The federal Liberal Party won three out of four byelections overnight, sustaining two ridings already red and winning a critical third in a major blow to the Conservative Party for the second time this season.
In what was described as a midterm test for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s two-year majority mandate, the Liberals kept the incumbent Newfoundland seat of former cabinet minister Judy Foote and late Arnold Chan’s Scarborough-Agincourt riding in Toronto.
However, the major win came in the contested riding of South Surrey-White Rock, previously held by Tory Dianne Watts, who won the riding in the 2015 federal election but stepped down on Sept. 30 to pursue the leadership of the B.C. Liberal Party.
The Liberal Party’s candidate Gordie Hogg snagged 47.5 per cent of the popular vote in B.C., outpacing his Tory competitor Kerry-Lynne Findlay and her 42.1 per cent to take the win.
Both Mr. Trudeau and Conservative leader Andrew Scheer visited their respective candidates twice before the byelection, underscoring the riding’s importance to both parties.
The New Democratic Party saw support drop from 2015’s 10.4 per cent to 4.9 in the riding after Monday’s vote. The NDP support was was mostly likely lost to the Liberals.
Analysis: What this means for each party
Justin Trudeau is likely celebrating a major win for the party right now. This is the second time this fall that his party has taken Conservative seats, after taking a Tory riding in a Quebec byelection in October.
In the Quebec byelection, the NDP had slipped from being second in 2015 to fourth, and not much was different in B.C. on Monday as voters largely ignored the New Democrats.
When the NDP took up the role of Official Opposition in 2011, it was when the Liberal Party was at its lowest point, thus, the likelihood of a strong New Democrat federal party does not seem likely at this point.
However, in 2015, the NDP were stronger than in the 2006 federal election when they had 15.5 per cent of the popular vote. New Democrats won 19.7 per cent in 2015 under the leadership of the popular Jack Layton, falling from a strong 30.6 in 2011.
On Monday night, the NDP had their support cut in half in B.C. and, although the party didn’t expect a win from any of the byelection’s, it may worry their new leader Jagmeet Singh.
A true test for the new NDP leader has yet to come about.
However, Monday night was a test of Scheer’s Conservative Party.
Tory candidate for the contested B.C. riding Kerry-Lynne Findlay said that her loss was a not a reflection on Scheer’s, who won the party leadership race in May of this year.
“What I’ve been hearing is they like Andrew,” she said.
“People seem to enjoy his positive COnservative message and his approach.”
Findlay blamed a big part of her loss to Trudeau calling a “snap byelection” in the riding, causing her to lose one week out of five to campaign.
The winner, however, is a well-known politician in the area, having served as the local mayor for a decade and representing the provincial riding as a Member of the Legislative Assembly for the B.C. Liberals for some 20 years.
Hogg served multiple cabinet positions within Christy Clark’s provincial government.
Rosemarie Falk upped the Conservative’s hold on the Alberta Battlefords-Lloydminster riding from the previous election’s 61 per cent to a 69.6 per cent on Monday night.
It was a show of strength from a geographically strong Tory area.
More details to follow. Image 1 of Justin Trudeau (L) and Gordie Hogg (R) from Daily Hive.