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Federal By-elections - Results and meanings

Thu 21st Dec 2017
Four federal by-elections took place across Canada on December 11, 2017. The Trudeau Liberals took 3 out of 4 increasing their majority in the house.  Here are the results of each by-election:

Bonavista–Burin–Trinity (Newfoundland)
Results - Cons 22.85% – Libs 69.22% – NDP 4.75% - Green 1.10%

Scarborough–Agincourt (Ontario)
Results -  Cons 40.51%– Libs 49.44%– NDP 5.06%- Green 1.38%

Battlefords–Lloydminster (Saskatchewan)
Results -  Cons 61.01%– Libs 16.48%– NDP 17.61%- Green 1.71%

South Surrey–White Rock (British Columbia)
Results -  Cons 42.14%– Libs 47.49%– NDP 4.88%- Green 4.12%

Churence Rogers will be the new member of Parliament for Bonavista-Burin-Trinity.
The governing Liberals performed extremely well in the Maritimes in 2015 and the by-election that took place in Bonavista–Burin–Trinity, the riding formerly held by Judy Foote, highlights the strength of the party’s brand. Almost seven in every ten voters cast their ballot for the Liberal candidate Churence Rogers. Sometimes by-elections allow voters to voice their dismay over the governing party’s performance. However, there appears to be little defection from the Liberal brand in this riding.Image result for scarborough agincourt winner
The riding of Scarborough-Agincourt was represented by MP Arnold Chan who sadly passed away earlier this year after a battle with cancer. Former Liberal staffer and wife of Arnold Chan, Jean Yip, was able to carry the party’s banner to victory winning over Conservative candidate Dasong Zou. Scarborough Agincourt is one of the few ridings in the Toronto Area where federal Conservatives are within moderate striking distance. While they didn’t win, the Conservatives achieved over 40% of the vote, the highest ever for that riding.

Image result for Rosemarie Falk wins
The Saskatchewan riding of Battlefords–Lloydminster was represented by long time Conservative MP Gerry Ritz and the Conservative brand continues to be strong in rural western Canada. Voters in the riding have very little probability of defecting to another party, even during a by-election. Conservative candidate Rosemarie Ashley Falk had a strong performance on election day with almost seven in ten voters casting their ballot for the Conservative Party.
Image result for gordie hogg

The really big shocker from these elections was the riding of South Surrey-White Rock. Liberal candidate Gordie Hogg beat Conservative candidate Kerry-Lynne Findlay by roughly five percent, almost a 10 point swing from both parties’ performances in 2015. Losing South Surry-White Rock has to sting for Conservative party leader Andrew Scheer.  The Liberals and the Conservatives knew it would be a close fight. Surprisingly none of the recent scandals in Ottawa
seemed to have had any effect on the Liberals grasp of power.

The bImage result for jagmeet singhiggest loser in these by-elections has to be the NDP and Jagmeet Singh. Since he became leader of the NDP, they have lost six straight by-elections. None of these recent 4 by-election ridings were viewed as NDP strongholds, but a new leader usually brings with them a boost of energy and as a result better results. There are some rumblings within NDP ranks that Singh should look for an opportunity to get a seat in the house sooner rather than later.

By-elections can provide a lot of information about what the voters in certain sections of the country are thinking.  They have limited use in forming stronger conclusions about how the parties are generally perceived across the country. Turnout in by-elections is usually very low and in some of these recent 4 by-elections it was less than 30%.  Low turnout usually indicates voters are okay with the status quo. The governing Liberals have taken a few hits to their shiny new brand but currently they still seem to be the favourite choice for Canadians going into the second half of their 4-year mandate.