By-election brouhaha

by Aaron Wherry

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.

9:06pm. For whatever it’s worth, Michael Ignatieff has already scheduled an availability with reporters on the Hill tomorrow morning. Whatever happens tonight it will most likely be heralded as demonstrating some kind of weakness in his leadership.

9:10pm. If you’re looking for metrics to put tonight’s results in perspective, here’s one possibility. Totaling the 2008 election results in these three ridings, you get the following.

Conservative 39.0%
Liberal 31.4%
NDP 22.6%
Green 6.3%
Other 0.6%

9:15pm. Equally for the sake of perspective: recent history doesn’t demonstrate any obvious advantage for government or opposition parties in by-elections.

9:30pm. Polls have now closed. While you await the first returns, Pundits Guide has prepared perhaps the deepest setup you’ll read.

9:44pm. Your first results of the night put Conservative Robert Sopuck far ahead in Dauphin. Mr. Sopuck, a biologist, conservationist, farmer and writer, still maintains a personal website including an archive of his past writings. Best to read it now before the party mandates he disavow all evidence of his previous existence.

9:51pm. First poll in Vaughan went to Mr. Fantino, second poll went to Mr. Genco. A mere 282 polling stations left to report. Small NDP lead, meanwhile, in Winnipeg-North.

10:04pm. Mr. Fantino seems to be pulling away in Vaughan, Kevin Chief maintains a small lead in Winnipeg.

10:16pm. With Vaughan looking comfortably Conservative, the focus is now on Winnipeg, where the NDP lead is down to 56 votes. The third and fourth-party votes are down drastically in those ridings, voters apparently deciding it was a two-man race in each.

10:22pm. For whatever it’s worth, the Greens got 6.9%, 4.8% and 6.5% in Vaughan, Winnipeg and Dauphin respectively in 2008. At this point they sit at 1.3%, 0.8% and 6.3%.

10:25pm. The Liberal pulls into the lead in Winnipeg-North with 80 of 153 polls reporting.

10:27pm. Back to the NDP with 85 polls reporting.

10:33pm. Back to the Liberals with 105 polls reporting.

10:36pm. The Vaughan results so far, with movement from 2008 in brackets.

Conservative 50.4 (+16.1)
Liberal 45.1 (-4.0)
NDP 1.9 (-7.7)
Green 1.4 (-5.5)

10:40pm. The Dauphin results so far, with movement from 2008 in brackets.

Conservative 58.5 (-2.9)
NDP 23.9 (+7.3)
Liberal 10.3 (-3.7)
Green 5.9 (-0.6)

10:48pm. Through 119 polls, Liberal Kevin Lamoureux’s lead in Winnipeg-North is 4.3 percentage points.

11:00pm. If Mr. Lamoureux, a former MLA in Winnipeg, holds—2.1 point lead through 120 polls—and Mr. Fantino holds in Vaughan, the winner of the night might be “name recognition.”

11:08pm. The Winnipeg Free Press has called the race for Mr. Lamoureux.

11:16pm. Mr. Lamoureux’s lead does seem to have stabilized over the last 15 polls. This would be the first win for the Liberals in Winnipeg-North since 1993. Meanwhile, Mr. Fantino’s lead in Vaughan is suddenly down to 400 votes.

11:30pm. If current leads hold, Facebook will have gone 0 for 3 this evening.

11:48pm. As we near midnight here in Ottawa, Kevin Chief has reportedly conceded in Winnipeg-North. Tony Genco has not conceded in Vaughan, where the margin is just over 400 votes with 29 polls left to report.

12:01am. The results in Winnipeg-North so far, with movement from 2008 in brackets.

Liberal 46.0 (+36.8)
NDP 41.7 (-20.9)
Conservative 10.3 (-12.1)
Green 0.7 (-4.1)

12:13am. The Conservative lead in Vaughan seems now to have solidified. Either way, cheers to the “Liberal insiders” who foretold a Fantino landslide. You were either fantastically wrong in predicting the result or wildly successful in diminishing expectations. Indeed, somewhat relatedly, the big loser tonight would seem to be speculative media narratives.

12:30am. The Sun’s David Akin has a preview of what Jack Layton’s going to face in his scrum tomorrow.

Just two days ago, NDP executive director Brad Lavigne was telling reporters that the trio of byelections Monday could be seen as referendums on each party’s leader. ”If a leader loses momentum [Monday], they’ll have a hard time gaining it back before the budget gets tabled in February,” Lavigne told reporters.

12:33am. An official statement from Michael Ignatieff.

With tonight’s by-election results still underway, these by-elections show the clearest sign yet that in the battle to defeat the Harper Conservatives, there is only one alternative party that can deliver change – the Liberal Party of Canada.

I want to congratulate Kevin Lamoureux and his team for a tremendous victory tonight, more than quadrupling the Liberal vote in the riding. By choosing Kevin Lamoureux, the people of Winnipeg North have sent a strong message that the Liberal Party is the only alternative that can replace the Harper government and deliver real, progressive change for Canadians.

In Vaughan, I want to commend Tony Genco for putting up a formidable fight and turning a coronation into a tight race between Liberals and Conservatives that is still too close to call. Tony and his team proved that a campaign that respects local democracy and puts the voters of Vaughan first can go head to head with Stephen Harper’s politics of cynicism.

I am also extremely grateful to Christopher Scott Sarna for carrying the Liberal banner in Dauphin—Swan River—Marquette.

On behalf of the Liberal Party of Canada and our parliamentary caucus, congratulations to each of our candidates, their families and all the volunteers who lent a helping hand during these by-elections.

12:43am. Eric Grenier of 308 humbly tallies the disparity between projections and results in Vaughan, Winnipeg and Dauphin and comes to the unavoidable conclusion.

That shows the perils of projecting a by-election.

1:00am. The Globe, Star and Post have their reviews. John Ibbitson heralds “Michael Ignatieff’s troubled leadership.”

1:07am. The crowd in Vaughan is apparently still waiting to hear from future public safety minister Julian Fantino—perhaps he’s been taken directly to Rideau Hall for the cabinet shuffle—and CPAC has now cut to a replay of this afternoon’s Question Period, but all three of tonight’s contests are effectively decided. With all polls now reporting, here are the ridings results with movement from 2008.

Vaughan
Conservative 49.1 (+14.8)
Liberal 46.6 (-2.5)
NDP 1.7 (-7.9)
Green 1.2 (-5.7)

Winnipeg-North
Liberal 46.3 (+37.1)
NDP 41.2 (-25.4)
Conservative 10.4 (-12.0)
Green 0.7 (-4.1)

Dauphin
Conservative 56.7 (-4.4)
NDP 26.3 (+9.7)
Liberal 10.3 (-3.7)
Green 5.6 (-0.9)

And if you total those results you get the following, with movement from 2008 in brackets.

Conservative 41.9 (+2.9)
Liberal 39.0 (+7.6)
NDP 15.8 (-6.8)
Green 2.0 (-4.3)
Other 1.3 (+0.7)

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