By-election brouhaha

Last night’s results—and shenanigans


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.

Conservative 32.6%
Bloc Quebecois 23.6%
NDP 21.2%
Liberal 17.6%
Other 5.0%

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

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 11:16pm. Fin Donelly: not only Parliament’s first Fin, but possibly also one of its best swimmers.

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 bioAfter 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 inIf 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 12:12am. Wraps from the Globe, Canwest and Canadian Press.

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)


By-election brouhaha

  1. Looks like a barn-burner in tjhe Montmagny riding 39.3 to 39.1 for the Conservatives.

    • I think the Tories will take Montmagny. Just a hunch.

  2. No surprise in CCMV. Strong Tory riding, and their candidate was a good friend of Casey who stood behind him in 2008 and the years previous. Glad too see him win.

    • Kind of a blow for the NDP.

      They were supposed to have all kinds of momentum after the provincial Nova Scotia results…

  3. Cumberland returns to the Tory fold.

  4. Montmagny 39.9 to 39.6 for the Bloc. This one might switch a few more times before it's over.

  5. Kind of a fabricated story from my perspective. The NDP threw out a largely unpopular government. Not taking away from that, they deserved to win, and remain a popular provincial government, I just don't think it was a sign of a grand ideological shift in usual Tory federal ridings (in fact they will stand side by side but Darryl Dexter's NDP and Jack Layton's NDP are two very different things)

  6. The NDP should have done something to dampen down on that story line then because for the last two weeks all i've been hearing is how Darryl Dexter is out there campaigning and all the provincial seats in the federal riding went NDP.

    I guess they wanted to keep the story going to create enthusiasm though.

  7. The Conservatives appear to pulling away in the Montmagny riding, now leading by more than a point – 40.6 to 39.4. It's nowhere near over but it appears to be an ever so slight trend.

  8. More than half of the polling stations reporting in Montmagny, and the Conservatives lead 41.2 to 39.3. Very, very encouraging but very, very close.

  9. Here's Susan Delacourt's burning question about the Montmagny race from her perch in downtown Toronto:

    "Question: The Conservatives presumably want to keep second place, at the least, so will it be a strong second, or will Liberals/NDP chip away at it?"

    Clueless as usual.

    • Very funny! Her comment on "Cumberland-Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley" is funny too: "Question: A simple one…Bill Casey's 68 per cent has to go somewhere. Who gets it?"

      • Well, they kept at least second in Montmagny and they got Casey's vote in NS. So what "predictions" did she make that were oh so wrong?

        • She predicted the Cons would finish second in Montmagny. And she insinuated that the Nova Scotia riding was up for grabs, rather than the blow-out that it was.

  10. Very good night for the Tories in QC. I maintain tonight's results aren't some grand harbinger of things to come, but for the Conservatives the Riviere de Loup results have to be quite encouraging. Get a good local candidate (maybe even one willing to stray from the talking points?) and residents will take notice.

  11. The Green party is still ahead of the Liberals in BC, and even further ahead of the Rhinos in Quebec. Still early going yet…

  12. Wow, you're right about that beard. Mulcair may as well shave his off entirely.

  13. Looking good for the Tories tonight — have Harper & co. recovered all territory lost since last year? Looking very much like they have, and possibly a bit more…

    BC looks a bit wider a margin than I thought, but that's with only 3 polls of 225 up on my screen, so who knows?

    • Voter turn-out:

      Cumberland–Colchester–Musquodoboit Valley: 35.7%
      Hochelaga: 18.6%
      Montmagny–L'Islet–Kamouraska–Rivière-du-Loup: 31.1%
      New Westminster–Coquitlam: too soon to report.

      A good night for the Conservatives indeed.

      • Nice to see a Liberal supporter finally show up on this thread.

        Do you think the Liberal candidate in New Wesminister will get to 10% enabling him to claim the 50% refund of campaign expenses from Elections Canada?

        I'm betting not.

      • 37 comments, 35 from "Jarrid."

  14. That picture you posted of Paille bears an uncanny resmeblemce to Yakov Smirnoff…..

  15. Looks like the Greens will easily beat the Rhinos in Quebec, but they've fallen behind the Liberals in BC. It's a real nail-biter though…

  16. Why aren't CTV Newsnet or CPAC doing live election night stuff?

    _Someone_ needs to cater to us political junkies…

    Or is there a source I'm missing?

    [I mean, really, reruns of Sesame St. interviews?! If you _had_ to do stuff other than election coverage, do Berlin Wall stuff…]

    • Agree – totally pathetic news coverage by the MSM – nowhere found !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! And they are crying about local TV

  17. The dominoe in Berlin were cool.

  18. I mean, I'm stuck hitting re-load here, at Kady O'Malley's post, and at the Elections Canada website…

  19. What happens to the election results if the identity theft accusations from Montmagny are substantiated?

  20. Jarrid's election desk calls Montmagny – L'Islet – Kamouraska – Riviere-du-Loup for the Conservatives.

    Big win for the Conservatives in the Bloc`s backyard

  21. The New Democrats are looking good in New Westminister.

    The Liberals and Green vote looks pretty low. It`s a tad early but this looks like a hold for the New Democrats at this juncture.

    • Do New Democrats look good in orange?

  22. Looks like a good night for the Conservatives, and, if the NDP manage to win in New West, a good night for the NDP as well. Not so good for the Bloc. Nobody really expected much from the Liberals anyway, but they appear to be doing worse than 2008 in both Quebec seats and worse than 2006 in NS (though given that nobody expected them to win, it's hard to see why their supporters would be all that motivated to turn out).

    To the degree that a byelection can tell us anything about a general election, this one mainly says that the Liberals are no longer the default federalist option in Quebec.

  23. Liberals look set to finish behind the New Democrats in Hochelaga.

  24. Are by-election turnouts usually in the 35% range?

    • Probably depends on how close the race is or appears to be. For example, in 2008 there were 4 byelections and the highest turnout was 33%; the others were in the 25-27% range. But it was over 35% in all three 2007 byelections, up to the mid-40s in some.

      Turnout's lower in Hochelaga because that was always a solid Bloc riding, but the others were expected to at least be a contest so I guess more people turned out.

  25. Unless the remaining polling stations have no-one voting New Democrat and a sudden surge for the Liberals, the Liberals are no longer the default federalist option. That should be worth some headlines.

    • I think you are exaggerating. The Liberals are polling nationally at a level (25% or higher) that is higher than the level achieved by the NDP. Ever. Over 16 federal elections.

    • …the Liberals are no longer the default federalist option. That should be worth some headlines.

      I think you'll find that the Liberals haven't been the "default federalist option" in Québec since 1984.

  26. CTV coverage starting? Do I dare hope?

  27. Liberals issued talking points earlier Monday to party members arguing that the byelections were actually a referendum on Prime Minister Stephen Harper's leadership.

    "If the Conservatives fail to win ALL of the seats in tonight's byelections, it will be a signal that Canadians are still not willing to turn over the keys to such a partisan and incompetent government," the party maintained.


    • Meh. Casey's old riding was a silver-platter affair. The only surprise was the upset over the Bloc, and even that was close–really, uncomfortably close.

      In the other Quebec contest, the Bloc annihilated Harper—with the CPC held at something like 10%. That's embarrassing. Three years after the dawn of Harper's new "open federalism", and separatists wipe the floor with federalists in one riding and finish competitively in another. Not much to show for three years of anti-Canadian nationaliste pandering.

      Oh, and does the "West Want In" anymore? Well, just ask our new NDP Member of Parliament from British Columbia, just elected in a riding where the only good news for the CPC was that they beat the Marxist-Leninists.

      This ain't Harpermania, folks—as much as the blue Kool Aid may make it look that way. This is just the tedious, ugly, dreary status quo.

      • Tedious and ugly for you, perhaps. Enjoy.

        • Enjoy.

          Oh no, please–after you, my good man.

          I so do hope you enjoy watching another socialist and yet another separatist grace the precincts of the House of Commons. Both of them brought to you by Stephen Harper's magnificent national leadership.

          • Good god,

            unless you're being obtuse for no reason but your own enjoyment then its obvious that what matters is NET CHANGE.

            These were by-elections to replace an outgoing socialist and two outgoing separatists. Now we have an incoming socialist and only ONE incoming separatist.

            One less separatist in Ottawa thanks to Stephen Harper's leadership.

          • One less separatist in Ottawa…

            Yep. Break out the champagne, folks.

            Making Quebec a "nation" and veneering it with pork fat via Albertan and Ontarian tax dollars has paid massive dividends…thanks to Stephen Harper's leadership.

            I might as well call it now: Montmagny reverts to the Bloc in the next general election…

          • Socialist here. I say one less separatist is always a plus, and good job by the Conservatives on that.

        • Enjoy.

          Oh no, please–after you, my good man.

          I do hope you enjoy watching another socialist and yet another separatist grace the precincts of the House of Commons. Both of them brought to you by Stephen Harper's magnificent national leadership.

      • Well, just ask our new NDP Member of Parliament from British Columbia, just elected in a riding where the only good news for the CPC was that they beat the Marxist-Leninists.

        The CPC candidate finished second in that riding, just 3,000 votes behind the NDP victor. The CPC candidate also got more than three times as many votes as the Liberal candidate, which could be seen as good news for the governing party.

    • So they've gone from "If you mess with me, I will mess with you until I'm done" in May, to "Mr Harper, your time is up" in September, to "Canadians are still not willing to turn over the keys" in November.

      Is Iggy done messing with Harper yet?

      • Is Iggy done messing with Harper yet?

        No, it's just that he's done like dinner. He's lying flat on the restaurant floor, and Peter Donolo, the Helpful Waiter, is busy administering CPR.

    • "Canadians are still not willing to turn over the keys to such a partisan and incompetent government"

      Um, "still"? Does this imply that they would ever be willing to turn over the keys to a partisan and incompetent government?

      • That's a little rich coming from the Liberals.

        They were the last partisan and incompetent gov't to lose the keys of power. Everybody was put in the penalty box with this "minority government" thing.

        And yet now the Conservatives are on the doorstep of getting the keys to power. They're what, 9 seats away?

        • One seat closer than they were, that's for sure. Oh, two if you count Casey's seat, which was effectively theirs already.

  28. Glad to see the conservatives win! The only other thing that would make me happier would be to the DESTRUCTION of the BLOC of the face of the earth!!!!

  29. 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

    Is Don Martin sure he doesn't mean "oversized Senate stars"? :D

    • Katherine:

      If still available check out the Sunday's political cartoon in the Halifax Chronicle Herald ….. none other than PEI/CTV's most famous Senator ….. speaks volumes of your truthful words,

  30. Go fin go! Its nice to see my old riding held its NDP roots. He will make an excellent MP.

  31. Another piece of good news tonight is that the Green Party has shown no sign of life whatsoever. May it rest in peace.

  32. HA, Liberals fight with the Green for the third place, so bad, it can't stand on that way,Why, the Liberals can stand on Mr. Iffy?

  33. Interesting note: the win in Nova Scotia means that the Conservatives are now tied with the Liberals for number of seats in the Maritimes proper (Newfoundland doesn't consider itself one of the Maritimes really, does it?). For an area that used to be a Liberal stronghold, and is now one of the few places they can still do well in, that's pretty impressive.

    And given the progress the NDP have made in Quebec, I wouldn't be surprised to see them pick up another seat or two in Quebec in the next election (probably Gatineau).

  34. Well, perhaps I have been a tad surly about tonight's results. I guess the CPC does deserve some congratulations for having eked out a 4% win over a separatist, especially when the difference between the CPC and BQ visions of federalism is so slight.

    All politics, they say, are local. Thus, perhaps Stephen Harper has been right to run a parochial, hidebound, inward-looking government, cringing behind the skirts of Fortress America, running away in blind panic from every real and potential global initiative–an administration so geo-politically autistic that it makes Ceausescu-era Romania look like a gregarious, multilaterally-engaged beacon of international leadership. That decision may very well have pushed his ovoid carcass over the top (but just barely) in one riding in the most parochial province in the land. So, hats off to ya, Steve! Seriously.

    • After listening to you, I hope the authorities check the long-gun registry for your address and come over there to make sure you don't off yourself. Sheesh, get a grip, give it a bit of time and CPC will fall apart like a house of cards.

      • Eventually they all do. Which is why it is so important for the opposition to be in realtively decent shape. Surprises happen, they are rare but they do happen, Bob Rae is living proof of that.

    • Spleen – it's not just for breakfast anymore.

  35. The attempts to spin away the conservative victory in the post above is fascinating.

    Sort of like being on the playground when the losing kids proclaim that they lost only because the other side was just "trying harder".

    Funny how when the Liberals were in power, the power of encumbancy was just part of the game. Now that conservatives are in power, it's some nefarious dysfunction of our democratic system.

    Watching the most destructive political force in recent memory (mocking Day for his religious beliefs, concocting a Harper who will "take away our rights" and assert paramilitaristic control of our cities) complain about the CPC highlighting a simple truth that Iggy was out of the country, was a site to see,

    but I believe these recent complaints, may take the cake.

  36. From the same Martin article:

    "The Conservatives didn't expect to win either of the two Bloc Quebecois seats, so to overcome a 16-point deficit from the 2008 campaign to emerge in this New Brunswick border riding as the winner is a stunning victory. (The other Bloc seat in Montreal was never in serious play for a colour change.)"

    A swing of well over twenty points in a Quebec riding.

    That, my friends, is one massive shift.

    • It is. The effect might be that it forces the Quebec punditocracy to review its narrative again.

      I dont believe Harper and the Cons are looking for masisve number of Quebec seats, I think they are looking for the 15 or so "natural" conservative seats. They dont need 40 seats in Quebec, that only brings problems.

      I would look for the seats that were PC and Soc cred in the late 70's. Thats the target, no more no less.

      The biggest disappointment of the night was BC, I suspect they wanted a better showing if not a win there.

  37. The Liberals best showing of the night? 14.7%!

    HAHA! What a joke the Liberals are.

    • No, they got 21.3% in Cumberland-Colchester-Musquodoboit.

  38. If Liberal supporters would spend less time here, with Wherry, breathing in their own exhaust,
    and more time listening to the 'other side',
    they would not have been so shocked by these results.

    The lesson here is, the Conservatives spent 10 years in the wilderness rebuilding,
    and the Liberals can not short circuit that rebuilding process with coalitions and faux scandals.

    • Unfortunately, the current crop of Liberals joined the party pre-2006 for one reason – they assumed it was the quickest path to power and influence. They have since then been joined by "bargain-hunters" (people who join a weaker party because they know they can rise to the top quickly – this was why Mulroney was a PC) like Ignatieff and Rae, that figured a Liberal bounce-back was inevitable. Unfortunately, these are the worst kinds of leaders for institution-building. The Liberals need to become a party of ideas again, as they were with the 1993 red book. Their ideas may not sell initially (Reform's sure didn't), but slowly they can build up a base of supporters and actually win again some day.

      • Clearly it's time for David Orchard to make his move.

  39. For what it is worth our biggest problem lies in Ottawa and Washington and I have come to the conclusion that both are a loss cause.

    The worst is yet to come so it matters not Red, Blue, Green or Independent. The best thing we all could do is stay home in mass protest and not vote letting the world know we understand that our so called North American Democracy is bought and paid for dictatorship!

    I dare any person to prove otherwise, for the true facts speak loud and clear all coupled with politician after politician standing at the money trough who had just promised to do otherwise. It now appears the flow is faster and deeper after each election all of which is taxpayer's money.

  40. The Liberals have tried to spin by pointing out that they weren't expected to win any of these ridings. Fair enough, but they are only basing that on their dismal 2008 results – what ever happened to "we can do better?"

    My query is what kind of numbers successful Liberal campaigns wracked up in these four ridings, or their rough equivalents?

    2004: 29.6%
    2000: 39.5%

    2004: 26.5%
    2000: 26.4%

    New Westminster-Coquitlam
    2004: 27.4%
    2000: 31%

    2004: 25.62%
    2000: 35.7%

    So in 2004 the Liberals averaged 27.28% and were able to win a minority government. This would have been a realistic expectation for Ignatieff in a spring election – he had poll results that were relatively close to Martin's 2004 numbers. 33.15% were the kind of numbers Chretien got. I don't think anybody could have realistically expected those kinds of numbers, but that they don't is only evidence of how the mighty have fallen. These ridings may not have elected Liberals any time recently, but they certainly gave the party more than double-digit support – even at the height of the sponsorship scandal outcry.

  41. Ignatieff says, he has to fix the party.He could start by leaving.Taking Bob Rae and possibly Goodale and Mccullum with him.Now that's a real good start.

  42. The results in New West-Coquitlam are interesting for the relationship between the decline of Liberal fortunes and the rise of the NDP, In the four elections since this riding was formed in 2004 the Liberal vote has declined in each election from 27.4% to last night's 10.3%. The NDP vote has risen from 32.6% to last night's 49.6%, an almost complete transfer of support from one to the other.
    In 2004 the Liberals were 5% out of first place. Last night they were 39%.