Wednesday, October 28, 2009

November 9th by-elections

On November 9th we will see four by-elections in Canada. One in BC, one in Nova Scotia and two in Quebec. The seats were held by the NDP, Bill Casey independent and two Bloc members.

Cumberland - Colchester - Musquodoboit Valley

This riding was held by independent Bill Casey. He was elected five times for a party from the right and then once as an independent. He was not far off from winning in 1993 for the PCs.

It has been rare for the Liberals to within 20 percentage points of the winning right wing candidate in this riding over the last more than 40 years. I do not given any party any chance of winning other than the Conservatives. Scott Armstrong will be the new MP.

This riding has been easily held by Real Menard of the Bloc over the last three elections, he also won three times in a predecessor riding. If he had lost half of his vote he would still have won. I see no danger of Daniel Paille of the Bloc losing.

Montmagney - L'Islet - Kamouraska - Riviers-du-Loup

Paul Crete has held this riding and half of the predecessor riding since 1993. He has comfortably won in most of the elections. In 2008 his vote dropped to below 50%. This is also one of the ridings in Quebec where the Conservative vote went up in 2008.

The riding is strongly rural, francophone and Catholic. The rural and Catholic nature of the riding means these are more likely to be conservative people and in a strong election result a riding the Conservatives could win. Can they win in the by-election? Highly unlikely. Nancy Gagnon will most likely be elected for the Bloc.

New Westminster - Coquitlam

Dawn Black resigned as the NDP MP for two terms to run provincially to become an MLA. The riding is one that looks like the NDP, Liberals or the Conservatives could win in an election. The Liberals tried hard in 2004 and 2006 to win here but came third both times. In 2004 Paul Forseth won this riding for the Conservatives with only 32.87% of the vote.

This should be a riding the Liberals should be putting all their effort into to try and win, but I do not see the effort from them so I will assume they have no chance to win.

The NDP is running Fin Donnelly, a well know Coquitlam city councilor and activist for the environment. If anyone is going to draw the vote from the Greens, this is the man.

The Conservatives did will in 2008, but they could not make up all the ground needed to win in that election. The national support for the Conservatives is up from 2008, though down in BC.

By-elections are strange creatures, weird results can take place. Demographically older voters are more likely to vote - a definite benefit for the Conservatives. At the same time the core New Democrat supporters are the sort of people that vote in every election. I would call these two factors a draw.

With all the factors, I give the edge to the NDP in this riding.

The by-elections will leave us with a parliament not much different than what it is at the moment, the government will have gained one seat taking them to 144 seats, still ten short of a majority.

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