Monday, November 25, 2013

No gains, no losses - federal by-election results prove nothing for nobody, spin notwithstanding

Four federal seats went through by-elections and remained in the same parties' hands as before - so no matter how much spin anyone puts on it - hello Liberal Party activists - the results don't prove anything conclusive.

Yes, Liberals should be pleased that they made it a close race in Brandon-Souris for the first time since they actually won the riding in 1993 under Jean Chretien.  In a general election.  

But they didn't win a by-election despite the fact that voters can voice their displeasure safely with the government, where turnout is lower than regular elections and where resources can be poured in by the party in a one-time-only effort.

The New Democrats, who I support, have no reason to celebrate but also no reason to cry in their beer.  Two safe Liberal seats stayed safe.  Two safe Conservative seats stayed Tory, albeit one far less safe, albeit in a by-election.  Panic not required.

I'm sorry to see my former National Post columnist colleague Linda McQuaig not win Toronto Centre - but perhaps the future riding boundary realignment will mean better luck in 2015.  I hope so - she would be a brilliant addition to Parliament.

The Conservatives can't be unhappy either tonight.  Yes, some of them needed a defibrillator in Manitoba for awhile but by-elections are made for opposition parties to prosper, not for unpopular governments in the midst of politically life-threatening scandals to enjoy.

Yet the Conservatives survived unscathed.  Except perhaps on Twitter, the Tory-unfriendly social media mystery.

The Liberals should be modestly relieved.  Justin Trudeau neither walks on water nor swims with the fishes tonight.  

And now the main event resumes in the House of Commons and beyond.  Four by-elections, no change, game on.



scotty on denman said...

I'm diggin' your analogy of wetness, as in crying in beer, walking on water and swimming with the fishes.

It's a bit over half way to the next planned election and Harper's majority was not directly threatened by these by-elections. Nevertheless, the fact that the Conservatives had to sweat a hitherto safe riding has to be telling of a more general nervousness within the party. They won't be as well armed as they were last election when their greatest weapon was the Opposition leader himself. Their secret weapon was, of course, cheating the electoral system and you can bet opportunities for pulling that off again will be far fewer next time. Conservatives pray that come election time they aren't as embroiled in scandal as they are now---those patented attack ads would tend to make them look more guilty. They're probably as ready to campaign in a general election as they'll ever be.

Mulcair has deftly exploited the gift of DWB but he needs to keep some of that powder dry for the Big Day. He's ready, maybe too ready. Hopefully the Conservatives will present another fang to drill into---the nerve's just about dead in the Senate one.

Trudeau isn't quite ready yet, so by-elections are perfect for him to gain experience before rising out of the Jordan, like a Liberal adonis, in time for the next election. He wants to look fresh, but not too fresh, so he needs to let the back of his ears dry out a bit before stepping ashore.

Anonymous said...

Quite the spin. There is a loss, the NDP hasn't kept up with the Jack Layton Orange Crush wave.

The NDP are back in their traditional third party spot.

So they have lost in a way.

Anonymous said...

When a spinner accuses others of spinning you can be sure they are furiously spinning themselves.

e.a.f. said...

What truly amazes me, on some level, is that with all that is going on with the cons, that people actually voted for them. On another level, yah, B.C. voted for the leiberals again and we are back to number one in child poverty.