Dog Days of August

Georges Laraque claims to be an animal lover. But see if he gets PETA's endorsement once they find out he used to beat up sharks, ducks, and penguins.

Georges Laraque claims to be an animal lover. But see if he gets PETA’s endorsement once they find out he used to beat up sharks, ducks, and penguins.

It’s the third summer of the Stephen Harper majority government. Leadership races have been run, the Cabinet has been shuffled, but we won’t be going to the polls for another two years. Yes, these are the dog days of majority government rule, when our lone bits of excitement comes from Senate Committee meetings. What I wouldn’t give for a good Census controversy, a new attack add, or a Rob Anders slip-up. Hell, even a wafer scandal would feed the soul of policos hungry for news.

Luckily for those in need of a political fix, there are now four by-elections on tap for this fall. Here’s an update on how those races are shaping up.

Toronto Centre
Outlook: Likely Liberal, but possible NDP pickup

The media love stories about by-elections and the media love stories about the media. So what’s better than a by-election featuring 3 former journalists? That’s easy – a by-election featuring three former journalists smack dab in the centre of the Centre of the Universe.

Although the riding is seen as a Liberal stronghold, Bob Rae only took it by 11 points in 2011 and it sits squarely between a pair of NDP seats. As such, the NDP nomination (now set for September 15th) figures to be a hotly contested battle between journalists Linda McQuaig and Jennifer Hollett. Hollett is a former MuchMusic VJ and helped design an App, so she’s seen to have youth appeal (do kids these days still watch MuchMusic?). If Hollett wants to put her tech skills to the test for the nomination battle, I suggest she design a “random Linda McQuaig book title generator” app – possible outputs would include “50 Shades of Greed in the USA“, “How the Rich are Destroying Canada“, and “How the Rich (and big oil) are Destroying Canada“. She’s well at home in the NDP.

The Liberals, meanwhile, emboldened by the success of the Michael Ignatieff experiment, have coaxed Chrystia Freeland back to Canada to run. This prompted John Ivison to write scathingly that Trudeau’s leadership promise of “open nominations have fallen at the first hurdle“, which would be a damning indictment of Trudeau, if it were true. In reality, there are now three Liberal candidates running in an open nomination. Other candidates include Todd Ross and Diana Burke, neither of whom are journalists so we likely won’t be hearing much about them.

Outlook: Likely Liberal, but possible NDP/Green pickup

This riding held off the orange wave last election, but that was on the strength of Denis Coderre’s name and organization. With Coderre gone, it’s anybody’s guess what will happen here, though the Liberals pulled off quite a coup in recruiting provincial MNA Emmanuel Dubourg.

Stepping into the ring for the Greens is Big Georges Laraque. Laraque is sure to get a lot of press, but this campaign is likely to end about as well as Laraque’s final season in Montreal.

The more likely upset candidate here remains the NDP. The party who couldn’t find live bodies to fill out its slate in Quebec in 2011 now has five people running for the nomination, including former Statistics Canada employee Larry Rousseau, who is 32.6% confident he can capture the nomination. If he does, that would leave us with three Haitian-Canadians as the frontrunners.

Despite some friendly taunting, it does not appear that Bloc leader Daniel Paille will be trying his luck here.

Outlook: Safe CPC

You should never take by-elections for granted. Weird things can happen in even the safest of seats. Not far from Provencher, not too long ago, the Liberals picked up Judy Wasylycia-Leis’ seat, despite finishing over 50 points behind the Dippers in the previous election.

Yes, anything can happen. But don’t expect it to.

Outlook: Safe CPC

See Provencher.

Posted on by CalgaryGrit in by elections, Federal Politics

About CalgaryGrit

A former Calgary Liberal, now living in Toronto. My writings on politics can be found at and online at the National Post.

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5 Responses to Dog Days of August

  1. Ian

    I think you meant Laraque is running for the Greens in Bourassa.

  2. Nuna D. Above

    Who do the Liberals have running in Toronto Centre, home to one of Canada’s largest gay populations? George Smitherman? Glen Murray? Seamus O’Reagan? Kyle Rae? The establishment seems to be behind Christia Freeland. Jeffrey Simpson in the Globe writes a column about how Trudeau needs someone in the riding with a serious financial background. Then we have…a Globe columnist rumoured to be Trudeau’s choice pop up as a candidate.
    She doesn’t live in the riding. Doesn’t even live in the country. It’s like the old days when Montreal anglophones were appointed as Liberal candidates in safe Quebec francophone ridings. Given the voters tendacy to flip the bird to the elties, that riding may be an NDP pick-up.
    And in Bourassa we read that the Liberal MNA picks up $100,000 for quitting his provincial riding to go federal. Nothing like being entitled to one’s entitlements.
    What the NDP should do in these by-elections is make a big deal out of housing expense fraud by politicians and challenge Trudeau to throw the Liberal MPs in his caucus who were caught cheating the public out of the party.
    Now that Greens are actually getting elected, will May encourage people to support her party over the Liberals?

  3. Pundits' Guide

    There have been a few new candidates announce since you wrote this, including Susan Gapka in Toronto Centre, Stéphane Moraille, Julie Demers and Mario LeClerc in Bourassa (all for the NDP), plus Chris Kennedy and Les Isleifson for the Conservatives in Brandon-Souris, plus the Wpg Free Press is speculating on a few more Brandon names I need to catch up with.

    • CalgaryGrit

      Thansk for the update. Certainly lots of interest around these by-elections!

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