Trudeau boasts about byelection results, Tories and NDP defensive

Trudeau boasts about byelection results, Tories and NDP defensive

OTTAWA — Justin Trudeau says the results of four federal byelections Monday night show the Liberals are on the right track with their focus on middle-class Canadians.

Not surprisingly, the prime minister was the only party leader to express unalloyed pleasure Tuesday in the results, which saw the Liberals score their second byelection upset in as many months.

The Liberals snatched the British Columbia riding of South Surrey-White Rock from the Conservatives in a close-fought contest. They also easily retained a safe Liberal seat in Newfoundland and Labrador and another in Toronto, although their vote share declined somewhat in those ridings.

The Conservatives, who retained a safe seat of their own in Saskatchewan, took consolation in the fact that they increased their share of the vote in three of the four byelections.

But it’s the second time since Andrew Scheer took the helm of the Conservative party last May that the Tories have lost a seat; in October the Liberals snagged a long-time Conservative seat in Quebec’s nationalist heartland in a byelection.

There was no consolation for New Democrats, who saw their share of the vote drop in all four ridings Monday — and in all six since Jagmeet Singh was elected leader in early October.

“I think the message we’re putting forward and the connection we’re building with Canadians of focusing on the middle class and delivering for them has resonated,” Trudeau asserted Tuesday.

In the House of Commons, he subtly needled Scheer about the byelection outcomes, choosing to answer a question about trade with China with praise for all those who ran in the byelections and congratulations for the winners.

“This was a good day for Canada and a good day for our democracy,” Trudeau said.

“Of course we all congratulate all of those who presented their names for byelection,” snapped Scheer before returning to the trade issue.

Outside the Commons, Scheer pointed to the Conservatives’ increased vote share in three of the four ridings to claim there is every reason for optimism.

“I also think it’s important to note that the Liberals have clearly moved very far to the left to co-opt the NDP support and I think that presents the Conservatives with an opportunity to reach out to Canadians who don’t feel that the Liberal party represents them anymore,” he added.

“So, there’s a lot of time left to play in the game (before the 2019 election) and my job now is to reach out to those.”

Trouble is, the Conservatives need the NDP to up its game, siphoning off enough Liberal support to enable the Tories to claim victory in ridings like South Surrey-White Rock and Scarborough-Agincourt — in each of which the Liberal candidate won Monday with about 1,600 more votes than the Conservative. But the NDP was almost non-existent in both ridings — taking just five per cent of the vote.

The dismal results were particularly worrying for the NDP in Scarborough-Agincourt, a riding with a predominantly immigrant population and a sizable South Asian population and which Singh, who was born in Scarborough, has claimed as home — the very kind of riding where New Democrats have been hoping the new leader could make inroads.

Still, New Democrat MP Matthew Dube noted that none of the byelections were in ridings that have ever been particularly favourable to the NDP. That, combined with low voter turnout in all four ridings in byelections held close to the Christmas holidays, renders them “not a proper barometer” of the electorate in general, he said.

Moreover, he argued that the party is still making the transition to the new leader, which takes time.

“The transition is not just about hiring staff … It’s also about knowing what kind of efforts we can make on the ground, how we can fix perhaps mistakes, if I can put it that way, that we made in the last election in order to better reach out to Canadians in communities like (Scarborough-Agincourt) in particular,” Dube said.

“Certainly, no one was under any illusion that yesterday, even in a riding like Scarborough, that it was going to happen overnight. There’s still a lot of work to do and no one had unrealistic expectations. Our expectation is to be ready for the 2019 election.”

byelectioncanadian politics

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A nurse gets a swab ready at a temporary COVID-19 test clinic in Montreal, on Friday, May 15, 2020. Health Canada has reversed course on home test kits for COVID-19, saying it will now review applications for such devices. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
Alberta declines Ontario’s request to send health-care workers

Alberta is “not in a position” to send health-care workers out of… Continue reading

The Red Deer Rebels allowed four straight goals from the Medicine Hat Tigers Friday night on the road. (Photo by Rob Wallator/ Red Deer Rebels)
Tigers hand Red Deer Rebels 10th straight loss

Tigers 4 Rebels 2 Through 17 games in the shortened WHL season,… Continue reading

Meghan Huizing has been selected by Red Deer Catholic Regional Schools as a finalist for the Alberta School Boards Association (ASBA) 2021 Edwin Parr Award. (Photo courtesy of Red Deer Regional Catholic Schools)
Red Deer Catholic names finalist for Edwin Parr Award

Meghan Huizing from St. Gregory the Great Catholic School in Blackfalds has… Continue reading

GrammaLink-Africa members are participating in the Stride to Turn the Tide campaign until June 30. (Contributed photo)
Red Deer group walking to raise money for African grandmothers

A group of central Albertans will be walking every day until the… Continue reading

Red Deer Public Schools will not pilot the new draft curriculum at its elementary schools. (File photo contributed by Red Deer Public Schools)
UPDATED: Red Deer Public Schools says no to piloting new curriculum

Alberta Teachers’ Association support school boards

Montreal Canadiens' Tyler Toffoli celebrates his goal past Calgary Flames goaltender Jacob Markstrom during second-period NHL hockey action in Montreal on Friday, April 16, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
Toffoli scores twice, Canadiens put some distance on Flames with 2-1 win

Toffoli scores twice, Canadiens put some distance on Flames with 2-1 win

Canadian prop Jake Ilnicki savouring life in Seattle, looks forward to facing Arrows

Canadian prop Jake Ilnicki savouring life in Seattle, looks forward to facing Arrows

Corey Conners, of Canada, hits out of a bunker on the seventh hole during the final round of the Masters golf tournament in Augusta, Ga., Sunday, April 11, 2021. Conners notched six birdies on his back nine to take the lead after his second round of the RBC Heritage on Friday. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Matt Slocum
Canadian Corey Conners surges into lead at PGA Tour’s RBC Heritage

Canadian Corey Conners surges into lead at PGA Tour’s RBC Heritage

Patrick Marleau poised to break Gordie Howe’s games record

Patrick Marleau poised to break Gordie Howe’s games record

Leylah Annie Fernandez of Canada serves to Marie Bouzkova of the Czech Republic in round 1 of the Rogers Cup women's tennis tournament in Toronto, Monday August 5, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Mark Blinch
Rebecca Marino propels Canada into 2-0 lead over Serbia at Billie Jean King Cup

Rebecca Marino propels Canada into 2-0 lead over Serbia at Billie Jean King Cup

Dalton Kellett pulls out of the pits during a practice session for the Indianapolis 500 auto race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, in Indianapolis, Thursday, Aug. 13, 2020. Dalton Kellett is pleased his second career season in IndyCar will be different than his first, which started on an elaborate iRacing rig in his home office in Indianapolis because of COVID-19 restrictions. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Darron Cummings
Canada’s Dalton Kellett set for a more stable season as an IndyCar driver

Canada’s Dalton Kellett set for a more stable season as an IndyCar driver

Canada head coach Bev Priestman reacts during the women's international friendly soccer match between England and Canada at Bet365 stadium in Stoke on Trent, England, Tuesday, April 13, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP/Rui Vieira
Canadian women get peek at their possible road at Olympic soccer tournament

Canadian women get peek at their possible road at Olympic soccer tournament

Head coach John Tait talks to his team as Canada takes on Japan in women's sevens rugby action at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil on Saturday, Aug. 6, 2016. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Rugby Canada says probe into complaint from members of women’s 7s team is complete

Rugby Canada says probe into complaint from members of women’s 7s team is complete

Most Read