11.30.2010 10:19 AM

By-elections, the morning after

Some Reformatory commenters are driving me bonkers in Comments – saying Vaughan is a “huge” win for the blue team, blah blah blah.  They’re also suggesting that I – me! me! – am spinning for OLO. They’re full of crap on both counts.

Here’s my (hopefully) pithy response:

“I’m no fan of the OLO crowd, as everyone here knows well. That’s why you can be assured I am not “spinning” for them.

The net winner this morning is Ignatieff. He was supposed to have been crushed in Vaughan, and wasn’t; he wasn’t supposed to win in North Winnipeg, and did; and no one expected him to win in Dauphin, and he didn’t.”


  1. S. Peterson says:

    To a party that won an election in Canada with about 19% at the polls (66% or so of eligible voters voted and the cons got 33% of that, multiply it out) I suppose everything must look like a victory. Why do we put up with all the stuff they dish out? Proportional representation please.

  2. Art Williams says:

    Vaughan was a win for the CPC but not a big one. In a by-election, whatever the party, a big personality can make a difference and, in this case, did. It will be much tougher in a general election when Harper will raise or lower the fortunes of every candidate. I was surprised by the Winnipeg win too. I wouldn’t call it a big win for Iggy but, overall, the Libs can hold their heads up high.

    These were “no news” by-elections. A day or so from now, no one will remember them. Their collective impact on the political psyche will be zero.

  3. Steve T says:

    Agreed – the net result of these elections is a whole lotta nothin’. A Tory wins in a safe seat (Dauphin), the Libs take an NDP stronghold (Wpg North), and the Tories run a very well-known and strong candidate and win (Vaughn). Overall, Harper and Iggy both are basically where they began. No worse and no better. And certainly nothing to prod either of them into an election anytime soon.

  4. bc says:

    “The net winner this morning is Ignatieff. He was supposed to have been crushed in Vaughan, and wasn’t; he wasn’t supposed to win in North Winnipeg, and did; and no one expected him to win in Dauphin, and he didn’t.”

    Could also read…

    “Ignatieff results are neutral. He was supposed to lose Vaughan, and did; he wasn’t supposed to win in North Winnipeg, and did; and no one expected him to win in Dauphin, and he didn’t.”

    “The net winner this morning is Harper. He took a traditional Liberal seat in Vaughan; he wasn’t supposed to win in North Winnipeg, and didn’t; and as expected won in a landslide in Dauphin.”

    Or for the sake of simplicity…

    “2 > 1”.

    • terence says:

      Wrong………Harper was supposed to be the Liberal spoiler in WPG north and failed miserably with his ugly campaign there. Fantino was supposed to crush his opponent and only created a very credible one, because Genco will run again, for the next general election when Fantino will have to run on Harper’s vapor trails and the good people of Vaughn will revert to their Liberal ways. Remember also that Fantino is almost 70 years old.

  5. Bill says:

    Reformacons win by 2% with a superstar name and herald it as huge.

    Let’s wait for the general election where national issues matter more.

    A 30% turnout in a Liberal area won’t help you then Fantino.

  6. Pedro says:

    You are correct IMO, this was a good result for Ignatieff. Funny how most of the media which used to be big L friendly is not jumping on this analysis.
    Could it be that the big L has a bigger problem in that they are losing the MSM? I mean, even the Star can’t seem to find room for positive big L stories. It just keeps the far right in the news by constantly filling its paper and web page with extreme right bogeyman stories.
    Jus’ wunderin’…

  7. Lance says:

    How is Ignatieff a “net winner?” Last time I checked that would mean going more that 1/3, regardless of how you break it down. To browbeat baseball analogies, a loss is still a loss, regardless how close it is; especially when it is in front of the home crowd against a team you should be beating. Sure, it is nice to hit a home-run when you get your turn at bat, but you’re barely hitting the ball these days (1/7 in all the most recent bye-elections by my count, a .142 batting average). And just because you’re keeping the opposing team from hitting anything other than singles and you’re not stopping them from getting on base doesn’t mean that your team is winning. I’m betting that the Tories will keep taking those singles. Time to change the coach.

    • Lance says:

      Further to that, you’re making it more complicated than it has to be – the Conservative seat remained Conservative, the Liberal seat went Conservative while the NDP seat went Liberal. Full stop.

      Math is definetly not my strong suit, but 2/3 sure looks like a win for the Conservatives to me. And you know what? To the people who aren’t that terribly engaged by politics in the first place, that is all they’ll see. But the voters in Toronto? What do you think THEY are seeing when they look at Vaughan, at Fantino, at McGuinty’s poll numbers?

      Dead meat.

  8. Cory MacDonald says:

    The problem with that analysis is that the liberals were put in a position where they could lose that riding at all.

    Economy bad
    Controversial Prime Minister
    Controversial Candidate
    Safe liberal seat for over twenty years with a candidate still popular enough in the community to become its mayor.
    Attractive liberal candidate
    by-elections more often than not allow for a protest vote against the party in power.

    If you can’t win Vaughan in a landslide under those conditions you are not the political masterminds you once upon a time were. It’s as simple as that.

    (or you could look at it another way and say that, Stephen Harper’s raw tactical skill at politics is simply incredible.)

  9. mississaugapeter says:

    The “net” winner was Harper. He is 1 MP closer to a majority. He was a very close second overall.

    I agree with you, the overall winner last night was Ignatieff. The final tally was no where as bad as what it appeared it would be two weeks ago. Ignatieff backers (where is our friend Ted) don’t have to go into overdrive defending the by-elections results (in spite of losing a Liberal GTA riding). The knives which were sharpened recently are back in their sheaths for a few hours.

    • Ted says:

      Don’t know why you would single me out. I’m somewhere between Warren and Iggymania.

      But it was equal parts exciting for the Liberals with the surprise win in Winnipeg with nothing for the NDP (a huge 37% increase + a nice narrative of being able to say they are the only real alternative to Harper) and sigh of relief for the Liberals (a win + a surprisingly strong finish in Vaughan against a superstar candidate, although if a sigh of relief that the knives are being re-sheathed is the best they get, that tells you how bad it is).

      The real win for Ignatieff though, if it was planned, was in the pre-election spin: lowballing expectations in all the by-elections shows maybe they have their communications strategy in some kind of adult politics world now.

      But it’s all spin on these. As I noted below, the only clear real winner in these by-elections is “name recognition”. Lamoureuz is a popular former Winnipeg MLA and Fantino is a superstar who is adored by the large Italian community in Vaughan. If anything, that shows some little bit of good smarts by Iggy and Harper in their choices.

      As Ignatieff did rightly conclude at the end of it all: the results show that the Liberals have to roll up their sleeves and get to work because they have much of it to do.

      • Namesake says:

        re: your being “somewhere between Warren and Iggymania”:

        yes, as are many of the (non-Con) frequenters of this blog…

        to wit, ‘Whiggy’

        • Ted H. says:

          Spoken with true wit, something sadly missing in our monosyllabic parliament but once gloriously present in political discourse. For example:
          A member of Parliament to Disraeli: “Sir, you will either die on the
          gallows or of some unspeakable disease.”
          “That depends, Sir,” said Disraeli, “whether I embrace your policies
          or your mistress.”

  10. Ted says:

    I like Aaron Wherry’s comment (at 11:00pm): the winner of the night is “name recognition.”

    • Ted says:

      And at 12:13 am: “the big loser tonight would seem to be speculative media narratives”.

      Althought that’s a little like saying someone will win the by-election and more than one candidate will lose.

  11. Sean says:

    the MSM are going to find some guy who scrubbed toilets in Lamoureux’s campaign office… They will instantly decide that he is Western Canada’s Modern Machiavelli. He will be hailed as a strategic genius, offered a book deal, a weekly column, regular spots on the Power Panel, Question Period etc…. He is at Hy’s Steakhouse right now, drinking scotch, smoking cubans and shooting his mouth off about the leadership.

  12. CanadianSense says:

    I don’t see any public polling data that had the CPC in huge lead. I was told by you it exists. I was also told by you the race become closer by you. I only ask for proof of a lead and swings.

    • Warren says:

      Listen, pal, I have had it with your bullshit. You come on here, and butter wouldn’t melt in your mouth, but then shit-talk everywhere else. You insist on answers to questions, like I’m a friggin’ library.

      Well, unlike you, I have a job. If you want research, do it yourself.

      And if you continue to play games, I will find out who you are and let the world know.

      Got it?

      • Why would the world care??

      • SteveV says:

        Blogger has this new feature, and I’ve put this guy under “spam”. That CS uses a chess set as a picture is hilarious, because I would spot CS white, give him two pawns and my rook, and if he made it to move 25, I’d never blog again. Lightweight. It has it’s own blog, but nobody reads it, hence the 24/7 appearance on every other blog in Canada.

      • Lance says:

        You’re right, he should be doing his own homework. Nevertheless, the question is (which you are obviously under no obligation to answer) is he right?

        • Lance says:

          *SIGH* What is wrong with me. Never mind, forget that I asked. I really don’t feel like getting caught up in a potential blogger’s war. I like coming here for the insightful read on all counts. I raelly don’t want that to change.

        • Namesake says:

          The thing is, the Blogging Borie troll is trying to catch WK in a lie he never told, and the evidence for that is implicit right there on the front page of the blog:

          * in the P&P segment, he referred to it as being in-house polling, _not_ a public poll; and,

          * in the Twitter feet on the left, he notes where & how he learned that: “Was told that Fantino had an expected 20K vote lead two weeks ago – by journos!”

          So, now that he’s a journo again, he didn’t want to violate his sources, who wouldn’t want to violate theirs, which seems fair enough (tho’ this may not be the best time to be discussing such leaks).

  13. Ted says:

    How can you conclude that in one riding, the one the Conservatives won with a superstar candidate, it was really all about the Liberals and not the candidates, but in another riding, the one the Liberals won with a quality recognized candidate (but not a superstar), it was really all about the candidate and not the Liberals????

    Seems obvious to me that it was mostly about name recognition.

    I don’t know the history of Winnipeg North so much, but federally and provincially Vaughan has been a bit of a bellweather riding, going Liberals when the rest of the province was moving Liberal (like in 1988 when Bevilaqua first won and Liberals were starting to win throughout Ontario, and in 1997 when Sorbara won as McGuinty did province-wide) and moving Conservative when the rest of the province was moving Conservative (like Palladini for Harris).

    More than that, in each case, it was an Italian with big name recognition. Genco didn’t have that and still almost stole it from Fantino, who had it in spades.

  14. Cath says:

    At a time when just a few weeks ago we seemed unanimous that in all political jousting campaigns matter. I’m not phased by the outcomes of the by-elections because in my opinion both campaigns stunk. That either the CPCs and Liberals did as well as they did (considering the shitty voter turnout) in Vaughan. Remember too that the folks spinning a CPC rout were the usual suspects, media and even MPs within Iggy’s caucus.

    As someone wrote above it’s not a game changer for Liberals at all, the CPCs might have a slight spring in their step this morning but the real loser was Jack Layton and the NDP.

    What on earth is the Pirate Party? Saw that listed in one of the Winnipeg ridings and was expecting Capt. Jack Sparrow to be the candidate.

  15. Andrew says:

    After the spin doctors spin and political pundits do their thing, the real winners are Canadians. Who will not have to hear the calls for a spring election, etc.

  16. bell says:

    If you are a conservative who likes the fact that Iggy is leading the libs, this is not necessarily a bad result. You get the seat you wanted and the man you wanted on your team but with a result that allows Iggy to declare some success and keep his job. For those who believe the liberals will never recover without a proper bottom up rebuild including electing their leader this only puts things off once again.

  17. Cath says:

    make that “That either the CPCs and Liberals did as well as they did (considering the shitty voter turnout) in Vaughan can’t be based on stellar campaigns.”

    Not enough coffee early this morning – I hate it when the fingers don’t keep up with the brain.

  18. MJH says:

    The Liberal spinners are out in force today trying to make a loss into a win. Really pathetic. You LOST. Get over it; you look like children.

  19. Bruce says:

    Iggy performed well, putting a brave face on it and underselling their chances in Vaughan against a “superstar.” But a deeper analysis has to beg, why were the Tories able to run a quality candidate in a Liberal stronghold ina byelection that normally is a chancce to vote against a government without consequences. The largely Italian community looked at two of their own and chose the Tory. Something is wrong here and it needs to be fixed.

    And the Justin Trudeau internet infomercial was justplain creepy. Who authorized that?

  20. billg says:

    On to another subject…I’m no Liberal fan but you gotta love Iggy coming out and saying that last night proves there’s only two main partys, and, to get rid of Harper you HAVE to vote Liberal. I cringe at the thought of Ignatief as our next PM but, when he actually stands up and says thngs like that he doesnt seem that bad.

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