It doesn’t help to parse these things too closely, although Brian Topp remains a champion on that front. By-elections could hardly be less of a fair real-world test of everyone’s fighting strength in a general. Local personalities, issues and tactics play a huge role. Still, the easiest thing in the world to do during one of these things is to vote against a government, to “send Harper a lesson.” Instead, the ridings that voted last night sent him reinforcements. Cumberland is essentially meaningless; a Tory riding returns a Tory, the Tory rebel having departed. The eastern Quebec riding, though, is a horse of a different colour.
While everyone debates The Meaning Of It All in the comments, I thought I’d see what the Green Party makes of all this. Uh-oh. (UPDATE: The Green website has come back to life! Here, Elizabeth May thanks her candidates, or will for as long as the site holds up.)