11.18.2014 08:32 AM

Key factoids about Whitby-Oshawa, plus a handy chart

Conservative folks are sounding pretty cocky, this morning, but they shouldn’t be.  They are, after all, the folks who:

  • Saw a two-term Whitby mayor in a tough fight with a total newcomer to politics
  • Were in a pitched battle in a Con stronghold (in which they took 60 per cent of the vote last time, to the Liberals’ 14 per cent)
  • Sent virtually every member of cabinet through to promise everything but the kitchen sink
  • Were whining about “dirty tricks” on the eve of the vote
  • Sent in their national campaign boss, Ms. Byrne, because they were in deep shit and they knew it

Still don’t believe it, Team Blue? Then take a gander at this Pundits Guide chart. My super-duper expert analysis tells me that only one coloured line (the red one) went up last night, and every other coloured line (the blue, orange and green ones) went down.

Spin it any way you want, kids.  The factoids and chart don’t lie, this cold November morn.



  1. MississaugaPeter says:


    In spite of the Senate scandal. In spite of Trudeaumania (which may have peaked a year too early). In spite of Trudeau being on the right side of the marijuana debate. In spite of Del Mastro. In spite of leading the polls for the last year plus. In spite of income sharing that supposedly only benefits the top 15%.

    In spite of all these facts, the Liberals could not win a seat in a by-election that they held for almost a decade before Flaherty.

    This Liberal thinks that the Conservatives should be very happy with the result last night. Trend line only matters when the red line is above the blue line. It didn’t happen last night. And there is no guarantee it will in the future if the recent downturn in Liberal polling is considered.

    • MississaugaPeter says:

      Sorry, this reply is similar to the reply in the post below. I thought the one below was not accepted since I was getting CAPTCHA error messages.

    • Liam Young says:

      MississaugaPeter: I couldn’t agree more. Despite ALL of the negatives (dare I say ‘cons’?) against the Cons, they somehow manage to squeak a win.
      We have a year folks, and then we’ll have 4 more years of Con madness running (ruining?) Canada.
      It’s time to get our collective act together and act on a way to defeat the Cons TODAY.

      • Just Askin' says:

        I think this attitude is insane. The Progressive Conservatives annihilated themselves in the early ’90s by straying from what voters wanted. The Liberals did the same in the early ’00s. All should be relieved to see the Canadian political spectrum righting itself, with two credible national parties and a fringe leftist party, rather than the mess that would have occurred if the Liberals failed at reinvigorating themselves, or the bad joke that is the American political spectrum.

        The conservative brain and the “progressive” brain think differently, and it’s all about striking the right balance at all levels of government.

        That said, I don’t like Trudeau and I suspect that the more voters see him, the less they will like him as well.

    • Kev says:

      Two decades ago, when there were two warring conservative parties.

      Fun trick: take 10% off the vote share of every CPC MP in Ontario, and at 28% to the Liberal column. How many CPC MPs are still left in Ontario?

      A: Not many, and even fewer in the GTA.

    • terence quinn says:

      In spite of the fact cons ran a star candidate against rookie in politics and started out almost 50 points ahead from the last election the libs have warmed up the sat for the taking next October.
      In spite of Harper spending millions on recent photo ops, announcing income splitting weeks before the election the Libs nearly pulled it off.
      I was with the former Liberal MP from that riding and she said the results were beyond her wildest predictions and feels strongly the seat will be red. The party had no ground game in the riding but now has a team that will be even more experienced in October.

  2. Al in Cranbrook says:

    CPC – 49.2%
    Lib – 40.7%

    Perkins won by almost exactly 3000 votes.

    A plurality, in a three way race, coming within a hair of 50% is, by any other standard, impressive.

    That said, if “change” was on the vast majority of voters’ minds and any kind of a motivator, they had every opportunity yesterday to make themselves known.

    It didn’t happen.

    The fact that Trudeau moved heaven and earth to make it happen, in the end to no real avail, is telling in and of itself.

  3. Pedro says:

    Fer cripes sake! For the life of me, I can’t find anyone in my circle of friends and their children who cares about “the marijuana debate”. I have 3 children, 2 of whom are on their way with their lives. They don’t smoke it, their friends who do are living in their parents basements (their statements to me) and they couldn’t care less. The working kids of our friends don’t care either.
    I’m sure Justin is on the ‘right side’ of many debates. There are a million debates to be had.
    To paraphrase a movie president, we have serious issues to deal with. Justin needs to get on them. Dropping to the Conservatives’ level by mocking them with sly, Jon Stewart type jokes will not convince serious voters!

    • doconnor says:

      Marijuana prohibition is a major source of crime and Canada and its a big factor in the massive violence in Mexico and Central America. I can’t think of a larger change that any major party is proposing.

      • Mary says:

        …because when marijuana is legalized (hey, isn’t it practically legal in the US NOW!??) the violent gangsters in these countries will put down their guns and knives and go register their new marijuana exporting corporation with the local tax office, to pay the confiscatory tax rates of the (corrupt) Mexican government, and happily compete cooperatively in the market with other exporters.

        ridiculous. there are many reasons to legalize marijuana. expectations that it will stop violence in Mexico and Central America is not among them.

    • Christian says:

      Completely agree with you Pedro. Asides from the pot issue, which I also DO NOT CARE about – but will admit he’s on the right side of the debate and the mission against ISIS in Iraq, which I do care about and think he’s totally on the wrong side of the debate, is there anything else policy wise that firstly differientiates Justin from Harper? Asides Justin being nicer and having better teeth and hair along with the aforementioned positions above, there doesn’t seem to be a lot of policy daylight between the two. Secondly, what has he done policy wise that reassures us that he has thought about the serious issues we face and that he isn’t all sizzle and no steak? So far all I’ve seen is someone who’s more concerned about scoring fluff pieces in Chatalaine and flattering profiles in Vanity Fair than someone who is aspiring to the highest elected office in the country. I’m not impressed. Not at all. And I’m not alone. Justin better start picking up his policy game and get serious. He better start doing this very soon.

  4. Bill MacLeod says:

    Ummmmm, yes, I have to agree with Al and Peter.

    Close counts in horseshoes and curling, not in politics. The Liberals did come close in a riding just west of me, Brandon, a year or so back. (Who ran for them? I forget.)

    I know it’s the standard spin — look at how well we did and all that — but you have to admit that it gets tiring hearing the same thing after all these byelections.

    The Tories had to call on Harper to campaign? Wasn’t that Trudeau I kept seeing as well?

    At the end of the day, a 9-percent loss isn’t at all close.

    And — I think that pretty little chart would have looked a whole lot better for the Grits had you lopped off everything left of 2008.


  5. Tiger says:

    A win’s a win. And a win with the CPC outpacing the combined LPC/NDP vote is even better.

  6. Bobby says:

    March federal election?

    • Kev says:

      No election until the cheques, probably with Harper’s face on them, start flowing in August.

      Prime Minister Kenney may even move it to 2016.

  7. Wayne says:

    Warren, your graph looks nice and all, but could you add voter turn out to make the picture clearer? i.e. If 50% of the eligible votes in the riding turn out in 2011 and only 25% last night and for each of the votes going back to 2000. I ask because the only thing I’ve found that show voters what change is voter turnout. High turnout want change, low turnout happy/don’t care.

  8. Peter says:

    Spin it any way you want, kids

    OK, thanks. I’m spinning this as a surprising by-election victory for the untested candidate of an unpopular government in a traditional swing seat held until recently by one of Canada’s most powerful and respected politicians. And a total wipeout of the Dippers and Greens. I’m guessing this isn’t what they had in mind when they called on everybody to “unite the left”.

  9. Joey Rapaport says:

    I find it hard for any party to take much out of by-elections where the turnout is so low. That being said, it is pretty amazing the advantage that incumbency provides.

  10. F. Honeytan says:

    Yes, wonderful results for Gritites. This is why JT must push hard from now till zero hour sometime 2015 in all 338 ridings, repeat, all 338 ridings. As some progressive coalition/merger is not in the cards, Team Trudeau will have to equally direct the withering beam on both the CPC and the NDP.

    The “smear” aspect? It does suggest that every candidate team better self-opposition research to ensure they are squeaky clean. Certain elements will be combing the databases, joining the datapoints to find counter-smears, e.g. this spectacular little operation which blasted local, provincial, federal, Vision, Green, NDP, and Libs:

    “Senator Campbell has read the reports. He told CBC that he’s ‘losing sleep over it.’”


    Like turning over a rotten log, 2015 promises to expose all the creepy crawlies. Interesting times. Let the mudwrestling (and of course gaslighting) begin!

  11. Rob Carter says:

    Normally I agree with most of your analysis Warren. This time I don’t. What was surprising to me when the results were tabulated was that the race wasn’t closer than 8.5%. The polling showed it would be (<- First mistake right?). Other evidence like the Brandon-Souris by-election and arguably the Fort McMurray-Athabasca by-election showed vote totals that an upset was in the making here. And perhaps most of all people are tiring of the Harper / Conservative government.

    I was expecting to be glued to twitter with how close the race was or the back and fort that we saw in Brandon-Souris. I wasn't. There was no such excitement in this race. The Perkins lead was steady and consistent. The only excitement in the results was in the first 30 minutes of tabulation.

    For me the take-away from all the by-elections isn't really a Con – Liberal story, but a Liberal – NDP story. The NDP performance has been miserable bordering on noncompetitive.

    However, the Peterborough by-election should be a different story. Different dynamics and the story for sending a message will be stronger, and no legacy (Flaherty) hangover in the riding. The only question is if there will be a by-election.

    • MississaugaPeter says:

      Rob, without exit polling, it is extremely difficult to determine if the 2011 NDP vote 1) stayed at home; 2) voted for the Liberals just because it was a by-election and the Liberal candidate was more likely to beat the Conservative candidate; or 3) have now become Liberals and will be so again in 2015. My personal, unprofessional opinion is that Layton made traditional Liberals into NDP supporters because Iggy was not liked (he couldn’t even win in his own parachuted seat). At a pathetic under 19% nationwide in 2011, there really should be only one direction the Liberals go in every by-election.

      Only winning 5 of 11 by-elections since the Liberal leadership convention, I am beginning to wonder how much better off would we be with Garneau as leader.

      • Kev says:

        Where have those by-elections been held? Who were the incumbent parties? Of the three main parties, which picked up seats in by-elections, and which have not done so?

    • jeff316 says:

      Agreed. This type of post reads NDP – look how good we did when losing!

      That’s not a good thing.

  12. Craig says:

    The two most important lines on the graph for this particular by-election are the blue and red ones. No contest. The Conservatives won this one.

    However the two most important lines on the graph in terms of the next general election are the red and orange ones. They tell a different story altogether…

  13. Ronald O'Dowd says:


    How about a little inside baseball: what is really telling is what did not happen. It wasn’t Fred De Lorey, Director of Political Operations, CPC, in the trenches yesterday. Neither was it Dustin Van Vugt, Deputy Executive Director, CPC, who is awaiting the blessing of National Council on his upcoming promotion.

    Harper instead turned to Jenni Byrne — Co-Deputy Chief of Staff in the PMO. That means they were seriously worried and will not take Justin lightly.

  14. davie says:

    If Libs and NDP are not going to get together before the election next year, maybe these by elections suggest that the voters are going to do it themselves. Right now, they seem to be choosing Libs a vehicle for getting a better group in power in Ottawa.

  15. Bill MacLeod says:

    Yes, I know, I come here mainly because I enjoy a finely-spun yarn, but one should never let the spin get in the way of the facts.

    Calling Pat Perkins a two-term mayor is accurate, but she’s not really the star candidate some of you make her out to be.

    Landslide Pat won in 2006 by a 50.5-49.5 margin. In 2010 she won with just 47.5 per cent in a three-person race.

    So, it seems she did better as a CPC candidate than she did in her campaigns for mayor.

  16. Al in Cranbrook says:

    Nobody was going to step in and pull the same margin of vote as did Jim Fleherty. He was the most senior and powerful cabinet minister in Ottawa, and one of the most popular and respected politicians in the entire country.

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