OTTAWA – The Conservative and New Democrat party leaders have been out on the hustings, with two federal byelections around the corner.

New MPs are set to be named in the Sturgeon River-Parkland, Alta., and Lac-Saint-Jean, Que., ridings when constituents head to the polls on Oct. 23.

Parliament was on pause the week of Oct. 9, with MPs in their ridings for a thanksgiving break, and that gave Conservative leader Andrew Scheer some time to hit the campaign trail. NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh, though not impacted by the House of Commons sitting schedule, as he doesn’t have a seat, has also been campaigning this week.

Scheer was in Alberta on Oct. 10 where he participated in an event in the riding where the Conservatives are running Dane Lloyd as their candidate. He then travelled to Quebec where he campaigned for the Conservative candidate Rémy Leclerc.

Singh was in the Quebec riding on Oct. 10 where he campaigned with NDP candidate Gisele Dallaire. The NDP say though Singh is about to launch his national tour where he will visit Alberta, it’s not expected he will make it there ahead of the byelection.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, spent the week in Mexico City and Washington, D.C.. His office was unable to confirm if he has plans to visit either riding in the weeks ahead.

 

Here is a look at the upcoming Oct. 23 elections:


Sturgeon River-Parkland, Alberta:

This byelection is being held to fill Rona Ambrose’s seat. She formally resigned as a Conservative MP in July.

There are four candidates running to replace her:

Liberal candidate Brian Gold: Gold is a businessman and university instructor. He ran for the Liberals in the 2015 federal election in a different Alberta riding.

Conservative candidate Dane Lloyd: Lloyd was a Hill staffer before being nominated in this race. He has had to answer for previous controversial social media comments he’s made.

New Democrat candidate Shawna Gawreluck: Gawreluck is a small business owner and medical laboratory technologist. She was acclaimed as the NDP candidate.

Christian Heritage candidate Ernest Chauvet: Chauvet is described on the party’s website as an educator, entrepreneur, and activist, among other things. He ran for the party in the riding in 2015.

In the 2015 election Ambrose won with 70 per cent of the vote. The Liberals came in a far second with 15.6 per cent; the NDP in third with 10 per cent of the vote; the Green Party ran a candidate that garnered 3.1 per cent of the vote; and the Christian Heritage Party got 1.1 per cent of the vote.

 

Jagmeet Singh

Lac-Saint-Jean, Quebec:

This byelection is being held to fill Denis Lebel’s seat. He formally resigned as a Conservative MP in August.

There are five candidates running to replace him:

Liberal candidate Richard Hébert: Hébert is a former mayor of northern Quebec town Dolbeau-Mistassini and is described on the Liberal Party website as a community advocate.

Conservative candidate Rémy Leclerc: Leclerc used to work for Lebel, and his background is in social work. His son works in Scheer’s office.

New Democrat candidate Gisèle Dallaire: Dallaire is a psychologist. She ran for the NDP in this riding in 2015 and came in a close second.

Bloc Québécois candidate Marc Maltais: Maltais is a trade unionist and a former regional councilor. He has been described by Quebec media as active in the local independence movement.

Green candidate Yves Laporte: Laporte is a pianist and member of Greenpeace. He has been active in the federal and provincial Green parties for nearly a decade.

In the 2015 election Lebel won with 33.3 per cent of the vote. The NDP came second with 28.5 per cent; the Liberals and the Bloc Québécois tied for third with 18.4 per cent of the vote; and the Green candidate received 1.5 per cent of the vote.

 

More races to come:

There are four other federal byelections on the horizon that Elections Canada has yet to issue writs for.

  • Scarborough-Agincourt, Ontario, where the seat was vacated because Liberal MP Arnold Chan died.
  • South Surrey-White Rock, B.C., where the seat was vacated because Dianne Watts stepped down as a Conservative MP to pursue provincial political aspirations.
  • Bonavista-Burin-Trinity, Nfld., where the seat was vacated by Judy Foote, who stepped down as a Liberal MP for family health reasons.
  • Battlefords-Lloydminster, Sask., where the seat was vacated because Gerry Ritz resigned as a Conservative MP.

Speaker of the House of Commons Geoff Regan has informed the Chief Electoral Officer of these vacancies, but there is still a considerable window of time still left before the byelections have to be called. Once they are, the earliest election day could come in these ridings is 36 days after the writ is issued.

There have already been six federal byelections since the general election in 2015. In all six, the successful candidate was a member of the party that held the seat prior to the byelection.