Monday, November 9, 2009

By-Elections Today

In British Columbia, Quebec, and Nova Scotia, by-elections are being held today. If you live in any of these ridings, be sure to vote.

Here are some predictions (not projections).

New Westminster-Coquitlam

This Vancouver suburban riding was held by Dawn Black of the NDP. She had won this riding by three points and about 1,500 votes over Conservative candidate Yonah Martin. This is really a race between the NDP and the Conservatives. The former have been trying to tie the provincial government's HST plan to the federal Conservatives, while the Conservatives are fighting hard to win back this riding. The Liberals and Greens are not in the race. The NDP has been relatively stable in BC of late, but are actually under-performing from their 2008 result. The Conservatives are also under-performing, but have some positive momentum. That, coupled with the Tories being in government, make me lean towards the Conservatives. But this is a 60-40 chance.


Formerly held by Réal Ménard of the Bloc Quebecois, this is a sovereigntist stronghold. He had almost 23,000 votes and 50% in the last election. His closest competitor was Liberal Diane Dicaire, who had 21% and 9,000 votes. Daniel Paillé is going to try to keep the riding for the Bloc. He's a "star" candidate, and the Bloc has been pushing hard to elect him. The NDP has also been pushing hard to elect their Jean-Claude Rocheleau, who had 14% in the 2008 election. The media is making this out to be a race where the Liberals will finish third, but the NDP's momentum in Quebec isn't much better than the Liberals'. This is a 95% chance of a Bloc win, but I'd say it is 50-50 as to whether the Liberals or the NDP will finish second.


This riding has been voting a lot of late, five times over the last year. They had a federal election, then a provincial election, then a provincial by-election, then municipal elections, and now a federal by-election. This riding has been Bloc since 1993, and Paul Crête won it last year with 46% and 20,500 votes. The Tories were second with 31% and 13,600 votes. Nancy Gagnon is up for the Bloc, while Bernard Généreux, former mayor of La Pocatière, is up for the Tories. This is supposed to be a close race, but the Bloc sent 20 of their MPs to the riding to help out over the weekend. I've also heard that outside of La Pocatière the Conservative candidate is having trouble. The Conservatives do have some positive momentum in the province, but it has only gotten them back up to 2008 levels. The Bloc is steady. Some people have called a Conservative win here a "game changer", but it actually fits the profile of a Tory Quebec riding, as the adjacent riding is Lévis-Bellechasse, held by the Conservatives. Nevertheless, this is likely to be a Bloc win. I'd give it about a 75% chance.

Cumberland-Colchester-Musquodoboit Vallet

This riding was left vacant after Bill Casey left the Conservative Party and won as an independent. They elected him with a huge 69% majority with 27,000 votes. The Conservatives and NDP have been fighting for this riding, but it has a very blue history. The only way the NDP has a chance is if Casey loyalists are still displeased at the Tories for booting him out of caucus. I'd say that isn't enough of a possibility to make this anything but a Tory win. Say, 80-20.

So, that makes two Conservative wins and two Bloc wins, putting them up to 145 and 49 seats, respectively. We'll find out what actually happens tonight!

So, again, if you live in any of these ridings, GO VOTE!


  1. is there any place on the net we can get some sort of election night style counts? or will we have to wait for the morning paper like usual?

  2. I would disagree with you comment regarding the riding from Nova scotia. Bill casey did a large amount of damage to the conservative brand and I would not be surprised if this riding went to the Liberals. The east coast is the only region of Canada where the conservatives are not leading.(not including the BQ)That being said the Firearms registry being disbanded must give some boost to the conservatives chances here in this riding. Unfortunately this issue may cost them the riding in quebec.

    I would say it's a 50/50 split in Nova scotia and a 80/20 split for the BQ in quebec.

  3. Anonymous wrote:

    "I would disagree with you comment regarding the riding from Nova scotia. Bill casey did a large amount of damage to the conservative brand and I would not be surprised if this riding went to the Liberals."

    Are you serious?

    The Liberals finished fourth in this riding in 2008 and they haven't exactly been skyrocketing in the polls.

    While I think the concensus is probably correct that the Conservatives have the edge in this riding, if they lose, it seems very unlikely to be the Liberal.

    If the Liberal were to win this riding it would be the most surprising result of the night.

  4. Alot of damage to the tory brand? maybe...

    But the tories have generally won Cumberland—Colchester—Musquodoboit Valley by 10-20% every election since this ridings inception 40 years ago. The liberals squeaked in once in the Chretien wipeout of the tories in 1993.

    I think it would be a huge surprise if this riding went liberal tonight. They will likely finish second again... probably 15% back of the winner. Especially with the NDP pushing hard? I think it is more likely that the liberals would run 3rd than win.

  5. Barcs - the CBC's web site is usually quite good for election results. I expect this to be even more true now that they have a dedicated politics section:

    I'm no fan of the CBC, but as long as their government money is building pretty web servers, they're a useful source of raw data.

  6. I grew up in Musquodoboit and my parents will vote there today. I'll be surprised if the Conservatives don't win, but less surprised than a couple of years ago.

    I think it depends on how long the riding can hold a grudge against the Conservatives. If they're still mad, there is some possibility for, say, an NDP win. I think the Liberals chances are unlikely, unless the Liberals benefit from soft votes switching away from both the Conservatives and the NDP (say as a provincial reaction).

    Although one candidate might come up the middle of a vote split (except the CHP), I don't expect it'll happen.

    My head favors the Conservatives, my heart the Liberals.

  7. Barcs,

    The official website of Elections Canada will post results live as they are coming in. You should be able to determine the winners in Nova Scotia and Quebec by 8-9 pm tonight. The BC one will take some time, since their 9 pm is actually 12 pm back in Toronto. Unless you're from BC, you should know the winner there by tonight.

  8. Top Can,

    The voting hours are staggered across the country:

    Atlantic: 8:30 am - 8:30 pm
    Eastern: 9:30 am - 9:30 pm
    Pacific: 7:00 am - 7:00 pm

    So the polls in BC close 1/2 hour later than in Quebec in real time.

  9. Yes. Mountain and Central get fuzzy during the winter because Saskatchewan doesn't change their clocks between Daylight and Standard time, so sometimes their polls close last, but luckily there are no byelections happening on the prairies.

  10. Anon, The Rational Number,

    is this insane talk about the Liberals winning in Nova Scotia part of some kind of get out the vote effort to prevent discouraged Libs from staying home ??

    Its a Conservative-NDP race, with the NDP getting big help from the provincial government. Casey is officially neutral but the Tory candidate is a close personal friend and people know that.

  11. I read that no results will be broadcast until the polls close in BC. That means blogs and twitter and media.
    Wonder who will break the rules and have elections canada down their throat.

  12. Ok i'm going to have to predict 1 NDP for BC, 2 BQ for Quebec, and 1 Conservative for Nova Scotia.

  13. MaryT, good point. I'm going to shut down comments until tonight.


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