Liberals turn momentum into wins in Toronto, strong showing in Alberta

Adam Vaughan and Arnold Chan win their ridings

Monday's four federal byelections made one thing clear: Justin Trudeau's Liberals have momentum on their side.
The Liberals stole one riding - the coveted Trinity-Spadina in downtown Toronto - from the NDP, easily held another Toronto riding and gave the Conservatives a run for their money in the Tory bastion of Fort McMurray Athabasca, in Alberta's oilsands heartland.
The Conservatives handily retained another Alberta riding, Macleod.
The results reflect just how far the Liberals, reduced to a third-party rump in 2011, have bounced back in the year since Trudeau took the helm.
The Liberals' share of the vote was up in all four ridings over 2011, dramatically so in three of them.
Conservatives and New Democrats lost vote share in all four.
The biggest coup for Trudeau was snatching Trinity-Spadina from the NDP, a seat held since 2006 by Olivia Chow, widow of beloved former NDP leader Jack Layton.
Star Liberal candidate Adam Vaughan, a popular former city councillor, bested the NDP's Joe Cressy by some 20 percentage points.
The win is a big boost for the Liberals in their battle with New Democrats over which opposition party is best positioned to replace Prime Minister Stephen Harper's Conservatives in next year's general election.
It could also be a portent of things to come in 2015. Trinity-Spadina has always been something of a bellwether: when the Liberals have won the riding in the past, they've won power nationally; when the NDP has won the riding, the Conservatives have taken power.
The Liberals hung on Monday to another Toronto riding, Scarborough-Agincourt, where the Conservatives tried to appeal to the conservative values of the ethnically diverse suburban population with attacks on Trudeau's support for legalization of marijuana.
The riding had long been the personal fiefdom of Jim Karygiannis, a bare-knuckle political brawler who held the seat for the Liberals for 25 years before quitting to run municipally. His departure gave Conservatives hope they could score an upset.
But in the end, Liberal Arnold Chan, a lawyer and former political aide, actually increased his party's share of the vote to almost 60 per cent _up about 15 points from 2011 and some 30 points ahead of Conservative Trevor Ellis.
Voters in the two Toronto ridings ``have sent a clear message that the Liberal party is the only progressive alternative to Stephen Harper,'' Trudeau said in a written statement.
For his part, Chan called his victory a repudiation of Conservative party's ``negative attacks'' on Trudeau and its cynical attempt to suppress votes by scheduling the byelections for the day before Canada Day, when many voters were taking an extended weekend.
Yet turnout was actually highest in Scarborough-Agincourt, just short of 30 per cent. Only 23 per cent of eligible voters cast ballots in Trinity-Spadina, less than 19 per cent in Macleod and only 14 per cent in Fort McMurray.
In Fort McMurray, the Liberals surged from a meagre 10 per cent of the vote in 2011 to more than 30 per cent - enough to put a scare into the Conservatives, if not defeat them.
David Yurdiga, former reeve and Athabasca county councillor, captured about 47 per cent of the vote to hold the seat for the governing party, besting Liberal Kyle Harrietha by roughly 12 percentage points. But the Tory share of the vote was still down significantly from the 72 per cent it won in 2011.
The surge in Liberal support in Fort McMurray suggests Trudeau is managing to turn around perceptions of his party in Alberta - a political wasteland for the Grits since Trudeau's late father, Pierre, imposed the reviled national energy program more than three decades ago.
In the southern part of the province, former newspaper editor John Barlow held Macleod for the Conservatives. He captured about 68 per cent of the vote - more than 50 points ahead of his nearest competitor, Liberal Dustin Fuller.
Still, even in Macleod, the Tory vote share was down about 10 points from 2011 while the Liberals' share almost quadrupled.
Trudeau said his party's improved standing in the two Alberta ridings ``make clear that Albertans in particular will not be taken for granted.''
Barlow wasted little time before declaring victory Monday.<
``This is the culmination of eight months of hard work and it definitely feels worthwhile today. I thought this day would never come,'' Barlow said in a victory speech that came just 30 minutes after the polls closed.
More than 100 supporters cheered loudly when he entered the Italian restaurant in High River accompanied by his wife Louise and children.
``What this really came down to was passion and how hard we worked. The message we had is Macleod is not going to be forgotten. We cannot take Macleod for granted.''
Barlow said he intends to locate his constituency office in High River, which has been decimated since massive floods last year turned the town's streets into rivers of water.
``If there's one issue that really bound Macleod together over the past year was that flood,'' he said.
``We have a lot of work to do and I will be here from this day forward to make sure that work gets done.''

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  1. Mike posted on 06/30/2014 11:34 PM
    the PC's took rural Alberta. well done!
    I guess the grizzly bears came out in force to vote to put the PC's over the top
  2. CatWhispurrer posted on 07/01/2014 06:39 AM
    The real blessing in Vaughan winning the Federal seat for the Liberals is that Toronto City Council is finally rid of this mouthpiece for the leftard elite and a major thorn in Mayor Ford`s side will be removed.
    1. Mark posted on 07/01/2014 08:08 AM
      @CatWhispurrer Two problems with your statement. Leftist's no doubt love the vaughan mouthpiece and two, forget about Ford. He is finished, and if not he should be. As much as I supported Ford and his message it is obvious he is the wrong messenger. Besides no one will even work for the guy.

      The last provincial election proves that a good portion of the electorate are simple minded idiots. This should be a concern for all of us, especially if the man-child idiot Justin every becomes PM.
    2. mike posted on 07/01/2014 10:03 AM
      @CatWhispurrer I know wasn't it great? I used to love when Adam would slam the stones the Ford phuck up brothers. The best was when Adam said would you let the fat stoner creep babysit your kids? haha
      Adam is moving on to help in getting Harpers azz out.
      Rob Ford? the dude is finished. f-i-n-i-s-h-e-d. finished in politics
      thanks for ruining the city you fat phuck!
    3. The Real Information posted on 07/01/2014 02:09 PM
      @CatWhispurrer "... a major thorn in Mayor Ford`s side will be removed."

      Not that it matters.
      Ford won't be there after the election (or perhaps even before it).
  3. Sammy from Scarborough posted on 07/01/2014 07:47 PM
    Quickly Stephen !!
    Get your American directorships lined up so you can follow in the footsteps of that other notorious Con PM, Lyin' Brain after the next federal election.

    You're done like a dinner, Harpster !!
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