaling 38 per cent of the vote share, while Kotchilea received 4,301 votes, or 33 per cent.

Conservative candidate Lea Anne Mollison, who has never been to the NWT and didn’t participate in any candidate forums, managed to finish third receiving 1,848 votes — 14 per cent. 

Independent candidate Jane Groenewegen is in fourth with 1,681 votes — 13.3 per cent. While Green Party candidate Roland Laufer is in fifth with 334 votes — 2.6 per cent. 

Green candidate congratulates McLeod

At an intimate viewing party held by a bonfire outside the Old Town Glassworks, Green Party candidate Roland Laufer believes McLeod will continue successfully representing the NWT. 

“He is connected to the people,” Laufer said. 

Roland Laufer, Green Party candidate for the NWT, poses at an election night viewing party. (Photo by Luke Carroll/ CKLB.)

The gathering which had about six supporters included Laufer’s campaign manager Brock Grills who agreed with Laufer’s assessment of McLeod. 

“I think [McLeod] does obviously care about the Northwest Territories,” he said. 

Grills said it was important to have a Green voice in the territory and he was happy Laufer was willing to take on the opportunity. 

Old Town Glassworks founder and president Matthew Grogono was another person in attendance. He said there to support his friend Laufer, but also to discussed the importance of thinking green

“We radically have to rethink, and we have to reduce and we have to reuse,” he said. “The typical capitalist system isn’t sustainable anymore.” 

Laufer is interested in running again to be the Green candidate in the next election.


Liberal’s return with a minority

The House of Commons will look about the same as it did before the election as the Liberal party returns with another minority government. 

Although the final results are not yet confirmed, the preliminary results look very similar to the 2019 election, with the Liberals taking around 155 seats, the Conservatives around 120, the Bloc Québécois with about 31, the NDP with around 27 and the Green Party with two seats.

With files from Luke Carroll.


About the Author

Luke Carroll
Luke Carroll is a journalist originally from Brockville, Ont. He has previously worked as a reporter and editor in Ottawa, Halifax and New Brunswick. Luke is a graduate of Carleton University's bachelor of journalism program. If you have a story idea, feel free to send him an email at