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There are four federal by-elections happening tomorrow, and if you’re not in one of the contested ridings where all the parties are frantically trying to court voters, you could have forgotten they were even happening. Some residents of those ridings will probably even forget, since voting is on Canada Day weekend and many Canadians go on vacation to some far away land, like another province or something.

The timing of these by-elections is pretty curious, especially considering that some of the seats are recently vacated, such as the Trinity-Spadina seat, but the Macleod seat has been empty of almost a full year, and considering that the vote is being held on a day when many potential voters are less likely to get to their local polling station. The lumping together of all four by-elections is probably a Conservative PR move, since they’re likely to lose the two Toronto area ones but are almost sure to win the two Alberta seats, so by lumping them together it really doesn’t feel so bad. They just want to be happy too. 

Here’s a breakdown of what’s going on in each of the four ridings up for grabs tomorrow.


This Toronto area riding was left open by the resignation of Liberal MP Jim Karygiannis and has been the home of a hilarious and depressing back-and-forth of advertisements and mailouts between the Conservatives and the Liberals. After the Conservatives ran an ad that implied, nay asserted, that Justin Trudeau was getting young children to smoke pot, complete with a damning quote from former MP Karygiannis and Trudeau with his ‘Darkest Timeline’ goatee, looking almost Satanic. The Liberals responded this week with a mailer that assured residents of the riding that Trudeau’s plan was to be tough on crime and make it harder for young people to get marijuana through regulation. 

Isn't the fighting cute?

Isn’t the fighting cute?

In a riding that is hugely populated by immigrants and went Liberal by over 11% in the 2011 election, it’s hard to see what the Liberals have to gain by getting into a he-said she-said war with the Conservatives, who realistically have an uphill battle in Scarborough-Agincourt. They’re just trying to discredit Trudeau’s Liberals as much as possible, and they’re having way too much fun. You can likely hear their cackling from whatever corner of the country you’re in. 


The seat in this riding, another Toronto area seat that has received a lot of media attention running up to this by-election, was left vacant when Olivia Chow resigned to pursue her dream: spending a few months making fun of Rob Ford and a few years as Mayor of Toronto. 

The Conservatives have little to no hope there, since it’s an area populated by hipsters, young people and young hipsters. Looking at the numbers, the NDP had over 50% of the vote share in the last election. Though they no longer have the star power of Chow, her former campaign manager Joe Cressy is running in her place. To add to the fun, Adam Vaughan, a former Toronto City Councillor and rumoured NDP nominee is actually running for the Liberals, so the voters essentially have two Dippers to choose from! If you don’t remember the story of the Liberal nomination in this riding, this is the one where after saying he wanted open primaries, Justin Trudeau kind-of-sort-of interfered to make sure Vaughan got the nomination. If he wins, it’ll all have been worth sacrificing principles, right? 

While Cressy and Vaughan may split the vote, that still won’t be enough to give the Conservatives much of a chance. Vaughan’s relatively high profile campaign has been pretty well covered in local media, so expect this race to be pretty competitive. 


There really isn’t much to say about this by-election in Alberta. Conservative MP Ted Menzies resigned almost a year ago, the seat has been vacant ever since. He won consecutive elections with over 75% of the popular vote, so the idea of anyone other than the Conservatives winning this riding is basically laughable. The other parties are barely even trying most days, spending very little party money on a riding the Conservatives are sure to hold.

Fort McMurray-Athabasca

Another relatively safe Conservative riding, they’ve won by over 60% in four consecutive elections and aren’t too worried about winning this one either. This seat became vacant after ten year MP Brian Jean announced his retirement, and David Yurdiga received the nomination in a nomination race that was likely more contested than the actual election will be. Another day, another safe Conservative riding in Alberta. 

So, those are the ridings that will be divvied up tomorrow in this group of federal by-elections. Some will win, many will lose and every pundit will try to tell you why it does or does not predict what’s going to happen in 2015. Happy voting!