Conservative withdrawals pave way for possible early by-election calls

September 14th, 2013

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Welcome, National Newswatch readers!

Arthur-Virden MLA Larry Maguire looks set to be acclaimed Conservative candidate in the Brandon-Souris by-election

The night before the NDP and Liberals were set to pick their candidates for the upcoming by-election in Toronto Centre, two Conservative nomination candidates suddenly withdrew from the governing party's contested nomination in Brandon-Souris.

First news emerged from Brandon that Len Isleifson, who we earlier learned had just graduated to the Deputy mayorship of the Wheat City, would no longer be running for the Conservative nod. And then word came through back-channels, subsequently confirmed by Graeme Bruce in the Brandon Sun, that Merv Tweed's former aide Chris Kennedy was also out of the race.

Bruce is reporting from local Conservative Party sources that unspecified issues with the two candidates' nomination applications came into play, but the upshot is two-fold:

  1. Arthur-Virden MLA Larry Maguire will be acclaimed the Conservative candidate for the upcoming by-election in Brandon-Souris, along with Ted Falk in Provencher, and probably Geoff Pollock in Toronto Centre, and
  2. The decks are now cleared for Prime Minister Stephen Harper to call by-elections as early as Sunday, September 15 for all four by-elections, with an E-Day of Monday, October 21 or later.

Note that Saturday, September 14 was the first day a by-election could have been called for Brandon-Souris – the last seat to become vacant of the four now in play. A Monday, October 21 by-election would come five days after the expected launch of the new Parliamentary session and Throne Speech, and ten days before the Conservative Party's delayed convention in Calgary.

That said, certainly the Brandon Sun's reporting suggests that local Conservatives are not expecting an early call, and indeed Conservatives in several of the ridings have been told to prepare for November by-elections.

In other by-election news, the NDP is set to release final membership sign-up figures to their nomination candidates in Bourassa Monday or Tuesday, but campaign insiders who are familiar with the lists in progress are giving star candidate Stéphane Moraille the edge. The Dipper meeting will also be held in the Costa Del Mar in Montréal-Nord (which housed the Liberal meeting last weekend), as it's one of the few meeting rooms in the riding willing to rent to political parties. The NDP is also expecting a candidate to announce shortly for Provencher.

Forthcoming dates to watch:

  • Sun Sept 15 – both NDP and Liberal contested nomination meetings take place in Toronto Centre
  • Wed Sept 25 – NDP contested nomination meeting in Bourassa
  • Thu Oct 17 – NDP contested nomination meeting in Brandon-Souris

We are still waiting on:

  • Final confirmation that Geoff Pollock has been accepted as a Conservative nomination candidate in Toronto Centre, and if so, whether he will be acclaimed, given that no other name has surfaced publicly
  • A date to be set for the contested Liberal nomination meeting in Brandon-Souris, though I was told it was "close" to being decided
  • A nomination meeting date for the Liberals in Provencher, where ex-riding president Terry Hayward is to date the only declared candidate
  • The name of the NDP candidate expected to announce shortly in Provencher
  • Any sign of a viable Bloc or Conservative candidacy in Bourassa

Let's re-update the readiness table from last time, to see where the parties are across the four ridings.

Riding NDP Grn Lib Cons BQ
Bourassa, QC Sept 25 meeting with 4-way contest Deputy leader appointed candidate July 9 Dubourg wins Sept 8 2-way contest Leader has ruled out a run for himself
Toronto Centre, ON Sept 15 meeting with 3-way contest Deverell named candidate Sept 9 Sept 15 meeting with 3-way contest 1 declared candidate; nominations closed Sept 11  
Provencher, MB 1 declared candidate 1 approved candidate; nominations closed Sept 11  
Brandon-Souris, MB Oct 17 meeting with 2-way contest 2-way contest 1 approved candidate; nominations closed Sept 11  

6 Responses to “Conservative withdrawals pave way for possible early by-election calls”

  1. Shadow says:

    I imagine the by-elections will happen after the throne speech and after the convention but before a fall economic update by Flaherty in November.

  2. I am really curious about a Bloc candidate anywhere on the Island of Montreal in light of the Quebec charter bun-fight. Will the Bloc even run a candidate in Bourassa? Maria Mourani’s expulsion from the Bloc implies big splits within the sovereigntists in the province, and especially in Montreal. If the Bloc runs a candidate in November by-election, they will be asking for an electoral humiliation.

  3. Ron says:

    Will Justin intimate who his favoured candidate is in Brandon-Souris – as he has done in Bourassa and Toronto Centre?

  4. diane marie says:

    Ron, there is absolutely no basis for your assertion. Ms. Freeland was recruited into politics by Mr. Trudeau, but he did not endorse her, nor did he campaign for her. She fought two other candidates for the nomination, finally winning with something like 38% of the vote. An August article in the Montreal Gazette indicates that Mr. Dubourg told Mr. Trudeau about his interest but did not receive an endorsement:

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