Liberals Snare a Conservative Seat in Federal Byelections

Justin Trudeau took three of four seats, but the Conservatives did see their popular vote go up.
December 12, 2017, 4:57pm
Image source: Darryl Dyck/The Canadian Press

It was a strong Monday night for the Liberal party after winning three out of four seats in the federal byelections. The party managed to hold onto two safe seats in Toronto and Newfoundland, but also nabbed an unexpected win in British Columbia’s South Surrey-White Rock, a long-held Conservative territory. The Tories came away from the byelection with one win, holding onto a safe seat in Saskatchewan.

The win in BC makes this the second time the Liberals have taken a seat from the Conservatives this fall. In October, Liberal candidate Richard Hebert won a byelection in Quebec’s Lac-Saint-Jean. This time it was candidate Gordie Hogg, who secured 47.5 percent of the vote after beating out Conservative MP Kerry-Lynne Findlay, who used to be the minister of National Revenue in former prime minister Stephen Harper’s government. The BC riding had been held by former conservative MP Dianne Watts who gave it up to run for provincial leadership. She had won the riding by a 2.5 per cent margin in 2015.

Findlay told CBC she blames the loss on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s “snap” call for a byelection. The election was called before she received the nomination to be the candidate, which meant losing five weeks of campaigning. She doesn’t think the loss has anything to do with Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer, who’s lost two byelections since taking the position.

Liberal candidate Jean Yip won the seat in Scarborough-Agincourt, taking on the position that belonged to her late husband, Arnold Chan. Chan, 50, died in September after a nasopharyngeal cancer diagnosis. He held the seat for three years. Yip won 49.4 percent on the vote.

She told CBC her victory was “somewhat bittersweet.”

The Liberals’ winning streak had started early in the day with Churence Roger’s win in Newfoundland. He won the riding with 69 percent of the vote, taking over former Liberal MP Judy Foote’s Bonavista-Burin-Trinity riding. Foote resigned from the position in August in order to spend more time with her family. She won the riding in 2015 with a strong 82 percent. While the Liberals came away with more seats, Monday’s voting showed an increase in Conservative support. Conservative MP Rosemarie Falk’s win in Saskatchewan’s Battlefords-Lloydminister came after she took 69.6 per cent of the vote, an 8.6 percent increase from the party’s win in 2015.

Meanwhile, while the NDP were not expected to perform well in any of the ridings in play Monday night, the did see their popular support slide down under new leader Jagmeet Singh, compared to their 2015 turnout.

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