9 November 2009: Results of the four by-elections in Canada and what they mean

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Canada held four by-elections yesterday and the results can be seen here. The clear winners in the four were the Conservatives and the NDP, the Liberals came out a bit worse than before, and the Bloc had the worst showing of the night.

First the results:

New Westminster--Coquitlam (British Columbia)


Party
Candidate
Votes
% Votes

Conservative
Diana Dilworth
8,753
35.8
NDP-New Democratic Party
Fin Donnelly
12,129
49.6
Green Party
Rebecca Helps
1,046
4.3
Liberal
Ken Beck Lee
2,514
10.3

This riding was originally NDP, and it was thought that the Conservatives might take it but no such luck for them.

Cumberland--Colchester--Musquodoboit Valley (Nova Scotia)


Party
Candidate
Votes
% Votes

Conservative
Scott Armstrong
11,167
45.8
NDP-New Democratic Party
Mark Austin
6,267
25.7
Green Party
Jason Blanch
807
3.3
Liberal
Jim Burrows
5,193
21.3
Independent
Kate Graves
149
0.6
Christian Heritage Party
Jim Hnatiuk
776
3.2


This riding was last held by a Conservative MP named Bill Casey who later became an independent after breaking with the Conservative caucus and it was thought that there might be some backlash against the Conservatives for their worsened relationship with a politician so popular in the area, but they won here quite handily. Not even close to as much as Casey's winning margins (last time he got almost 70% as an independent) mind you. Note who got in second place here: the NDP, not the Liberals.

Hochelaga (Quebec)


Party
Candidate
Votes
% Votes

neorhino.ca
Gabrielle Anctil
128
0.7
Conservative
Stéphanie Cloutier
1,774
10.1
Marxist-Leninist
Christine Dandenault
79
0.5
Liberal
Robert David
2,510
14.3
Green Party
Christine Lebel
571
3.3
Bloc Québécois
Daniel Paillé
8,972
51.2
NDP-New Democratic Party
Jean-Claude Rocheleau
3,421
19.5
Independent
John Turmel
71
0.4

Hochelaga was no contest and everyone knew it would be an easy win for the Bloc, so the interesting number here is who took second place: once again it was the NDP, not the Liberals.

Montmagny--L'Islet--Kamouraska--Rivière-du-Loup (Quebec)


Party
Candidate
Votes
% Votes

Liberal
Marcel Catellier
3,768
13.2
Bloc Québécois
Nancy Gagnon
10,737
37.7
Conservative
Bernard Généreux
12,162
42.7
NDP-New Democratic Party
François Lapointe
1,363
4.8
Green Party
Charles A. Marois
472
1.7




This last riding was an upset victory for the Conservatives as it was a riding that had been held by the Bloc, and winning a riding like this is extremely important for them in marketing themselves as the only federalist option in Quebec. For a while the Conservatives had been down in the polls in Quebec due to funding for arts and Stephen Harper's calling the Bloc separatists last year when the Liberals attempted to form a coalition with the other parties, but that seems to be becoming a thing of the past.

So, to sum up the results for the parties, they are as follows:

Conservatives: 1st, 1st, 2nd, 4th
NDP: 1st, 2nd, 2nd, 4th
Liberals: 3rd, 3rd, 3rd, 3rd
Bloc: 1st, 2nd

You can see that the Liberals have nothing to cheer about. One consolation for them is that these were all ridings where they weren't expected to win, but still with these results the NDP will be able to make the case that they are the true opposition party and deserve all the votes that don't go toward the Conservatives next time around. The NDP's problem has always been that of being a distant fourth or fifth place, meaning that they have been unable to draw support from strategic voters that simply want their side of the political spectrum to win.

It may also help to bleed support from the Greens as well, since they once again weren't able to come close to winning a seat and voters tired of supporting a losing ticket may turn to the NDP instead.

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