Liberal candidate Maryam Monsef will not be returning to Ottawa for the upcoming parliamentary session, as she lost the riding of Peterborough-Kawartha to first-time Conservative candidate Michelle Ferreri on Monday night.
Monsef received 34.4% of the vote and Ferreri garnered 39.4%. In comparison — in the 2015 election, Monsef was elected with 43.8% of the vote and in 2019, she was re-elected with 39.3% of the vote.
Monsef served as women and gender equality and rural economic development minister in Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s cabinet and sought re-election for a third term. Ferreri, a social media marketer and former broadcaster, beat Monsef by more than 3,200 votes.
Leading up to the election, Monsef saw a dramatic decline in popularity after she referred to the terrorist organization the Taliban as “our brothers.”
In an August press conference, Monsef said, “I want to take this opportunity to speak to our brothers, the Taliban. We call on you to ensure the safe and secure passage of any individuals in Afghanistan out of the country.”
The Taliban is listed as a terrorist entity in Canada. Since the Taliban have taken over Afghanistan, there have been several reports that the terrorist organization is torturing and beating women. There are also reports that the Taliban are executing opponents to their regime.
Monsef attempted to do damage control by clarifying that she “doesn’t support the Taliban” and that her “brothers” reference was a cultural reference. “In terms of the terminology, if you go to masjids across the country, Muslims refer to each other as brothers and sisters,” Monsef said.
Throughout her political career, Monsef has publicly discussed her personal story as a refugee from Afghanistan. Monsef has claimed she fled Taliban violence in Afghanistan with her mother and brother when she was 11.
“My dad was killed, caught in a crossfire. My uncle was taken from his dormitory one night for speaking up against what was happening politically, never to be seen or heard from again,” she told Global News at the time.
Peterborough-Kawartha did not uphold its longstanding record as a bellwether riding. For the past 60 years, in almost every federal election, the party with the local winning candidate in the riding has been the party that forms government by the end of election night.
This year, the Conservatives swept Peterborough, but the Liberals still managed to form a minority government.