NDP beats Green Party in Victoria byelection; Tories keep 2 seats
Published Monday, November 26, 2012 8:51AM EST
Last Updated Tuesday, November 27, 2012 7:54AM EST
In three federal byelections Monday night, the Conservatives kept their seats in Calgary Centre and Durham, Ont., while the New Democrats narrowly beat the Green Party in Victoria.
Conservative candidate Erin O'Toole easily won the Durham riding, defeating New Democrat Larry O'Connor. That seat was vacated by Tory minister Bev Oda, who resigned after a series of controversies.
In Victoria, NDP candidate Murray Rankin found himself in a battle with Green Party hopeful Donald Galloway, but with nearly all the polls reporting, he had extended his lead to more than 1,000 votes. He replaces fellow New Democrat Denise Savoie, who resigned earlier this year over health issues.
In Calgary Centre, candidate Joan Crockatt fought off a potential upset by Liberal hopeful Harvey Locke, winning 37 per cent of the vote. Locke ended with 32.6 per cent.
In the weeks leading up to the vote, all eyes had been on Calgary Centre -- a traditional Conservative stronghold where the Liberals had made significant gains.
While the Calgary riding has been staunchly Conservative since it was first formed in the 1960s, a recent poll showed Locke hot on the heels of Crockatt, a journalist and political pundit running in her first federal election.
Research by polling firm Return on Insight had put the Conservatives ahead in the race with 37 per cent of the vote, but the Liberals trailed only five points behind at 32 per cent. But since that poll was released, Liberal leadership hopeful Justin Trudeau was forced to apologize for controversial anti-Alberta remarks made two years ago.
During an interview with a Quebec radio station in 2010, Trudeau said the best MPs and prime ministers come from Quebec, adding: "Things are hard in Canada right now because it's Albertans who are controlling our community and socio-democratic agenda."
The Conservatives pounced on the comments, saying they reflected a typical Liberal attitude towards Western Canada.
Ontario MP David McGuinty stepped down as the Liberals’ energy critic earlier last week after suggesting Alberta Conservative MPs weren't fit to sit in Parliament if they didn't hold a "national vision" on energy policy – another comment that drew a firestorm of reaction.
On Monday, Immigration Minister Jason Kenney said while the Conservative party aims to bring Canadians together, the Liberal party drives regional divides.
“These divisive remarks reflect what the Liberals do whenever they’re in office, and Canadian reject it,” said Kenney in the House of Commons.