Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff is likely very relieved after his party managed to win one of the three seats up for grabs in Monday’s by-elections. Liberal Kevin Lamoreaux easily took Winnipeg North from the NDP, garnering 46.3 per cent of the vote to Kevin Chief’s 26.3 per cent. The Liberals weren’t so lucky in the closely-watched riding of Vaughan in suburan north Toronto, which they lost to the Conservatives’ star candidate, Julian Fantino. Fantino, the former Ontario Provincial Police Commissioner and one-time Toronto Chief of Police won with 49.1 per cent of the vote to Liberal Tony Genco’s 46.6 per cent. Vaughan — like most seats in the Greater Toronto Area — was considered a Liberal strong-hold until now. It was held by the Liberals for the past 20 years and was visited by Ignatieff four times during the campaign. CBC hockey commentator Don Cherry campaigned for Fantino in the riding while Liberal MP Ken Dryden made phone calls on Genco’s behalf. Meanwhile, the central Manitoba seat of Dauphin-Swan River-Marquette went to Conservative Robert Sopuck, as expected. He took 57 per cent of the vote. As Prime Minister Stephen Harper pointed out early Tuesday morning in a statement, it’s rare for the governing party to win any seats in by-elections. “Ours was the only party to make a net gain last night,” he wrote, adding that he sees the wins as an endorsment of the Conservative’s handling of the economy.
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