Tories win Ontario, Alberta byelections but Liberals show momentum

Conservatives win Ontario, Alberta byelections

Liberals were only party to increase share of the vote in both ridings


OTTAWA – Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s Conservatives have narrowly retained the late Jim Flaherty’s suburban Toronto seat and easily hung on to another riding in their Alberta stronghold.

But it was Justin Trudeau’s Liberals who – once again – showed all the momentum in two byelections Monday.

The Liberals were the only party to increase their share of the vote in both ridings and the gains were considerable.

Their vote share almost tripled in Whitby-Oshawa, where political neophyte Celina Caesar-Chavannes came within eight points of knocking off the Tories’ Pat Perkins, a high-profile, former two-term Whitby mayor who’d been endorsed by Flaherty’s family and a parade of senior cabinet ministers.

Liberal support in Alberta’s Yellowhead riding, meanwhile, increased almost seven-fold over the paltry three per cent captured in 2011, when the party ran fourth behind the NDP and Greens.

Liberals have posted gains – some of them dramatic – in every byelection since Trudeau took the helm 19 months ago. Monday’s results helped further cement the perception that the Liberal party is the only one with the wind at its back as federal politicos prepare for a general election in less than year.

“You proved that positive change for Canada is coming soon,” Trudeau crowed at Caesar-Chavannes’ headquarters in Whitby.

“And that it can’t come from a tired old government. Only the Liberal party can bring it.”

While they emerged victorious in both ridings, the ruling Conservatives’ share of the vote was markedly reduced from 2011 – down nine points in Whitby, 15 points in Yellowhead.

NDP support was down slightly in Yellowhead and collapsed in Whitby-Oshawa, continuing the downward trend that has befallen the official Opposition since Trudeau resurrected the Liberal party.

Flaherty, the former finance minister who died suddenly last spring, took Whitby-Oshawa in 2011 with a comfortable 58 per cent of the vote, more than 35-points ahead of his nearest rival, New Democrat Trish McAuliffe.

McAuliffe won a respectable 22 per cent in 2011. She ran again in Monday’s byelection but managed to capture just eight per cent this time.

The collapse of NDP support in Whitby-Oshawa follows the party’s loss of the downtown Toronto riding of Trinity-Spadina to the Liberals in a byelection last July.

Perkins captured 49.2 per cent of the vote for the Tories while Liberal Caesar-Chavannes took 40.7 per cent _ a 26-point jump over the Liberal showing in 2011.

The close result in Whitby, despite an all-out push by the Conservatives, suggests the resurgent Liberals may give the ruling party a run for its money in the crucial suburban ridings around Toronto _ a key battleground in next year’s general election.

But despite all the talk of Liberal momentum, a senior Conservative privately noted that the Trudeau Liberals have actually managed to steal away only one seat – Labrador – from the ruling party thus far.

Furthermore, he noted that the Conservatives’ reduced share of the vote in Whitby on Monday was still six points higher than when Flaherty first won the seat in 2006.

Flaherty’s widow, Christine Elliott, said she had “no doubt that Jim would have been very, very happy with this result.”

Elliott, who represents the riding provincially and is a front-runner for the Ontario Conservative leadership, predicted that Perkins will increase her margin of victory over the years, just as her husband did.

Conservative party spokesman Cory Hann said the byelections prove that Canadians “know Justin Trudeau is high risk and chose instead to support a strong leader for the serious job of prime minister – Stephen Harper.”

The results are also a vote of confidence in the recent spate of tax cuts the Harper government has introduced, including boosting the universal child care credit and income splitting for couples with young children, Hann said.

Voters know they’re better off with Harper’s plan to “balance the budget, lower taxes and create quality jobs” than with Trudeau’s plan to “claw back these tax breaks, increase debt and raise taxes to pay for new expensive national programs we cant afford,” he added.

In Yellowhead, Tory candidate Jim Eglinski, a former RCMP officer and former mayor of Fort St. John, coasted to victory with 62.6 per cent of the vote – miles ahead of Liberal Ryan Maguhn’s 20 per cent and New Democrat Eric Rosendahl’s 9.5 per cent.

Even so, the Conservative margin of victory was reduced from 2011, when Rob Merrifield took the riding with 77 per cent of the vote – a whopping 64 points ahead of the second-place NDP.

Turnout in both ridings was low, as is typical of byelections: 31.8 per cent in Whitby-Oshawa and just 16 per cent in Yellowhead.


Conservatives win Ontario, Alberta byelections

  1. Perkins captured 49.2 per cent of the vote for the Tories while Liberal Caesar-Chavannes took 40.7 per cent _ a 26-point jump over the Liberal showing in 2011.

    When the general election occurs next year that 26-point jump over the Liberal showing in 2011 will all but disappear.

  2. Writing’s on the wall….no matter how much nonsense the Cons make up.

  3. “Liberal support in Alberta’s Yellowhead riding, meanwhile, increased almost seven-fold over the paltry three per cent captured in 2011, when the party ran fourth behind the NDP and Greens.”

    Total Lib votes went from 1,190 in 2011 to 2,518 last night. ND votes dropped by 4,000 and no Green candidate this go-round after the Green candidate got 2,000 votes last time. Ergo, Lib votes are wholly explainable by no “orange crush” and no Green candidate whatsoever. Still, “seven fold increase” sounds better in the Lib/MainstreamMedia Harper-phobic echo chamber. I recommend the Libs allocate millions of dollars from the campaign war chest to Yellowhead next fed election.

    • Sevenfold increase was in terms of percentage of votes cast, not total # of votes. Still, when only 16% of eligible voters turn out, it probably isn’t much of an indication of what will happen in that riding come the general election.

      That the “Liberals have posted gains – some of them dramatic – in every byelection since Trudeau took the helm 19 months ago” does indicate that Harper may be in trouble, though – after all, these two were acknowledged CPC bastions and yet they saw significant erosion. There are other ridings where the separation last time was much slimmer; that’s where you’ll see the change from blue to red next October.

      • Suggesting the CPC suffered “significant erosion” in Yellowhead because a few thousand “big city” Liberals braved late November conditions to lodge a protest vote in a futile cause is somewhat of a stretch. I am optimistic the leader, however, won’t understand this.

  4. Only the Candian media would spin an election loss as a win for the Liberals.

    The only surprise here… that no one is really surprised.

    • LOL only you and your turnip truck would follow the Closet Commander.

      • “Closet Commander” – good one!

        I presume the reference is to the (unsubstantiated) story that, in the seconds following the start of the shooting on Parliament Hill, as the gunman ran down the hallway looking for high value targets to kill, persons near the Prime Minister thought he was likely the highest value target of all and recommended he should perhaps make it somewhat more difficult to be targeted by removing himself from view.

        Why you perceive this to be an act of cowardice worthy of ridicule is yet another mystery to the rest of us, although I’m sure part of the explanation is a delusional expectation on your part that the Dauphin would have raced into the hallway, tackled the gunman, determined the root causes of his anger, purged him of his anti-social tendencies and welcomed him back into polite society all before the Sergeant at Arms could even get a round off.

        • Actually I’ve been using Closet Commander for some time… have columnists across the country.

          No one thinks well of a ‘leader’ who leaves his people [including a quadriplegic MP] in danger while he disappears into a closet.

          • People think even less well of idiots, which describes a head of government who, in the midst of an attack, doesn’t do what his security people tell him to do. Though I suppose standing down the entire House of Commons security apparatus and decomissioning all those people sworn to protect PM at all costs so whoever holds the office can demonstrate “leadership” by making it easier to get shot makes some sense, at a certain level.

          • Emily,

            No one in their right mind would even ask your opinion on what coffee whitener to use, let alone what security protocol should be.

            Just keep pretending your writing from China or Brazil….oh Great international traveller and global guru!

            We all know you’re writing from a subsidized rental unit. But keep pretending.

        • Leaders are leaders Firewall….they don’t get told what to do.

          Hiding in a closet is not the mark of a leader.

          • So T2 still not locking the doors, eh? Because “leaders…don’t get told what to do”. Hope Sophie remembers to do it.

        • Tsk tsk… YOU are hiding ….behind Sophie!


        • Touchy on the closet hiding eh? LOL

          • Hmmm, mention Trudeau the Lesser’s wife and E1 gets all touchy. Perhaps the rantings have a Freudian explanation.

        • Perhaps you’re at a complete loss for anything to say Firewall….gawd knows you haven’t so far.

          • Perhaps the previous post was too subtle. I’ll be less so. I’m speculating your effusions here – which exceed your typical standard of inanity and which worsened with the reference to Mrs. 2-Dough – might be the result of a intergenerational infatuation of the basest sort that started with the le Pere and now involves Shiny Pony. I must now go rinse my mouth.

        • LOL I was right. You’re at a complete loss for anything to say FW.

  5. Liberals crushed again…Jughead has failed to win ONE by-election seat from the Conservatives in 18 months. Even in traditionally Liberal ridings like Whitby, they have gone nowhere. The column fails to mention that Jughead campaigned hard there for his parachute candidate…..and got his hat handed to him. All this with a supposedly unpopular government and PM. Of course, this is spun as a huge win by the Canadian Press – the active print media arm of the Liberal Party.

    You will be crying in your latte’s next fall lol

    • Correction: there was Labrador..who cares…

    • My my….another closet lover.

      Why do you people follow such a wimp?

  6. So the Liberals through everything they could including mud in Whitby-Oshawa, and Perkins wins for the Conservatives with a greater percentage of the vote than Flaherty did in his first win in Whitby-Oshawa.

    Is the media helping the Liberals by spinning this as a Liberal “triumph”?


      It’s an effort to sound like more people. Jimmy used to do the ‘crowd thing’ too.

      Doesn’t change the polls tho. LOL

  7. Bottom line

    Cons win.

    Next time?

    May be different as the failed drama teacher son of a POS PM definitely does appeal to the entitled Canucklehead voter.

    No matter what happens, Canada will get the government it deserves.