Saturday, October 3, 2009

By-Elections - light beer for election junkies

As the Globe reported this morning, it looks like we will have to satisfy our election-watching cravings with four by-elections. It's like replacing a good session at the pub with a glass of light beer. At home.

Beggars (and bloggers) can't be choosers, I guess.

The by-elections - well at least two of them - could actually be reasonably interesting. Two are Bloc seats in Quebec and will remain so. Yawn.

The other two are in Nova Scotia and British Columbia. The former was held by Bill Casey - a former Conservative who ran last time around as an independent and has since retired from politics and is now serving as essentially Nova Scotia's GR guy in Ottawa. The latter has been held by the NDP since 2006, but is now vacant with the move of Dawn Black to provincial politics.

In both cases, two interesting things to watch.

1. How will the Liberals fare? In the Nova Scotia riding they finished fourth in 2008, while in BC they were a distant third. All to say that in good times, their prospects would not be high. And these are not good times. So they are not expecting a win, but their showing may demonstrate just how far they will have to climb if they are to seriously challenge in a general election.

2. Can the Conservatives turn recent events to their advantage and win one or both? The better bet is in Nova Scotia, as this has gone Conservative in every recent election save 1993 (PC blow out) and last time around (Conservative ran as an independent). BC will be trickier due to the debate over the harmonized sales tax, but results in 2008 were very close (fewer than 1500 votes separated the NDP and the Conservatives). In the end, both are winnable and the government's showing will help indicate whether a majority is becoming possible.

So come November crack open a beer and watch the results - provided there isn't a good hockey game on.

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