March 17 By-Elections Wrap-up
Tonight there is at least more women, one more aboriginal person, and one more former Premier in Parliament … and almost certainly one more recount.
In case you went to bed early on the east coast, Vancouver Quadra proved the surprise shocker of the evening, when with the last 2 polls reporting, the Liberals’ margin suddenly dropped dramatically to only 151 votes over the Conservatives … just 0.5% of the vote, or 0.6 votes per poll. Wow.
The other see-saw of the evening was the three-way battle for 2nd place in Toronto Centre between the NDP, Greens and Conservatives, but fortunately or unfortunately they don’t give recounts for that.
Looking at the Party Scorecard, the Liberals lost one seat to the Conservatives in Desnethé – Missinippi – Churchill River, the Greens increased their vote enough in two ridings to become eligible for a rebate of candidate election expenses, and the NDP and Liberals lost votes percentage-wise to the Greens and Conservatives.
In their skirmishes for who placed ahead of whom, the Greens and NDP will no doubt take consolation in their standings in Willowdale and Toronto Centre respectively.
But pundits will probably be looking more closely at the Vancouver Quadra results, since the Greens grew their vote substantially enough there (by 8.5 percentage points or so, 7 of them from the Liberals), with the Conservatives taking another 6.5 percentage points out of Liberal support on the other side, to nearly cost them the seat. Of note, this riding had the highest turn-out of the four tonight (that nice B.C. weather perhaps?), although none were as high as the turnouts in the three seats contested in Québec last fall.
Recounts rarely change final results to the tune of 150 votes, so Liberal Joyce Murray is probably safe in her victory in Quadra. But no candidate in that situation can truly breathe easy until the official count and recount are put to bed and the writ is returned to the Speaker.