Saturday, October 3, 2009

By-Election Frenzy!

The Globe and Mail is reporting that the government will call four by-elections to fill the empty seats in Parliament. The vote is likely to take place sometime in November.

The four by-elections are in New Westminster-Coquitlam, a riding east of Vancouver previously held by Dawn Black of the NDP, Cumberland-Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley, a riding in central Nova Scotia encompassing the cities of Truro and Amherst and previously held by independent Bill Casey, Hochelaga-Maisonneuve, an eastern Montreal riding formerly held by Réal Ménard of the Bloc Quebecois, and Montmagny-L'Islet-Kamouraska-Rivière-du-Loup, a riding in the Bas-St-Laurent held by Paul Crête of the Bloc Quebecois.

What fun!

The two Bloc ridings are the closest thing to a lock. They're Bloc strongholds.


In Hochelaga, only NDP candidate Jean-Claude Rocheleau is confirmed, according to the Pundit's Guide. This was the result in 2008:

BQ - 49.7%
LPC - 20.7%
NDP - 14.4%
CPC - 9.2%
GPC - 4.3%

If we take the proportional change of the current projection in the province from the result in 2008, and apply it to the riding, we get:

BLQ - 47.9%
LPC - 25.8%
NDP - 12.9%
GPC - 7.5%
CPC - 7.0%

So the Bloc would comfortably win this riding.


Candidates for the Bloc (Nancy Gagnon) and the Conservatives (Bernard Généraux) have been confirmed. Here is last year's result:

BLQ - 46.0%
CPC - 30.6%
LPC - 15.4%
NDP - 5.5%
GPC - 2.2%

With the proportional change, we get:

BLQ - 44.3%
CPC - 23.3%
LPC - 19.2%
NDP - 4.9%
GPC - 3.8%

Another comfortable win for the Bloc. Something to watch here is how the Conservative vote goes. This used to be Mario Dumont's provincial riding, and in the provincial by-election the ADQ vote melted away. Will the same sort of thing happen for the Tories?

New Westminster-Coquitlam

This one could be a good race. Apparently, the NDP plans to make political hay out of the HST issue. It isn't an NDP stronghold, but over the last few elections the NDP has narrowly beat out the Conservatives. Last year's result:

NDP - 41.8%
CPC - 38.8%
LPC - 11.3%
GPC - 7.2%

With the proportional change:

NDP - 39.1%
CPC - 32.4%
LPC - 15.4%
GPC - 9.0%

So the NDP holds on to it. One thing to watch is the Liberal vote. It sank from the mid-20s to 15% in the last election. Will it get back to the 25% mark?

Diana Dilworth (CPC), Fin Donnelly (NDP), Rebecca Helps (GPC), and Ken Beck Lee (LPC) have been confirmed as candidates.

Cumberland-Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley

This is the real contest. Bill Casey left the Conservatives because he felt their 2007 budget violated the Atlantic Accord. He ran again in 2008 as an independent, and virtually swept the riding:

IND - 69.0%
NDP - 12.3%
CPC - 8.8%
LPC - 8.5%

So what will happen to those Casey voters? Will they go back to the Conservatives? This makes it wide open. But let's look at the 2006 result:

CPC - 52.0%
LPC - 23.9%
NDP - 20.7%
GPC - 2.1%

This suggest the riding is a safe Conservative seat. Let's apply the change between the projection and the 2006 result to this riding:

CPC - 42.6%
NDP - 23.4%
LPC - 22.9%
GPC - 5.9%

So it all depends on how the Liberal/NDP vote splits. The Conservatives look like they'll be a little vulnerable, but should win it if they don't mess it up.

The confirmed candidates are Scott Armstrong (CPC), Mark Austin (NDP), Jason Blanch (GPC), and Jim Burrows (LPC).

I'll be watching these by-elections closely, and maybe I'll make some projections before the vote takes place.


  1. So the fine print here is that these are usually low turnout, hinge on local issues, and tend to be bad for the governing party.

    Still, that won't stop us from reading into the results. And the perception of momentum can become somewhat of a self fulfilling prophecy.

    I'm going to be looking at how the Liberals do relative to Dion - is Ignatieff's team all that much better or not ?

    Does the NDP keep its riding, does the HST issue have resonance ?

    Finally the Green party. If it doesn't have a respectable showing anywhere I think we should once and for all stop talking about the party and kick Ms. May out of the debates.

  2. I grew up in the Musquodoboit Valley. It's a safe CPC seat.

  3. They said that about the provincial Musquodoboit seat as well - then it went NDP by a wide margin in June!

  4. Ah but us folks in Manitoba vote mostly for Conservatives federally, while it's been NDP provincially for the last decade... I guess what I'm trying to say is federal and provincial are two different balls of wax, and hopefully Musquodoboit Valley goes back to its rightful place in the Conservative fold.

  5. DL,

    Liberals form the provincial BC government and yet when a federal election is called their voters are nowhere to be seen.

    Its kind of a stretch to make conclusions about federal politics based on what's happening provincially.

  6. BC is not a good example to use before there is no Conservative Party worth speaking of. There are the BC Liberals and the BC NDP, and that's pretty much it. I imagine Tory and Liberal voters vote BC Liberal while other Liberal voters and NDP voters vote BC NDP.

  7. Eric,

    the fact that there is no BC provincial counter part to the Conservatives only re-inforces the notion that its difficult to make comparisons between the two levels.

    There's actually a relatively succesfull Green party in BC that until the most recent election out performed the federal Greens.

    Provincially everything seems shifted to the left. Ignatieff's carbon tax actually exists here!

    Perhaps people like the idea of the provincial-federal leaders counterbalancing each other. Or perhaps the set of issues are just different. Its like that in a lot of provinces. Maybe some line up better than others, I don't particularily know Nova Scotia.

    I just think we should be very careful about trying to make comparisons between the two levels of government, or perhaps we should't at all.

  8. The NDP though is a totally integrated federal/provincial party and vote share of the federal and provincial NDP in Nova Scotia have not been that far apart. You can be sure that the NDP MLAs who won seats in June will make a big effort for the federal NDP in the byelection. The biggest challenge the NDP often faces is just being seen as a viable. No one in CCMV sees the NDP as a marginal party with no chance of winning anymore.

    When all is said and done, there is probably enough Tory "DNA" in that riding that it will go Tory, but don't be surprised if the NDP is a strong second and gets a much higher vote share than ever before in that seat.

    There is a good chance that the Liberals will finsih 3rd in all four byelections - that will be a humiliation for them.

  9. I figure if the liberals keep telling everyone that the stimulus money only goes to conservative ridings, then they(conservatives) should win all 4 byelections!!!!!!!!

  10. I saw Tom Mulcair on CTV's QP today discussing the Hochelaga riding.

    He said the BQ's candidate was a "real right winger". According to Pundit's Guide there's a nomination fight split along ideological lines.

    The NDP's candidate is a union boss I believe.

    It'll be interesting to see if the NDP can be seen as a real progressive alternative and beat out the Liberals for second place.

    Marlene Jennings was also on the panel and completely mangled a number of objective facts. Why is taking over as the voice of the Liberals in Quebec (at least on english television) I simply do not know.


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