Liberals win 3 of 4 federal byelections, nab seat from Tories in B.C.
Conservatives keep 1 seat in byelections held across country Monday night
The federal Liberals went into Monday's four federal byelections holding two of the four seats that were up for grabs but walked away with three, delivering a blow to the Conservatives for the second time this fall.
Having held former cabinet minister Judy Foote's Newfoundland and Labrador riding of Bonavista–Burin–Trinity early in the evening, the Liberals also went on to retain the Toronto riding of Scarborough–Agincourt before upsetting the Conservatives in the British Columbia riding of South Surrey–White Rock.
The Conservatives, however, retained the seat vacated by former Harper era cabinet minister Gerry Ritz who stepped down earlier this year.
It was the second time this fall that the Liberals were able to win a seat away from their Opposition rivals. Last time the victory came in the Quebec riding of Lac-Saint-Jean.
This time it came in South Surrey-White Rock.
Gordie Hogg secured 47.5 per cent of the vote in the riding, beating his Conservative rival Kerry-Lynne Findlay, who came away with 42.1 per cent of the vote. The NDP were a distant third, and saw their vote cut in half from the 10.4 per cent in 2015 to just 4.9 per cent Monday.
While the NDP were not expected to feature during the contest, the drop in support will not be an encouraging sign for the NDP's newly minted leader, Jagmeet Singh.
Conservative Dianne Watts had stepped down as MP in South Surrey-White Rock. to run for the provincial leadership in B.C., leaving Conservatives to try to retain or improve upon their 2.5 per cent margin in the 2015 election, but that was not on the cards Monday night.
Findlay dismissed suggestions that the loss was a reflection on Leader Andrew Scheer, who has lost byelection seats twice since he became Conservative leader in May.
"What I've been hearing is they like Andrew.... People seem to enjoy his positive Conservative message and his approach," she said, adding that voters were concerned about "the Ottawa Liberals' higher taxes and low ethics."
She put the loss down to the fact that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau called a "snap byelection" in the riding, before she'd even been nominated as the candidate, which cost her a week of the five-week campaign.
"I just think we didn't have enough time."
Hogg represented the provincial riding of Surrey–White Rock as a B.C. Liberal MLA for 20 years. During that time he served as minister of children and family development, minister of state for mining, and minister of state for ActNow B.C., a health-promotion initiative.
Hogg also served as the mayor of White Rock for ten years and is the adjunct professor in the school of criminology at Simon Fraser University.
Conservatives retain Sask. seat
Earlier in the evening Rosemarie Falk, who most recently worked as a legislative assistant for Conservative MP Arnold Viersen, took 69.6 per cent of the vote in Battlefords—Lloydminster, improving on her party's performance in 2015 when the Conservatives won there with 61 per cent of the vote.
The only Conservative win of the night saw the Liberals slide from 16.5 per cent in 2015 to 10.4 per cent of the vote this time, while the NDP also dropped from 17.6 per cent in 2015 to 13.2 per cent Monday evening.
On Falk's website she said she is "against the carbon tax" and will "continue to oppose it." She also said that she supports "the creation of pipelines while stewarding the environment in an appropriate and safe manner."
Meanwhile, Liberal candidate Jean Yip won in the Toronto riding of Scarborough–Agincourt managing to keep the Ontario seat in the family after taking 49.4 per cent of the vote compared to Conservative candidate Dasong Zou who came away with 40.5 per cent support.
Yip ran in the riding after her husband, Arnold Chan, died in September at age 50. He had been diagnosed with nasopharyngeal cancer in January 2015, six months after he was first elected in a byelection in the same riding, in which he took 52 per cent of the vote.
Yip's campaign website describes her as a graduate of the University of Toronto, a former insurance underwriter, a volunteer with youth and a supporter of seniors' issues.
Her website said she plans to continue championing the construction of the Bridletowne Community Hub, a project her husband supported. Yip said she will also advocate on mental health issues, as well as transit and housing.
Yip acknowledged her victory was "somewhat bittersweet."
"Every step of the campaign, I thought of [Chan] and I knew he would've enjoyed it and sometimes I would turn around and I would want to ask him something and he's not there," she said in an interview.
"I think he would be so happy though," she added.
Earlier in the evening, Liberal candidate Churence Rogers won the federal byelection in the Newfoundland and Labrador riding of Bonavista–Burin–Trinity.
Rogers took 69 per cent of the vote. He will take over Judy Foote's vacant seat. Foote, the former minister for public works and procurement, resigned from her cabinet post in August for family reasons.
Rogers has served as mayor of the amalgamated town of Centreville–Wareham–Trinity since 2009. From 1997 to 2003 he was mayor of Harbour Breton. He was also the head of the provincial federation of municipalities from 2011 to 2015.
In 2015 Foote took the riding with 82 per cent of the vote while the Conservatives were only able to secure 10 per cent. Monday's voting shows a significant increase in support for the Conservatives, with candidate Mike Windsor more than doubling it to 23 per cent.
The NDP's share slid from 7.3 per cent in 2015 to 4.7 per cent.
As the New Democrats did not put up strong results in 2015 in any of the four ridings, they were not expected to cause an upset Monday night.
With files from The Canadian Press