Monday, November 9, 2009

By-Election Coverage

00:37 - It is getting too late to wait for the last eight polls in New Westminster-Coquitlam, so I'm calling it now. It will be kept for the NDP, and Fin Donnelly will become the newest NDP MP. They're back up to 37 in the House of Commons. This race turned out to be far less close than everyone assumed. As of writing, the NDP is at 50% followed by the Tories at 36%, the Liberals at 10%, and the Greens at 4%. But the voting turnout was low, about 30%. The Liberals did as well as they did last year, but that is not exactly a positive thing considering British Columbia appears to be one of the regions they can make some gains. The Conservatives saw a slight dip, which fits in with how they're doing in the province. But the NDP gain of almost ten points is very significant. I would not be surprised if we see an NDP bump in the polls in British Columbia soon.

That does it for tonight. Good night!

00:20 - So, the Conservatives pull off the only upset tonight, taking Montmagny-L'Islet-Kamouraska-Rivière-du-Loup from the Bloc. But, remember, this is right next to the Tory block of seats in and around Quebec City, so this doesn't represent a breakthrough into a new region of the province. It does show, however, that the Conservative brand is still a winner in this part of Quebec. That certainly bodes well for the future. The Tories were written off in Quebec only a few months ago, they're now back in it. They take the riding with 43%, 12-points more than the election. The Bloc drops eight points to 38%, while the Liberals drop two to 13% and the NDP drops one to 5%. These two parties really weren't in the race. But then again, they weren't in the race last year either. Turnout was 37%, as good as anywhere else, showing that "voter fatigue" doesn't really exist if something is at stake.

We're now just waiting on New Westminster-Coquitlam. Nine polls left, and it looks like an NDP win.

00:14 - So, all the polls from Hochelaga are now in. Daniel Paillé will be the next Bloc MP, putting them up to 48 total in the House of Commons. He won pretty easily with 51%. The NDP finished a strong second with 20%. The Liberals were behind with 14%, and the Conservatives were at 10%. The only real movement was between the Liberals and the NDP, and the NDP seems to have taken about 1/3 of Liberal voters in the riding. The turnout was only 22%, very low. That's usually the case when the result is a foregone conclusion.

23:41 - Donnelly still leads, now by 1,800 votes. With 110 out of 225 polls reporting, that looks like the NDP will hold on to the seat. Apparently, people in the riding were aware of the race between the CPC and the NDP, as the Liberals had only 9% support. The Conservatives lead in Montmagny with 1,100 votes. With only 17 polls left, this looks like a Tory pick-up. Two more seats for them, putting them up to 145. The Bloc will be at 48 and the NDP will be at 37 tomorrow.

23:18 - So, the gap is starting to narrow between the Conservatives and the NDP in NWC, but Fin Donnelly still holds an 800-vote lead over Diana Dilworth. In MLKRDP, Généreux is up to about a 900-vote lead, with 220 out of 257 polls reporting. Unless the remaining polling boxes are from Bloc-friendly parts of the riding, this just might be the night's upset. But, as I explained before, this riding does fit the profile of a Conservative Quebec riding, so I wouldn't call this a "game changer".

23:05 - Cumberland-Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley is settled. Scott Armstrong will be the new Conservative MP for the riding. He earned 46% of the vote, followed by the NDP at 26%, the Liberals at 21%, and the Greens at 3%. The Christian Heritage Party managed 776 votes and 3% as well. The turnout was 36%, not horrible for a by-election. This result is good for the Tories, obviously. The NDP can be happy with placing second, but they had built it up to be a little more of a race than it was. The Liberals should be disappointed considering Atlantic Canada is one of their better regions, but 21% isn't disastrous.

We have 20 polls reporting (of 225) from New Westminster, and the NDP is still in the lead, 52% to 36%. Montmagny has 205 of 257 polls report, and the lead is 720 votes.

22:48 - Not much change, at all!

22:34 - Only three polls reporting, but a good beginning for the NDP in New Westminster, up about 60 votes, 55% to 34%.

Bernard Généreux has opened up a 450 vote lead on Bloc candidate Nancy Gagnon, 42% to 39%, in Montmagny.

22:18 - Still nothing from British Columbia, but the Bloc is doing better in Hochelaga and are up to 52% with 50 of 219 polls reporting. The NDP's vote increase isn't exactly significant, neither is the Liberal drop, for a by-election.

In Montmagny, it is still a dead-heat, 40% apiece, with 100 of 257 polls reporting. Neither the Liberals nor the NDP have moved much at all.

In Nova Scotia, the Tories got about 54% of Casey's vote, compared to 20% for the NDP and 17% for the Liberals. While the NDP is doing well to be in second, the Liberals aren't as out of it as everyone assumed they'd be.

New Westminster is still up in the air, but Montmagny is turning out to be the race to watch.

22:05 - First results are in, and the Bloc is well ahead in Hochelaga. The NDP has increased their vote to 21%, but it is not a close race. The Liberals drop from 21% to 14%.

In Nova Scotia, the Conservatives have re-earned the Casey vote. They lead the NDP 46% to 26%. The Liberals are at 21%.

The race is very close in Montmagny, tied at 39% as of right now. The Liberals maintained their vote, however.

No results from British Columbia, which isn't a surprise, considering the polls just closed.


  1. Conservatives leading in Rivière-du-Loup, of course its only Polls reporting: 35/257 as of now.

    The election black out is so annoying here in BC! No early returns until our riding finishes the vote.

  2. Montmagny is going back and forth by a handful of votes. Exciting!

  3. I guess I was wrong about Hochelaga. Good call Eric.

  4. Eric,

    any way of knowing which polls are counted first? Sometimes races seem close and exciting but that's just because a candidate is strong in a certain area and once those votes are exhausted the other person breaks away.

  5. If there is, I don't know it.

  6. Hochelaga is interesting - the Liberal vote switched with the NDP vote, almost bit for bit. It just means the residents of working-class Hochelaga finally found their federalist home - small as it is.

  7. If the Liberals are weaker tonight than in '08 the storyline tommorow is going to be pretty clear.

    Any sort of boost to the NDP and with the Liberal shop still in ruins, no organization in Quebec, and people still being fired from Iggy's office expect a MAJOR re-alignment when the house gets back in session next week.

    We're in for at least a year in which the Conservatives can pass ANYTHING, the Liberals will hold their nose and vote for it, and the NDP-BQ can proudly vote NO.

  8. Jesse, you're forgetting - the NDP are the ones who are supporting the Conservatives now. Ignatieff isn't stupid enough to go back to how it was before, and Layton isn't going to back off his support because as bad as the Liberals may be, the NDP are in the same boat.

  9. Volkov,

    the NDP are fast becoming the official opposition in much of Canada (I mean that in electoral terms).

    In the NS they've moved from third place to second place. For most rural Canadians they're either first or second choice.

    In Hochelaga they've moved from third to second place. After Mulcair's win last time its possible that on the island of Montreal the NDP is going to be the new default federalist option.

    With this sort of re-alignment going on they have nothing to fear from an election and the Liberals do.

    So they have all the power and to avoid being wiped out Iggy is going to buckle and go back to the old ways where he supported Harper. (Peter Donolo himself has said there is nothing wrong with this).

  10. Eric how did the CPC and LPC do in Hochelaga in terms of the popular vote in the last election. TIA.

  11. To Jesse's point, the only one of the big four parties without something to cheer about is the Liberals.

    They are running in 3rd or 4th place in each of the four ridings being contested.

  12. Eric just noticed the 2008 results in the Bar Graphs. TIA Sorry I missed that Away from home tonight.

  13. The NDP could become the federalist option in eastern Montreal, but western Montreal will always be Liberal.

  14. Very early returns in BC but it looks like there is a HST message for the Campbell Liberals and Federal Tories.

  15. Looks like a total NDP landslide in NWC, you see Eric I was right about how your model is underestimating the NDP in BC!!

    Its notable that while the Green Party keeps polling at 10 or 11% when they are prompted for - but in this byelections they are getting 2 or 3% in each riding. This is clear proof that they popular vote is getting grossly overestimated due to prompting.

  16. I'd say it has more to do with it being a by-election.

  17. byelections tell you something about which way the wind is blowing

  18. Sure, but I think the Greens usually do badly in by-elections. And the Greens really didn't run much of a campaign at all. I didn't hear a peep from them.

  19. Real speculation here. The HST needs needs enabling legislation to pass Federally. Based on the results out of BC which I think can be interpreted as an anti HST vote, I wonder how the Feds get the legislation through the Commons. If I'm IGGY I now have an issue, provincial cousins in Ont. be ... Harper isn't stupid enough to fight an election on the HST in ONT and BC. I think maybe the HST is in trouble.

  20. NPD seems to be doing very well in BC, but it does depend where the polls are reporting from - looking at provincial results I think they're stronger in New West than Coquitlam. Still, looks hopeful.

    Congrats to the Conservatives in Riviere-du-Loup - one more federalist seat!

    It looks like a good day for the Conservatives (picked up a seat in Quebec) and the NDP (look like they've increased their vote share in every riding) and a bad one for the Bloc and Liberals.

  21. Hey warrioreowyn,

    part of this riding is also Port Moody where the Con candidate is a city counciller. Depending on where the polls are that could be a region of strength for her.

    I wish they'd change the name to include "Port Moody". It gives the impression that she's a carpetbagger without it.

  22. Speaking of which, I noticed that in the 2008 election, no local Conservative seemed willing to take on Bill Casey. In the end, the Conservative candidate in the 2008 election in Casey's riding gave Orleans, Ontario, as his home address.

  23. Earl,

    You really think Harper is going to back track on a deal that's been open to the provinces since the Liberals created the HST in the 90's ??

    If parliament didn't pass enabling legislation you'd probably see this go to the Supreme Court considering the Atlantic Provinces are already in the HST.

    And Harper would have a huge fight on his hands with Gordon Campbell right around the Olympics and his semi-truce with McGuinty would be off.

    Nope, sorry. This is a provincial decision through and through. The vote in parliament is just a rubber stamp.

    It'll pass with Liberal and Conservative support with the NDP and BQ voting against it. The same thing will happen with every piece of legistlation for now on, for at least a good year.

  24. Eric,

    I heard he was a New Brunswicker in his background. No wonder he got thumped, people just hate carpetbaggers and to an extent "star candidates" or "parachute candidates".

    This time around the Tory candidate is close to Casey and was actually part of the local insurrection last time. So clearly the rift has been healed.

    PS - what is the difference between eastern and western Montreal? I mean sociologically, why is there such strength for the Liberals where as the eastern side seems to have more BQ ridings at the moment ? Why are the NDP surging in the area ?

  25. Jesse: I respectfully disagree. The LPC will not support the enabling legislation. IGGY has an issue, much like John Turner did with Free Trade in 1988. Look I'm a CPC supporter. but I don't expect Harper to give the opposition a gift. Only time will tell. Good night.

  26. Earl,

    I personally do not even think its legal for Harper to refuse to enable the HST. I really don't, not when its already being done elsewhere. But whatever, fine.

    Iggy has taken four or five positions on the HST and the one he's settled on most recently is that he will honour the agreement.

    He CANNOT risk a fissure with the provincial Liberals. It would be the end of his leadership.

    I really think you're letting your personal dislike for the HST cloud your judgement.

    Perhaps you wish Harper would block the HST ? That's not the same thing as it actually going to happen.

  27. Jesse,

    Western Montreal is English-speaking, and eastern Montreal is French-speaking. The West part of the island is far more wealthy, while the east is more working class. Most importantly, the west part of the island has a long, long history of voting Liberal at both the provincial and federal levels.


    whoops, it's Tuesday, I forgot to go find this link for you yesterday. Its the Insightrix data for Saskatchewan (as presented by the newstalk station.) I apologize for screwin up and sending you to sigma.

    Just a note about that 16% that the NDP scored..... about 33% was thought to be their core base vote over the last several elections. So that number is likely a bit low

  29. The CPC are now ten seats from a majority. It would be cheaper to poach 10 MP's than hold another election.

    We can call it PEAP: Politician Economic Action Plan.

    "our benches are more comfortable"


  31. Earl,

    Iggy's already said he'll be supporting the HST and the reality is that there's nothing in it for the grits to oppose it. Harmonization of the GST and provincial sales taxes have been Liberal party policy since the 1990's, so they wouldn't have a whole lot of credibility running on an anti-HST platform. That would just give credibility to an NDP issue. Moreover, Iggy can't afford to make an enemy out of Dalton McGuinty. If the Grits want to have a chance to regain power, they have to gain seats in Ontario. Shanking Dalton McGuinty over the HST is a sure-fire way of ensuring that that doesn't happen. As it is, when Iggy floated the notion that he might oppose the HST back in September we saw McGuinty leak the story that Iggy had told him that he would support it. That was a shot fired over Iggy's bow. The next day, Iggy confirmed that he wouldn't renege on the HST deal. In any event, if I were Iggy, I wouldn't be looking to John Turner for inspiration. Yes, the FTA gave Turner an issue, but it didn't give him a government (and much like the FTA, notwithstanding the opposition, the HTA will turn out to be good policy). The harmonization amendments will probably be passed before the next budget, if not before Christmas.

    In any event, I wouldn't read too much into the result in New Westminster. By-elections are usually used to stick it to the government of the day and, after all, the NDP only retained a riding they had previously held. It's not clear that their success will translate into anything more substantive come a general election.


    All that being said, it's not up to Harper to amend the GST/HST legislation, it's up to Parliament. If Parliament doesn't amend the GST/HST Act to harmonize the GST with the BC and Ontario sales taxes, there isn't much the provincial governments could do. It's parliament, and parliament alone that decides whether, when and how federal legislation is amended. It's not a rubber stamp in the sense that, were the Liberals to decide not to support it (for some none to clever reason), harmonization as currently contemplated wouldn't happen.

    That said the provinces could do what Quebec does, which is introduce their own value added tax which is, for all intents and purposes, identical to the federal GST and enter into an agreement with the feds to have the CRA administer it (in Quebec it's the other way around, Revenue Quebec administers the GST for the feds). That's an arrangement which wouldn't depend on amendments to the federal act and would get to the same place, but it would be somewhat more awkward.


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