The Northwest Territories' Conservative and New Democrat candidates said they expected to return and fight a fresh federal election campaign once the Liberal minority government fails.
Minority governments typically last up to two years in Canada, past evidence suggests. The Liberals were set to fall some 14 seats short of a majority government on Monday, with NDP leader Jagmeet Singh saying his party would work "constructively" to help form a government if an agreement could be reached.
Neither Conservative candidate Yanik D'Aigle nor the NDP's NWT candidate, Mary Beckett, gave the minority government much chance of lasting for a full four years.
"I do definitely wish Michael all the best," said D'Aigle after conceding defeat to Liberal incumbent Michael McLeod, who was re-elected with 40 percent of the vote.
"But he knows I'll be knocking on the door very quickly," D'Aigle added. "It'll be within two years. This is a minority government, my friend – it won't take long."
D'Aigle placed second behind McLeod with 26 percent of the vote on Monday, only the third time since 1993 that a right-of-centre candidate has finished among the top two candidates in the territory.
He said his party would need to do more, at the next election, to make sure its national message resonated with northern voters.
"We haven't had representation here for 30 years. You can only look at what's happening at a national level and I think the lines end up being a little bit blurred," D'Aigle told Cabin Radio.
Beckett, third with 22 percent of the vote, said she hoped McLeod would "take note of the some of the issues" heard at debates and while canvassing door-to-door, suggesting he might take up the NDP's championing of housing retrofits for the territory.
"The NDP hasn't won this time," she said, "but we're not gone forever and we'll be back at the next election, which is probably going to be relatively soon.
"I've told everybody to keep the signs. I'll be back, and we'll do it again. I'm more than willing to try it again."
Andrew Goodwin and Sarah Pruys contributed reporting.