Friday, December 21, 2007

By-Elections Called

Four federal by elections have been called for March 17th which, one imagines, will make the urge to "go green" tempting for most candidates.

The two Ontario ones should be cake walks for Bob Rae and Martha Hall Findlay, giving Dion some fresh front bench strength. In Toronto Centre, Bill Graham won by over 16,000 votes in 2006 and the Tories are in disarray after the bizarre disqualification of Mark Warner. Expect NDP candidate El-Farouk Khaki to finish second here. Willowdale is an equally safe Liberal seat - a nice reward to Martha Hall Findlay for her strong performance during the leadership race and her endorsement of Dion at the convention.


Out in BC, Vancouver Quadra has been Liberal since John Turner took it in '84, with Stephen Owen winning by 20% in 2006. After a contentious nomination that saw John Reynolds' hand picked "star" go down in defeat, Deborah Meredith will carry Harper's banner. The Liberals will send out former provincial Cabinet Minister Joyce Murray, the NDP will run Rebecca Coad, and the Greens are sending out Dan Grice. Expect the Liberals to hold onto this one.

The most interesting of the four comes is certainly the riding of Desnethe-Missnippi-Churchill River which engulfs all of northern Saskatchewan. The Liberals took the seat by 67 votes in 2006 when Gary Merasty knocked off Tory incumbent Jeremy Harrison (now a Sask Party MLA). This riding has been the source of controversy in recent days for the Liberals, with David Orchard gunning for the nomination amid rumours Dion will appoint former NDP MLA Joan Beatty. Personally, I hope Dion does go ahead with the appointment and not just because I'm not a big Orchard fan or because I have $10 riding on this by election in a bet I made before Merasty stepped down. Beatty is an accomplished female aboriginal who would be a big addition to the Liberal caucus and who stands a far better chance of winning the riding than Orchard.

Orchard certainly has the right to run for a seat in the next election given that he played a major role in electing Dion and does have a large following on the Prairies. And I can only imagine that the poor guy is having flashbacks to the Peter MacKay broken deal. Still, I'm sure another winnable rural riding can be found for David to run in. He should take a page from Justin Trudeau who, when denied the chance to run in Outremont, decided to fight a contested nomination in a Bloc held riding.

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21 Comments:

  • A poll done this week has the Greens just one point behind the NDP in Toronto, and we've got a lot of early momentum. Might be too early to call the race.

    Chris Tindal
    Green Candidate, Toronto Centre

    By Blogger CT, at 4:00 PM  

  • CG,

    David is running a contested nomination in DMCR. His opponent is John Dorion. An appointment means that another Grit member will be sidetracked besides David.

    The late by-election date also means that Harper is willing to let the House fall in the next few months and the general election will be held on March 17 or sometime around that.

    By Blogger Mushroom, at 4:05 PM  

  • the house only falls if DeYawn goes for it...............

    By Blogger art, at 4:14 PM  

  • ... and Layton and the Bloc go for it too.

    The dates are a sop to Layton. The Bloc don't care, The CPC are really only a challenge in DMCR.

    Layton, however, has a good chance of winning two or three. He'll want the by-election weirdness factor to play for him and it may. No way he goes to the polls before the by-elections.

    What else comes down in March? Oh, bet a budget does.

    Cheers,
    lance

    By Blogger lance, at 4:49 PM  

  • I believe Beatty is a sitting NDP MLA.

    By Blogger Sean S., at 5:05 PM  

  • Losing Outremont was bad enough ... what would happen if Dion lost Toronto Centre?

    By Blogger sir john a., at 5:39 PM  

  • Well since Beatty is still NDP and has said in the press she isn't really all that interested, its a pretty lame appointment. David deserves to run in the nomination.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 6:03 PM  

  • Geez, this is shocking. You mentioned David Orchard and I have yet to see a rebuttal from campaign manager Marjaleena Repo.

    Afterall, her candidate is running for half of Saskatchewan, for God's sake, according to your map!

    By Anonymous the anonymous green, at 6:58 PM  

  • Chris, I wouldn't mind seeing your party finish 2 or 3rd in Toronto Centre - primarily because I'd love to see the Conservatives finish fourth (or worse).

    But if you think you have a snowball's chance in hell of winning the riding, or even coming anywhere within shouting distance of the Liberals, you're seriously deluded.

    Been through this self-agrandizing nonsense too many times from NDP supporters. This used to be a bellweather riding, almost always electing a government MP (and usually a prominent cabinet minister). Reform changed that - you don't win in Toronto Centre by being a bunch of anti-gay bigots. The volume of red tories and PCs who transferred to the Liberals put this firmly in the Liberal camp and it's not going to change until the Conservative party stops being a bunch of bigoted slugs.

    But still, best of luck.

    By Blogger Reality Bites, at 7:37 PM  

  • ...because we all remember the strong support for same-sex marriage from Mulroney and Stanfield and Diefenbaker...

    By Anonymous The Invisible Hand, at 10:14 PM  

  • Yeah, obviously this is all contingent on there not being an election before then.

    Not sure why Harper's going to such lengths to delay the by elections considering he might actually gain a seat in all of this. And the Libs could very well drop in popular vote in the three they'll hold.

    By Blogger calgarygrit, at 11:51 PM  

  • The latest poll I saw put the Liberals 2 points above the Conservatives. Let see if this translates into new seats for the Liberals, the last set of by-elections didn’t go so well for them. This is pretty important if Dion wants to be seen as a capable leader.

    I am still up in the air with regards to who I will vote for. Harper is doing a pretty good job so far, I just wish he was doing a little more on the environmental front.

    By Blogger Jason, at 12:09 AM  

  • Fran in Medicine Hat commets: David Orchard does have a surprisingly strong base of support in the prairies. I have already fielded calls from LPC members who purchased memberships during the Leadership race in support of Stephane Dion after receiving solicitations from David Orchard. They wanted to discuss the Globe story which suggested Orchard may be undermined by Ralph Goodale's influence (evidently Ralph is not a fan of Mr. Orchard) and the possibility of the LPC attempting to woo the star NDP MLA. One Orchard supporter told me that David has ties to Northern Saskatchewan because his family homesteaded there. He evidently has been working in the Riding and firming up these ties - if he could win the nomination it sounds like he is "running to win." Others on this Riding board from Saskatchewan would be able to fill us in on the Liberal activity in the Riding. Even IF the Federal election is delayed until after the early Spring, all Ridings were suppose to get their nominations in place by the end of November 2007 - so not surprising that this is a decision that should not be delayed. The mere massiveness of this riding makes it more imperative I would think. A perceived "dirty deed" to David Orchard would affect many Prairie LPC Ridings. Let's hope there is a serious outreach to the Orchard camp and the Liberal tent is not collapsing to shut them out. I may not agree with some of Orchard's beliefs, but that is true for several political activists who now call the Liberal Party home.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12:47 PM  

  • “I am still up in the air with regards to who I will vote for. Harper is doing a pretty good job so far,”

    Hmmm! Don’t suppose that you know about the Paille Report?

    “...because we all remember the strong support for same-sex marriage from Mulroney and Stanfield and Diefenbaker...”

    The rise of the extreme right has forced conservatives to rethink what it means to be Canadian.

    By Blogger JimTan, at 1:09 PM  

  • cg:
    i believe Harper wants the byelections after the budget.
    reason:
    add 4 liberal new mp's, plus the bloc, and we have a very close budget vote where he cant make a side deal with the bloc.
    without the 4 new libs, him and layton love the enviro, plus some new tax credit that solves all of canada's problems miraculously.

    funny, in the lead up to the 2006 election, the ndp were so principled they had to vote against the liberals in the confidence motion in nov 2005 because the ndp are fighting so hard for healthcare. yeah, sure. have you seen them talking to harper about fixing the healthcare wait times? principled my arse.

    By Blogger ktr, at 1:15 PM  

  • correction: where he cant make a side deal with the NDP

    By Blogger ktr, at 1:16 PM  

  • "...because we all remember the strong support for same-sex marriage from Mulroney and Stanfield and Diefenbaker"

    The Mulroney government was in fact the first federal government in Canadian history to promise to end discrimination against gays and lesbians, back in 1986, vowing "the government will take whatever measures are necessary to ensure that sexual orientation is a prohibited ground of discrimination in relation to all areas of federal jurisdiction."

    Under Mulroney discrimination was ended in the armed forces and the first bill adding sexual orientation the the Canadian Human Rights Act was introduced.

    Robert Stanfield supported Pierre Trudeau's decriminalization of gay sex - and unlike Tommy Douglas, didn't refer to homosexuality as a psychiatric problem.

    The NDP, Liberals and PCs have, to say the least, an uneven record on gay issues. The Reform Party and its successors, including those members of the CPC from a Reform background, on the other hand, have an unblemished record of bigotry, voting en masse against gay equality in any and all matters (not just marriage) at every possible opportunity.

    You can count the number of Reform/CA MPs who've ever voted in favour of gay equality in any area of life on one hand and still have three fingers left over and you can bet that one of them's reserved for Harper.

    By Blogger Reality Bites, at 6:26 PM  

  • ktr; Actually, that's a pretty good theory when you look at the numbers in the house right now. Of course, the way Layton is gunning for an election, I'd be really surprised to see him try and cut a deal.

    By Blogger calgarygrit, at 1:25 AM  

  • Wow, the Green candidate looks just like Gareth Keenan from the Office (UK).

    By Blogger hosertohoosier, at 7:58 PM  

  • To the person who does not want the nomination meeting delayed, the whole reason it has been delayed is because of Orchard. It is a crying shame they did not have this riding meeting in October when Orchard did not have a snowball´s chance in hell of winning the riding. Now the party has a problem on its hands. Appointing a female aboriginal appears to be the only way out...

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 2:57 PM  

  • re: Rae and MHF "giving Dion some fresh front bench strength":

    Wow, you're so right... just when Dion really needs it, too. Hm, things could get much more interesting - you may have just struck me with by-election fever. I'm suddenly keen to see what changes after the vote.


    I really can't see Rae losing Toronto Centre -- the idea is too far-out for me. Everyone in the riding likes him, and the riding is consistently Liberal these days. There's just no way he can't win it, handily.

    I'm always on the fence about Orchard - I admire and respect his passion, and I believe that he's sincere about his views, that he really means what he says. Would I vote for him in my riding??? I honestly don't know.

    By Blogger Jason Bo Green, at 9:22 PM  

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