Harper calls fall vote...
When: November 9th
Where: Cumberland Colchester, New Westminster-Coquitlam, Hochelaga, and Montmagny-yada-yada-yada
Somewhat counter-intuitively, the good news for the Liberals is that they aren't even remotely in the game in any of these ridings. An extra seat here or there won't change the parliamentary math, so by elections are all about momentum. And since it's a fairly risk-free proposition for them, Ignatieff won't fall victim to the same media pile-on that befell Dion after a string of bad by election performances in 2007 and 2008.
The Bloc are on the other side, trying to defend a pair of safe seats. They'll need to be careful in Montmagny, since the party has under-performed in by elections over the past few years, but they're probably looking at two holds.
Out east, Bill Cassey's old riding is up for grabs. Given its history, it's hard to see this one not going Conservative, but it will bear watching if Cassey endorses anyone or actively campaigns against his old party. Still, let's mark that one in the Tory win column.
Which brings us to the most interesting of the quartet - New Westminster-Coquitlam. Dawn Black (NDP) is the outgoing MP, but the last 3 elections have all been close NDP-CPC races, so this one could definitely go either way. The NDP appear poised to make this a referendum on the HST - that didn't really work for Tim Hudak, but the general consensus seems to be it's a bigger issue in BC than Ontario these days. Consider this riding a trial run - if the anti-HST message works here, you can bet Layton will try and play it up as much as humanly possible during the next federal campaign.