Federal by-elections in Canada are often a fairly good measure of the sentiment of Canadian society. Three seats in parliament were contested Monday. The New Democrats held their seat in Victoria, while the Conservative Party prevailed in Calgary Centre and the Ontario riding of Durham.
While none of the seats were expected to change hands, the races in Victoria and Calgary Centre were tight. In Ontario, the Conservative Party candidate Erin O'Toole won with a 50.7 percent margin.
Joan Crockatt wins a conservative seat for Calgary Centre with 36.9 percent. In Durham Erin O'Toole took 50.2 percent of the vote, while New Democrat Murray Rankin won with a narrow margin with 37.2 percent of the vote.
What the by-election results reveal
During the past few weeks there has been discussion of a Liberal Party revival, considering the Justin Trudeau factor. Name recognition was expected to raise the Liberal Party's electoral fortunes. In Calgary the Liberal Party was a factor, garnering 32.7 percent of the vote. In both Durham and Victoria the party's vote share was under 20 percent.
The Calgary Centre by-election was too close for comfort for conservative dominated Alberta and shows that left leaning Albertans could turn out during the next federal election and vote for the Liberal Party. Both in Edmonton and Calgary the Conservative Party is no longer a safe bet in Alberta's urban centers.
In Ontario there has been little change in the status quo and with the misfortunes of the provincial Liberal Party, the national party has a lot of work to do.
Inthe closest fight was between the New Democrats and the Green Party, with the Liberal Party candidate coming in last.
The Green Party can be pleased with the results in both Calgary and Victoria, where the party garnered 25.6 percent and 34.3 percent respectively.
The Conservative Party faces a challenge, especially in British Columbia and Alberta. Depending how the Liberals fare in Quebec, it would appear that the NDP has a good chance of remaining the opposition party, with a long shot of a minority government.
Vote-splitting among Canada's progressive parties, especially between the Green Party and the New Democrats, will make a minority NDP government difficult. The Liberal Party appears to be the favorite alternative in Alberta over the NDP, but the Liberal Party has work to do.