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.
Update 10:12pm. In case you were wondering, an automatic recount is called if the margin of victory is less than .01% of votes cast. Recounts may also be requested if there is an allegation of impropriety.
Update 10:17pm. Congratulations, by the way, to the people of Cumberland on the impending arrival of federal stimulus funding.
Update 10:22pm. Key difference between the two Conservative candidates in Quebec tonight. Stephanie Cloutier’s website includes three pictures of the Prime Minister’s face. Bernard Genereux’s website features seven pictures of the Prime Minister’s face. Please try harder next time Ms. Cloutier.
Update 10:29pm. First results give the NDP a lead in New Westminster.
Update 10:31pm. Two important points about Daniel Paille, the new Bloc MP for Hochelaga. First, his beard might become the best beard in Parliament (sorry Thomas Mulcair). Second, he and Stephen Harper are well acquainted.
Update 10:50pm. Now that he looks a safe bet to win in Montmagny, we can perhaps start wondering just how interesting Bernard Genereux’s stay in Ottawa will be. From a recent CBC item on the Conservative candidate: Bernard Généreux, the former mayor of La Pocatière, turned Conservative candidate, is already addressing a group of 20 employees at a company called Bioglobe … he says he doesn’t agree with everything the Conservatives stand for. In fact, he says that’s why voters should send him to Ottawa, to change the party from the inside and make it better reflect Quebec values … Later on, while we’re sitting in his campaign van … Généreux won’t expand a whole lot about what he meant. He does say that he disagrees with the way the Conservatives are handling environmental issues.
Update 10:55pm. With all polls reporting in Cumberland, here’s how the numbers compare to 2006.
Conservative 45.8 (-6.2)
NDP 25.7 (+5)
Liberal 21.3 (-2.6)
Update 11:10pm. Fin Donnelly’s current margin in New Westminster—18 points as of this writing—would surpass the victories in 2006 and 2008 for Dawn Black. Perhaps a statement on the HST in British Columbia. Perhaps a victory for those who insist on the relevance of the actual candidate.
Update 11:35pm. With 200 of 219 polls reporting in Hochelaga, here’s how the numbers compare to 2008.
Bloc Quebecois 50.8 (+1.1)
NDP 20.4 (+6.0)
Liberal 14.0 (-6.6)
Conservative 10.0 (+0.8)
Update 11:39pm. With 245 of 257 polls reporting in Montmagny, here’s how the numbers compare to 2008.
Conservative 42.4 (+11.8)
Bloc Quebecois 38.2 (-8.1)
Liberal 12.7 (-2.6)
NDP 4.9 (-0.6)
Update 11:50pm. Voter turnout percentages for the nine by-elections held during the last Parliament: 24.7, 27.9, 33.8, 24.5, 37.4, 46.8, 42.7, 42.2 and 37.1 Tonight’s turnouts appear to be on the low side of that range.
Update 12:01am. Scott Armstrong is apparently one of those foreign-educated elites. From his bio: After completing his undergraduate degree, Scott went on to earn both a Master of Social Science Education from Florida State University, and a Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Southern Mississippi.
Update 12:03am. Don Martin weighs in. If there’s been a harder push by a governing party to buy a seat or two that doesn’t mean very much in the greater scheme of things for Prime Minister Stephen Harper, it has escaped my fragile memory. Highway improvements for eastern Quebec, a missing-in-spawn salmon inquiry for B.C. and plenty of oversized Conservative cheque handouts backed by visiting Senate stars and radio commercials by Cabinet ministers in Nova Scotia — all in the pursuit of what senior government officials declared to be a four-way lost cause long before the polls closed.
Update 12:07am. Eric at 308 considers Montmagny. As I explained before, this riding does fit the profile of a Conservative Quebec riding, so I wouldn’t call this a “game changer”.
Update 12:16am. With 210 of 225 polls reporting in New Westminster, here’s how the numbers compare to 2008.
NDP 50.5 (+8.7)
Conservative 36.1 (-2.7)
Liberal 9.0 (-2.3)
Green 4.4 (-2.8)
Update 1:04am. With all polls reporting, the turnouts for the four by-elections are 29.9, 36.6, 22.3 and 35.7 respectively.
Update 1:12am. Back then to the numbers we started the night with. Here are the cumulative vote percentages for the parties tonight with the difference from the last run in brackets.
Conservatives 35.7 (+3.1)
NDP 24.4 (+3.2)
Bloc Quebecois 20.8 (-2.8)
Liberal 14.7 (-2.9)
Other 4.3 (-0.7)