By Aaron Wherry - Wednesday, July 18, 2012 - 0 Comments
Elizabeth May suggests that, in the event of a by-election in Etobicoke Centre, the Greens and NDP should stand down to allow for a straightforward grudge match between Ted Opitz and Borys Wrzesnewskyj.
Although Ms. May she said would not normally urge her party to stay off a ballot, the situation in Etobicoke Centre is highly unusual. If anyone was unfairly denied a seat in that riding it was Mr. Wrzesnewskyj, she said, and if there is a by-election it should be “a clean vote between Borys and Ted.”
Ms. May has some history in this regard: Stephane Dion agreed in 2007 to not run a candidate in Central Nova in an ill-fated attempt to help Ms. May defeat Peter MacKay.
There is some general notion that parties might not field a candidate when a by-election occurs to provide an opportunity for the new leader of another party to win a seat, but, at least in recent history, it has been inconsistently applied. The Liberals, for instance, didn’t run candidates against Stephen Harper (Calgary Southwest) in 2002 or Joe Clark (Kings-Hants) in 2000 and the Progressive Conservatives didn’t field a candidate against Jean Chretien (Beauséjour) in 1990. But the Liberals did field candidates against Stockwell Day (Okanagan-Coquihalla) in 2000 and Brian Mulroney (Central Nova) in 1983. The NDP fielded candidates in all of those by-elections.
The last time an election result was declared void and a by-election ordered—York North in 1988—the dispute involved a close finish between a Liberal (Maurizio Bevilacqua) and a Progressive Conservative (Michael O’Brien). The NDP fielded a candidate in the by-election and ended up getting ahead of the Progressive Conservatives to finish second.
Astute reader Derek Leebosh notes that in 1942, the Liberals officially stood down in York South when Conservative party leader Arthur Meighen sought a seat, but the CCF candidate (with Liberal assistance) went on to win the by-election. This post from Torontoist explains the situation in lavish detail.
By Aaron Wherry - Tuesday, July 17, 2012 at 11:13 AM - 0 Comments
The political right in Alberta is “coming out of a provincial election that was very acrimonious,” he says, referring to the split between the ruling PCs – newly led by Premier Alison Redford who was seen by many in the Conservative party as being too left wing – and the more extreme Wildrose, backed (albeit fairly quietly) by much of the federal Conservative caucus and staffed by a number of former federal party employees … “Will that split manifest itself on the federal level? I’m not the only person who’s speculated this, but there could be a split in a Conservative nomination race, and Calgary Centre is the first Conservative nomination race to happen after the provincial election,” Cournoyer says.
See previously: Could someone other than a Conservative win Calgary Centre?
By Aaron Wherry - Friday, July 13, 2012 at 8:42 AM - 0 Comments
If electoral history is any judge, the answer to that question is “no.” Since 1966, Calgary Centre has gone Progressive Conservative to Reform to Canadian Alliance to Progressive Conservative to Conservative. All-but-one of the province’s ridings are held by Conservatives. All of the neighbouring Calgary ridings are held by Conservatives. And it’s been 70 years since any of the Calgary ridings elected anyone other than a Conservatives (Liberal George Henry Ross in Calgary West and Liberal Manley Justin Edwards in Calgary West, both elected in 1940).*
Only once has a New Democrat finished better than third in Calgary Centre. The NDP candidate in 2011 received 7,314 votes—an all-time record for a New Democrat there, but 21,000 votes short of Lee Richardson.
Nonetheless, Nathan Cullen was in Calgary Centre Wednesday night for an “interactive workshop” about “uniting progressives.” (“This by-election can be this perfect vehicle to hold the Prime Minister accountable for his lack of respect towards hard-working Canadians and the democratic process itself.”) He was happy to report over the phone yesterday afternoon that the event drew 200 people, including Liberal, Green and Progressive Conservative supporters.
It’s going to be a tough slog, obviously, but you have a meeting before the writ’s even called and 200 folks show up, talking about door-knocking and social media and trying to make this election count, it’s a good start anyway … it’s the Prime Minister’s backyard, right? It’s also traditionally tough terrain for us, so we’re open-eyed about it, we’re not deluding ourselves, but if there’s a feeling on the ground and you’re running with canvassers and that kind of momentum, it’s going to be the folks in the riding that determine that. I get the sense, just from the meeting last night, that people from all around Calgary want to come in on this. I think sometimes by-elections sort of sleepily go along and they’re not a big deal, but maybe just with Bill C-38 and some of the things that the Prime Minister’s getting in trouble for—I mean, the Economist taking shots at you, it’s got to hurt. There just seems to be a mood in the air that’s different than other by-elections that I’ve been to. And that’s not to say that it makes it necessarily that much easier, but it just gives you a real energy. And that’s critical. I mean, when we won Outremont, the energy was palpable. It’s not there yet, obviously, but, boy, it was a good feeling last night … There’s obviously something in the air and who taps into is going to benefit from it for sure.
The NDP has shown an ability to surprise (Outremont in 2007, Edmonton-Strathcona in 2008, Quebec in 2011), but Calgary Centre would probably have to be considered a leap above and beyond any recent precedent. The more realistic question might be how well the New Democrats would have to do in Calgary Centre for it to be considered a “win”—Second place? Within 10 points? Within 20 points?— in the post-game analysis.
*Liberals won in Calgary South in 1963 and 1968, but that riding was redistributed in 1987 between three other ridings.
By Aaron Wherry - Friday, May 18, 2012 at 1:34 PM - 0 Comments
An Ontario court has ruled last year’s federal election result in Etobicoke Centre to be null and void.
Unless today’s ruling is appealed—it would go directly to the Supreme Court—and subsequently overturned, a by-election will be held.
Update 2:07pm. A statement from Conservative party spokesman Fred DeLorey.
We are disappointed with the decision of the Court today. The judge has found problems with the way that Elections Canada ran the election in this riding. As the judge took care to point out in the decision, Ted Opitz and the Conservative campaign team followed the rules. Fifty two thousand people in Etobicoke Centre followed the rules, cast their ballots and today had their democratic decision thrown into doubt. Ted Opitz will continue working hard on behalf of his constituents.
Update 2:41pm. Mr. DeLorey, on the question of a possible appeal: “We are reviewing the decision.”
Update 2:57pm. Only five times since 1949 has a vote been declared null and void: the last time being in York North in 1988. The House of Commons guide lays out the procedural steps as follows:
The court sends a copy of the decision to the Speaker; the Speaker will also be informed if an appeal has been filed. If no appeal has been filed, the decision is tabled in the House. An appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada must be filed within eight days of the decision being rendered and is heard without delay. The Supreme Court’s decision is transmitted to the Speaker who tables it in the House. If the election is declared null and void, the Speaker addresses a warrant to the Chief Electoral Officer for the issue of a writ for a new election.
Update 3:14pm. A statement from Mr. Opitz.
I am disappointed with the decision of the Court today. The judge has found problems with the way that Elections Canada ran the election in this riding. As the judge took care to point out in the decision, I and my campaign team followed the rules. This is not about me. It is about fifty two thousand people who followed the rules, cast their ballots and today had their democratic decision thrown into doubt. I am proud that the people of Etobicoke Centre elected me to represent them as their Member of Parliament. I will continue working hard on their behalf.”
Update 3:27pm. A statement from interim Liberal leader Bob Rae.
“I was pleased with the Ontario Superior Court’s decision to declare the 2011 election results in Etobicoke Centre null and void. Liberal Member of Parliament Borys Wrzesnewskyj lost his seat by 26 votes and had outlined numerous irregularities that were, in the end, found by Justice Lederer to have undermined the results. It has become clear to many Canadians that our democracy was tested and perhaps undermined during the last election. Reports and allegations of election fraud are widespread and there are many cases still under investigation. This has cast serious doubts on the integrity of our electoral system, but we are confident that a by-election in Etobicoke Centre would help greatly in reaffirming the strength of our electoral system and Canada’s democracy.”
Update 4:40pm. CBC has the text of today’s court decision here.
By Aaron Wherry - Monday, March 19, 2012 at 8:44 PM - 0 Comments
Polls are now closed in Toronto-Danforth and returns should start appearing here soon.
Riding history and previous results are here.
8:58pm. The NDP’s Craig Scott takes the first poll with 49 of 79 votes.
9:02pm. This advert, from Liberal candidate Grant Gordon, was also interesting. Mostly because of who was leader of the Liberal party less than a year ago and what that individual did before entering politics.
9:08pm. Ten polls into the night, the NDP share of the vote is just below where it was for Jack Layton last May (58.2/60.8). Conservative share is down nine points, Liberal share is up 12. Continue…
By Richard Warnica - Monday, February 6, 2012 at 10:42 AM - 0 Comments
PM calls by-election in Jack Layton’s old riding
The Conservatives announced the date Sunday for a by-election to replace the NDP’s late leader Jack Layton in his old riding of Toronto-Danforth. Only one major party candidate—the NDP’s Craig Scott—is so far confirmed for the race, which is set to end March 12. If no one else steps forward, an anonymous group of bureaucrats will be tasked to stand in for the rest. (Reader quiz: How long can I keep flogging this joke? Let me know: firstname.lastname@example.org)
Rumours of a ‘star’ Liberal candidate continue to swirl. And it’s not impossible that a Grit could take the seat. But in a by-election, where turnout matters more than anything, getting a candidate, any candidate, nominated soon is critical. Every extra day Scott, a law professor at Osgoode Hall, has to knock doors unopposed is a gift from the Liberals to the NDP. (According to Postmedia’s Tobi Cohen, George Smitherman and David Miller have ruled out runs for Liberal nod. Other names being bandied about include Gerard Kennedy, Belinda Stronach and Andrew Lang, who was the party’s sacrificial lamb in the riding in the last two elections.)
UPDATE: The vote has been delayed by a week and will now occur on March 19.
By Aaron Wherry - Monday, February 6, 2012 at 9:05 AM - 0 Comments
Voters will elect a new MP in Toronto-Danforth on
March 12March 19 and the Conservatives would like you to expect a Liberal win.
“Governments do not win by-elections, and as this is a traditional Liberal seat this is theirs to lose,” Delorey said Sunday.
The riding has been contested 12 times since 1976, the New Democrats winning it eight times, the Liberals winning it four times. As for the idea that governing parties tend to not win by-elections, I debunked that notion two years ago here and here.
By Aaron Wherry - Wednesday, January 11, 2012 at 8:34 AM - 0 Comments
Once more to our periodic series on the House of Commons.
Lise St-Denis’ constituents are anecdotally displeased.
“It is completely ridiculous,” said Pierre Huot, director of the student association at Collège Shawinigan. “If she wants to join the Liberals, she should run in a by-election.”
Mr. Huot apparently voted for the Bloc Quebecois last time around.
The Liberal result in Saint-Maurice-Champlain was rather dismal in May—Yves Tousignant finished fourth with just 11.9% of the vote. Not since 2004 has the Liberal candidate in the riding finished better than third.
All of which, once again, raises all those questions about who and what one votes for when one marks one’s ballot. A lot of the same questions that were raised, for different reasons, by the election of Ruth Ellen Brosseau. Continue…
By Aaron Wherry - Monday, December 6, 2010 at 1:58 PM - 64 Comments
Behold, the quotable Julian Fantino. He is humble, but he claims the right road; he is tough, but he is a victim; he is unafraid, but he laments anyone who would question his moral authority. He is a folksy, tough-talking, passive-aggressive self-described underdog team player who refers to himself in the third person. And he offends Liberal sensibilities.
To wit. Continue…
By Aaron Wherry - Wednesday, December 1, 2010 at 1:53 PM - 3 Comments
Brad Lavigne, the NDP’s executive director, last week. “If a leader loses momentum [Monday], they’ll have a hard time gaining it back before the budget gets tabled in February.”
Jack Layton, asked about Lavigne’s assessment yesterday. “Well, I think when you look at by-elections, they do have these very unique characteristics. I mean, who would have predicted that the NDP would have gone up in votes in Dauphin? But yet, that is what happened and the Liberals went down. So is there some kind of trend in the west as some have suggested? I don’t really think you can find much of a trend line in these results and you know, we have done our share in by-election victories. We won one, each of the opposition party has won one out of seven since this Parliament started and we are just going to keep at it.”
By Aaron Wherry - Tuesday, November 30, 2010 at 6:26 PM - 177 Comments
It is a tradition that binds us together as a nation, our eternal obsession over the ever-imminent downfall of our elected leaders. And so we return now to the question of just how profoundly, unavoidably, indisputably screwed is Michael Ignatieff.
At last report, he was most immediately doomed by Monday’s by-elections. As the conventional consensus had it, the Liberal party was to lose all three. Defeat in the former Liberal stronghold of Vaughan would be particularly resounding—it would be what Outremont was to Stéphane Dion. What once was a Liberal caucus of 77 would be reduced to a mere 76. Everything else would subsequently come crashing down around Mr. Ignatieff. By Christmas, he would be deposed as leader. By spring, he would be bussing tables at Harvey’s on Elgin Street. His household’s cats, Mimi and Eric, would hiss at him when he returned home from work each day.
As the day dawned on Tuesday in the capital, it was but a trifle that Monday night had not at all gone according to plan. The Liberals had indeed lost Vaughan, but by just less than a thousand votes. Meanwhile, the Liberal candidate in Winnipeg-North was victorious in a riding the party had not won in 17 years. What was a Liberal caucus of 77 is still a caucus of 77. He had broken even. He had exceeded expectations.
Rest assured, the Liberal leader is still destined to soon be asking the public not for their support, but rather whether they’d like fries or onion rings with that. “Vaughan by-election loss adds to Ignatieff’s woes” explained a Globe headline this morning, that atop a story that spoke ominously of “Michael Ignatieff’s troubled leadership.” “For Ignatieff,” preemptively eulogized a Conservative operative now lending his analysis to the National Post, “his days are numbered”
Though a doomed man, he arrived this morning to the House foyer looking mostly undead. Continue…
By Aaron Wherry - Tuesday, November 30, 2010 at 12:42 PM - 138 Comments
From the Prime Minister’s statement today on last night’s by-election results.
“Though it is rare for a governing party to win by-elections, we are buoyed by the fact that the Conservative Caucus in the House of Commons has increased.”
As noted previously, and according to Wikipedia’s records, heading into last night 31 seats last held by the incumbent government have been contested in by-elections over the last 30 years, 22 of those—71%—remaining with the government.
Since taking office in 2006, the Harper government has now picked up four seats that were held by opposition parties. The Chretien government won an equal number of opposition seats between
19881993 and 2004. The Mulroney government retained sixtwo of its ninesix seats and picked up two opposition seats.* You have to go back to theThe Trudeau government to find an incumbent administration thatsignificantly struggled in by-elections—between 1968 and 19791984, 2025 Liberal government seats were contested, 1113 of those going to the opposition by my count. OverBut over the same period, the Liberals picked up threefour opposition ridings.
Going back to 1968 then, a total of
5753 seats last held by an incumbent government have been contested, 3432 of those retained by the incumbent. Over that same period, the governing party has picked up a dozen seats held by opposition parties.
*Wells checked my math and it seems I took a slightly wrong turn somewhere in the 80s. Larger trend still holds.
By Aaron Wherry - Monday, November 29, 2010 at 9:02 PM - 118 Comments
You are looking live… at your computer, where, if you so desire, by-election results for Vaughan, Winnipeg-North and Dauphin-Swan River-Marquette will be posted gradually after polls close at 9:30pm EST.
Elections Canada results will appear here. Wikipedia profiles for the respective ridings are available here, here and here. 308′s election day projections have the Tories taking Vaughan, the NDP holding Winnipeg and the Tories holding Dauphin. Vaughan will be your narrative-defining contest of the evening.
For however long as seems necessary, I’ll be here with updates, tangents and the like. Feel free to leave questions in the comments below and I’ll try to offer snappy or thoughtful responses as time warrants. Continue…
By Aaron Wherry - Monday, November 29, 2010 at 11:05 AM - 50 Comments
Like we did a year ago, we’ll go “live” for by-election coverage this evening.
By Aaron Wherry - Friday, November 26, 2010 at 4:37 PM - 34 Comments
By Aaron Wherry - Monday, November 22, 2010 at 3:35 PM - 48 Comments
Don Cherry imparts his wisdom on the Vaughan by-election.
“There are not enough words to describe how much respect I have for Julian Fantino,” the bombastic and sartorially outlandish Hockey Night in Canada commentator writes.. “He is honest, brave and always there for the ordinary guy. A class act and someone who will never let you down. He tells it like it is.”
There is more fawning analysis from Mr. Cherry, a former coach – but you get the idea. The endorsement was provided to The Globe by the Conservative Party.
By Aaron Wherry - Monday, October 25, 2010 at 10:19 AM - 0 Comments
In addition to each party dismaying of its chances—the Conservatives, for instance, are suddenly quite keen on Michael Ignatieff—it will no doubt be said over the next two months that by-elections naturally favour the government or opposition.
Here then is Wikipedia’s list of federal by-elections. By my count—excluding the case of Bill Casey, the Conservative MP who was expelled from caucus, won as an independent and was succeeded, after retiring, by a Conservative—the government of the day has held 22 of the 31 seats contested in by-elections over the last 30 years. Opposition parties—again excluding the Casey situation—have held 26 of 38 seats.
By respective percentage, governments held 71% of the time, opposition parties held 68% of the time.
By total seats, governments went into those 69 by-elections with 30 seats and emerged with 29.
By Aaron Wherry - Friday, October 22, 2010 at 6:40 PM - 0 Comments
Three by-elections are now reportedly expected to see votes next month, perhaps most notably the riding of Vaughan—a Liberal seat to be sought by a “star” Conservative candidate in a hotly contested area of southern Ontario. An impartial Conservative sets up the contest as follows.
“We are obviously very excited about our candidate there, Julian Fantino, and it says a lot about our party that we are able to attract such a strong candidate,” a Conservative spokesperson said, speaking on background. “But at the end of the day, given that the Official Opposition should win by-elections and that this is a traditional safe Liberal seat, this is Ignatieff’s to lose.”
By Aaron Wherry - Wednesday, October 13, 2010 at 2:06 PM - 0 Comments
Liberal MP Shawn Murphy won’t run again in Charlottetown. The Liberals have held that riding since 1988, last winning by 3,000 votes.
By Aaron Wherry - Wednesday, October 6, 2010 at 10:15 AM - 0 Comments
With Jay Hill announcing his departure and the Bloc’s Jean-Yves Roy expected to soon follow, as many as five ridings may now be officially put in play before year’s end. Pundits Guide circles December 13 on the calendar.
Those by-elections would include two Conservative seats (Prince George and Dauphin), one NDP seat (Winnipeg-North), one Liberal seat (Vaughan) and one Bloc seat (Haute-Gaspesie). The latter three would seem to be the most worth watching—Haute-Gaspesie a narrow Bloc victory in 2008 and the Conservatives seemingly eager to pick up Vaughan.
By Aaron Wherry - Wednesday, September 1, 2010 at 5:02 PM - 0 Comments
Pundits Guide notes that BQ MP Jean-Yves Roy might not be a BQ MP for much longer.
In terms of the Bill C-391, that would be another no vote lost.
In terms of another potential by-election, the riding of Haute-Gaspésie–La Mitis–Matane–Matapédia would very much seem to be in play. It would also give each of the four parties a riding to defend in potential fall votes alongside the NDP in Winnipeg-North, the Liberals in Vaughan and the Conservatives in Dauphin-Swan River-Marquette.
By Aaron Wherry - Tuesday, November 10, 2009 at 11:17 AM - 62 Comments
Michael Ignatieff’s official response to last night’s results.
“I want to congratulate all of the winners in yesterday’s by-elections.
“I also want to thank Ken Beck Lee, Robert David, Marcel Catellier and Jim Burrows for carrying the Liberal banner.
“The by-election results last night show that we have a lot of work ahead of us. Canadians want an alternative to the Harper Conservatives. Our job in the months ahead is to earn the confidence and support of Canadians.”
By Aaron Wherry - Monday, November 9, 2009 at 9:05 PM - 78 Comments
Results to come at 10pm EST, comments closed until then. (Note: Results now in and updates below.)
In the meantime, there are allegations of shenanigans in Riviere-du-Loup.
And for the numerically inclined, here is how the parties fared in these four ridings combined the last time they were contested as they are tonight—using the 2008 results for three of the four, and the 2006 result for Cumberland.
Bloc Quebecois 23.6%
That, if you’re particularly keen to make something of this, might be the most interesting benchmark to watch.
Update, 9:46pm. Several other people to keep an eye on tonight: the Star’s Susan Delacourt, our old friend Kady O’Malley at CBC, David Akin on Twitter, Alice Funke at Pundits’ Guide and Eric at ThreeHundredEight.com.
Update 10:00pm. First returns are in. Conservative Scott Armstrong takes Cumberland quite comfortably, though not quite by the same margin as his Bill Casey did three years ago. Hochelaga is a blowout. Montmagny is tight. Continue…
By Aaron Wherry - Sunday, November 8, 2009 at 10:49 PM - 32 Comments
Monday night will see the election of four new MPs to fill the vacancies left by Bill Casey, Dawn Black, Real Menard and Paul Crete. The results of these four races will no doubt be incredibly important and meaningful. At least for about 24 hours or so, after which everyone will move on to some other shiny object.
Wikipedia has past results for Cumberland—Colchester—Musquodoboit Valley, Hochelaga, Montmagny—L’Islet—Kamouraska—Rivière-du-Loup and New Westminster—Coquitlam. Pundits’ Guide has that plus plenty of other stuff.
By-election results on Monday night will be available through Elections Canada beginning at 10pm EST.
Various other points of note.
By Aaron Wherry - Sunday, November 8, 2009 at 4:37 PM - 43 Comments
Jacques Demers settles into his new role.
After vowing on the day he was named to the Senate to not indulge in partisan politics for the Conservatives, Senator Jacques Demers, former coach of the Canadiens, has done just that.
Demers, the Journal de Québec reported this week, has been called up from Ottawa to lend a hand to the Conservative candidate in Monday’s federal by-election in the Lower North Shore riding of Montmagny-L’Islet-Kamouraska-Rivière-du-Loup, Bernard Généreux. It is one of four being held in Canada Monday …
Demers has recorded one of those telephone messages parties play to potential voters around election time. This one urges them to vote for Généreux, the mayor of La Pocatière. “This election will be very close and each vote counts,” Demers says in the message. “As a coach, when things mattered I preferred to have my best players on the ice and not in the bleachers. In voting for Bernard, you are giving yourselves the power to act.”
See previously: The unSenator