Liberals, BQ, win Canadian by-elections

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Tuesday, November 28, 2006

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Wikinews
This article features first-hand journalism by Wikinews members. See the collaboration page for more details.

A pair of by-elections called to fill vacancies in the Canadian House of Commons have resulted in the status quo being maintained with Liberal candidate Glen Pearson beating back a strong challenge by Green Party leader Elizabeth May in London North Centre and Raymond Gravel retaining the Quebec riding of Repentigny for the Bloc Québécois.

The by-elections were necessitated by the resignation of Liberal MP Joe Fontana who left parliament in a failed bid to become mayor of London, Ontario and by the death of BQ MP Benoît Sauvageau in a tragic car crash.

The London vote was closely watched due to May's attempt to become Canada's first Green Party MP and by the high-profile candidacy of former London mayor Dianne Haskett running for the Conservatives.

Pearson, a firefighter and community activist, won London North Centre with 34.7% of the vote with the Green Party's Elizabeth May coming 3,000 votes behind with 25.9% and Tory Dianne Haskett finishing third with 24%. The NDP's Megan Walker came fourth with 14.2%.

In the Montreal-area riding of Repentigny the BQ's Gravel won easily with 66.3% of the vote, Conservative Stéphane Bourgon finished well back in second place with 18.7% with New Democrat Réjean Bellemare coming in third with 7% of the vote.

The votes were also viewed as a test of the popularity of Prime Minister Stephen Harper's minority government. In Repentigny, the vote shares were similar to the outcomes in the Montreal-area riding in the last federal election with the BQ doing slightly better and the Liberals slightly worse. In London North Centre the major change was in the Green Party's result with Elizabeth May quadrupled the party's previous result by taking votes from all of the other parties. The Liberals and Tories each lost 5% while the NDP dropped 10% or one-third of their votes from the January 23rd general election.

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