Citizens of a country speak their mind through their ballots. Canadians, who voted during a Sept. 20 federal election during a fourth wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, returned a Liberal minority government to power with seat totals for the five main parties almost identical to those from the 2019 election. With just five weeks to canvass for support, candidates in Ottawa scrambled to appeal to voters using posters, lawn signs, leaflets and door-knocking. Though there were long lines at some polling stations on election day, voter turnout was the lowest (about 59 per cent) in a decade.

Issues that remained a priority for many voters included the pandemic, climate change, childcare and the controversial election call.

In Ottawa, eight ridings re-elected Liberals. Only Carleton riding went to the Conservatives, re-electing veteran Tory MP Pierre Poilievre. Other parties such as the Greens and the NDP, failed to convince enough voters to get elected. Capital Current caught the mood of the capital in photographs of street life and colourful campaign signs.

More support for urban infrastructure to support cycling and other forms of active transportation was a key plank in the Green party platform. This sign in front of the Three Watchmen at Murray Street and Mackenzie Avenue was promoting the Green cause a few days before the Sept. 20 election, but overall results for the party in Ottawa and across Canada were disappointing compared with results from the 2019 election. [Photo © Tamanna Khan]
The high cost of childcare in Canada is a major concern for many families and became a key issue in the federal election as parties tried to appeal to voters with their respective childcare support plans. At Bronson Avenue, near Carleton University, a woman pushed her child’s stroller past an array of campaign signs. [Photo © Tamanna Khan]
Homelessness and the soaring cost of housing and rental accommodation remain serious problems across Canada. The issue was hotly debated among the parties. Three days before the Sept. 20 vote, in Ottawa Centre, a man slept on a bench at Dundonald Park on Somerset Street West. [Photo © Tamanna Khan]
The NDP and its leader, Jagmeet Singh, built a campaign around policies aimed at increasing taxes on the wealthiest Canadians and the country’s largest corporations. One NDP poster was on prominent display along the sidewalk near Somerset and Lyon streets. [Photo © Tamanna Khan]


The election marked an important milestone in one man’s life. Chi Mach, 57, displayed his Certificate of Citizenship while sitting under the shade of a tree in Dundonald Park in Centretown. A few days before the Sept. 20 election, he said he was very proud that he would be voting for the first time on Sept. 20. [Photo © Tamanna Khan]
Angela Keller-Herzog, Green candidate in Ottawa Centre, was out on the final Saturday afternoon before the Sept. 20 election canvassing door-to-door in the Glebe, where she lives. [Photo © Tamanna Khan]
On election day, some polling locations saw long lines start early. Voters’ queued to the enter the Bronson Centre polling station at Bronson and Lisgar streets, with the line stretching around the block at 10:30 a.m. [Photo © Tamanna Khan]
Maria Merlo, who lives near the Bronson Centre polling location, was waiting in the queue with her with her six-year-old grandsons, Nathan and Roman, around 11 a.m. She said she had come earlier once but the line was much longer, so she returned later. At one point, Merlo dropped her voter information paper as she was moving up the line. [Photo © Tamanna Khan]
Ottawa Centre NDP candidate Angella MacEwen, along with her husband Isaac Tamblyn, showed up at the Bronson Centre to cast her ballot. Before McKenna’s win for the Liberals in 2015, Ottawa Centre was an NDP stronghold for several elections, with the late NDP MP Paul Dewar representing the riding from 2006 to 2015. MacEwen took a third of the vote but finished second to Liberal Yasir Naqvi, the former provincial representative for Ottawa Centre and former Ontario attorney general. He was supported by about 45 per cent of voters. [Photo © Tamanna Khan]
Not everyone who went to the polling station on Election Day was allowed entry. Rudy had to stay outside while his owners Brian and Luce Coburn went inside the polling station at Carleton University’s Field House. Luce joked that Rudy did not bring his voting card. [Photo © Tamanna Khan]
Liberal candidate and Orléans incumbent Marie-France Lalonde gave a victory speech after her re-election on Sept. 20 in the east-end Ottawa riding. Lalonde’s volunteers held a watch party at a restaurant as the results came in, making clear that the Liberals would be returned to lead a minority government, but would not achieve the majority sought by the party when it triggered the election.