Conservative withdrawals pave way for possible early by-election calls
Welcome, National Newswatch readers!
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.
- 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
- 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.
|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|