Liberals Set Bourassa Nomination Date and other Fall By-election News Updates
Today's countdown to the calling of federal by-elections brings an updated calendar, a scheduled nomination meeting, two or more confirmed nomination candidacies, and a candidate we forgot to mention yesterday.
First of all, the Chief Electoral Officer has just announced that he finally received notice of the vacancy in Toronto Centre yesterday from the Commons Speaker. So the dates we estimated for Toronto Centre in our calendar yesterday can now be confirmed.
|Bourassa, QC||Provencher, MB||Toronto Centre, ON|
|(A)||Date of the vacancy:||Mon Jun 3, 2013||Mon Jul 15, 2013||Wed Jul 31, 2013|
|(B)||Date the Chief Electoral Officer was notified of the vacancy:||Mon Jun 3, 2013||Mon Jul 15, 2013||Tue Aug 6, 2013|
|(C)||First day the by-election could be called (11 days after (B)):||Fri Jun 14, 2013||Fri Jul 26, 2013||Sat Aug 17, 2013|
|(D)||36 days after (C):||Sat Jul 20, 2013||Sat Aug 31, 2013||Sun Sep 22, 2013|
|(E)||Earliest date the by-election could be held (First Monday*** on or after (D)):||Mon Jul 22, 2013||Tue Sep 3, 2013***||Mon Sep 23, 2013|
|(F)||Last the by-election can be called (180 days after (B)):||Sat Nov 30, 2013||Sat Jan 11, 2014||Sun Feb 2, 2014|
|(G)||36 days after (F):||Sun Jan 5, 2014||Sun Feb 16, 2014||Mon Mar 10, 2014|
|(H)||Latest date the by-election could be held (First Monday on or after (G)):||on or after Mon Jan 6, 2014||on or after Mon Feb 17, 2014||on or after Mon Mar 10, 2014|
|*** Or if the Monday is a statuatory holiday, then the Tuesday right afterwards.|
Second, the Liberals have now confirmed a date (though not the location) for their nomination meeting in Bourassa riding. The party's candidate will be selected on Sunday, September 8 at 2:00 PM. With Viau provincial Liberal MNA Emmanual Dubourg confirming to Radio-Canada yesterday that he was indeed interested in the federal nomination, why wait, I assume, is the thinking here.
This would see two Haitian-born candidates (Georges Laraque for the Greens, and Emmanuel Dubourg for the Liberals) contesting the seat with the highest proportion of Haitian immigrants in the country, and indeed one of the two so-far announced NDP nomination contestants (Larry Rousseau) is Haitian as well. That said, the riding is one-third vismin and almost 40% allophone, so it will take more than an appeal to the Haitian community to win the riding, whatever advantage it might confer in winning a party nomination. And, at 40%, Bourassa is not even the most allophone riding in Montréal. While we assume the more allophone the riding in Montreal, the more favoured the Liberals are to win it, should the Bloc underperform, the NDP could be poised to consolidate the francophone soft nationalists on the other side. Their riding association's participation in the Fete-Nationale parade, which they trumpetted as the "only federal party" to do so, could be read in that light. Bloc supporters were not amused. Still Bourassa is one of the Bloc's former non-incumbent ridings in which it never maintained a registered riding association, so being competitive there will be a stretch for them unless we start to see some activity soon.
Third, Linda McQuaig's announcement for the NDP nomination in Toronto Centre yesterday might be presumed to make her the frontrunner in that race, but it could still not be the end of the announcements there, dipper sources say. One candidate who was contemplating a run has since decided against competing, but I hear there is still one more person in the wings who has yet to pull the trigger or pull the plug.
That said, McQuaig's entry was well-received by NDPers, and generated the expected media splash. They haven't scheduled a nomination meeting as yet, but with a 30-day minimum membership period to vote in nomination contests, an early meeting would be limited to members in good standing and renewals, wihle a longer date would benefit the candidate who could do more sign-ups. It's worth noting that Jennifer Hollett has served on the riding executive for several years, and participated in the riding association's canvasses of the riding, so she might have an edge in existing members and could try to match McQuaig in organization.
Meanwhile, a couple of news sources have identified 2011 Conservative candidate Kevin
Hope Moore, a minister who works with the City of Hope charity in the riding, as running for them again. I haven't seen anything on the Internet about his actual re-nomination, although he is listed as the "candidate of record" on their EDA's website. But misunderstanding what a candidate of record is (it's the last nominated candidate) is what got the Bloc in trouble in Bourassa, as we saw yesterday, so I'm still trying to confirm Hope's actually running this time. Same goes for Ellen Michelson of the Toronto Centre Greens. No nomination contests have been reported to Elections Canada, either.
Finally, I omitted mentioning yesterday that Pirate Party leader Travis McCrea will be running in Toronto Centre as well. He ran in the 2011 general election in Vancouver Centre, but has since assumed his party's leadership. A run in the Toronto Centre by-election would represent a change from the party's decision not to participate in this spring's Labrador by-election (where it both endorsed Elizabeth May's call on the NDP not to run to give the Liberals the easiest chance of beating the Conservative incumbent Peter Penashue there, and pointed out that by-elections were costly for small parties struggling to make it in a first-past-the-post system). McCrea argued at the time that by electing a Liberal they would be electing one more member dedicated to electoral reform, though I'd have to wonder if he realizes that the preferential ballot to which most federal Liberals are now committed would make it even harder for smaller parties.
Back to by-election timing, we now know the earliest date for election day will be Monday, September 23. But if Parliament were not to return right away in favour of a Throne Speech later this fall, and overlap with the Québec municipal nominations was not such a big deal for the Conservatives, one could still imagine the date running to September 30, or even October 7 or 15 (thanksgiving is Monday, October 14). Should, for example, any more Conservative MPs decide to step down early to facilitate by-elections where the current boundaries were thought to be more favourable to the government, who knows how many by-elections we could see this fall either. To the extent we haven't seen the usual announcement of Parliamentary Secretaries following last month's cabinet shuffle yet, perhaps it's because not all the possible candidates for those positions are in the House of Commons yet. Food for thought.