The race* for Etobicoke Centre

An early poll gives the Liberals the lead in the contested riding. Alice Funke reviews the voting history and considers the political narratives.

The Conservatives need to figure out which trend is their friend in this case. Is it that they should avail themselves of some of the best election lawyering in the country to appeal the case and try to keep the seat for fear the national polling trends (and even Rob Ford is having some troubles holding onto Ford Nation these days too) could see them underperform in a do-over, as happened in York North. Or should they rely instead on the finding that defeated Liberal incumbents can rarely stage comebacks these days, and try to bank on a better split … For the Liberals, a by-election here would be either their time to shine in an old-school pure two-way Liberal-Conservative contest – the kind they love, and want to recreate in as many other places as possible – or another quantifiable measurement of their reduced status on the federal scene.

*Conservative MP Ted Opitz has this week to decide whether he will appeal the Ontario court’s ruling.




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The race* for Etobicoke Centre

  1. In a CBC interview it was clear that Jean-Pierre Kingsley was surprised by the judge’s ruling even given his finding of the facts. Assuming the former Chief Electoral Officer still reflects Election Canada’s views, it seems they believe that election results should not be overturned due to mistakes or mischief unless it is likely that result is incorrect whereas the judge applied the standard that the election result must be proven to be valid. i.e. in the judge’s view as soon as the number of inappropriate ballots exceeded the margin of victory, a new election is required.

    The decision of the Conservatives to appeal (or not) likely will have more to do with implications for the forthcoming voter suppression fiasco. Where will the burden of proof lie wrt the number of robocalls (or other interventions) and what will the threshold be for new elections to be held. Unless it is appealed, the threshold seems to be much lower that the Conservatives or EC thought. If the burden of proof is “liberally” interpreted as being provided by the number of complaints then the impact of this controversy will be large.

    • This is a good point, and I agree with the judge’s position. Far more important in an election than who wins or loses is that the election is seen as everybody as a legitimate accounting of the voters intentions.

      That EC may take the opposite view — accurately determining the winner being a priority over how the winner is seen to be determined, would explain, to my mind, much of the delay that seems to be forthcoming from Elections Canada in applying charges, subpoenas for information, and other investigative techniques. Why bother proceeding with urgency when it looks like the end result wouldn’t have swayed the decision made?

      Thus, the CPC, through Opitz, pretty much has to appeal. If they don’t, and allow this ruling to set a precedent, it makes the job of the Council of Canadians much easier, and the implications of EC’s investigations much greater than perhaps EC itself expected.

  2. Trends are one thing; timing is another. Would it be more pragmatic to suck up the likely inevitable loss and get this byelection over and done before the scandale robocall starts to hit headlines again. I think that average Canadians will conflate the two in their minds, and all will add up to Conservative corruption. I certainly hope so. Taking it back for an appeal means they will waste money because they won’t win, and they will keep this story alive longer than they want; on the other hand, if they just hold the byelection, they can stick to the narrative that it was EC mistakes that caused the byelection — certainly that has been the talking point on this thus far.

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