Conservatives, Bloc Québécois score byelection wins

The Conservatives and Bloc Québécois cruised to easy victories Monday in two of four federal byelections in Nova Scotia, Quebec and British Columbia.

The Conservatives and the Bloc Québécois cruised to easy victories Monday in two of four federal byelections in Nova Scotia, Quebec and British Columbia.

Conservative candidate Scott Armstrong won the Nova Scotia riding of Cumberland-Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley, a long-time Tory stronghold that the party has now reclaimed.

Former Conservative MP Bill Casey captured the riding as an Independent in 2008 after being booted out of the Tory caucus in 2007 for publicly criticizing the budget.

With all 245 polls reporting, Armstrong won 45.8 per cent of the vote. His nearest rival, NDP candidate Mark Austin, took 25.7 per cent, followed by Liberal Jim Burrows at 21.3 per cent.

In one of two Quebec byelections, the Bloc's Daniel Paille took a big early lead and is projected as the winner in Hochelaga in east-end Montreal, where the NDP had hoped for a strong showing from Jean-Claude Rocheleau.

With 184 of 219 polls reporting, Paille was winning 51 per cent of the vote, more than double Rocheleau's 19.8 per cent. Liberal Robert David was third with 14.4 per cent, followed by Conservative Stephanie Cloutier at 10.1 per cent.

Tory leads Bloc

In the second race, the Conservatives appear poised to oust the Bloc Québécois in the riding of Montmagny-L'Islet-Kamouraska-Rivière du Loup in eastern Quebec.

With results in from 210 of 257 polls, Conservative Bernard Genereux, former mayor of La Pocatière, was taking 42.4 per cent of the vote, followed by the Bloc's Nancy Gagnon with 39.1 per cent.

Liberal Marcel Catellier was running a distant third with 12 per cent, followed by the NDP's François Lapointe at 4.9 per cent.

In the B.C. riding of New Westminster-Coquitlam, returns from 13 of 225 polls show the NDP's Fin Donnelly winning 53.9 per cent of the vote, followed by Conservative candidate Diana Dilworth with 33.8 per cent. Liberal Ken Beck Lee is a distant third at 7.7 per cent.

The riding had been held by former New Democrat MP Dawn Black, who left to run for a seat in the provincial legislature.

Black beat her Conservative candidate by more than 1,000 votes in the last federal vote. The Tories had held the riding as recently as 2004.

With files from The Canadian Press