In the recent federal byelections, the people of Yellowhead and Whitby-Oshawa spoke; the Conservatives held on to the two seats they already had, but there’s much more to the story.
These were the 14th and 15th byelections since the Harper majority in 2011 and the results continued a strong trend. The Liberal share of the vote rose again, dramatically, and the NDP vote share dropped again. In Alberta’s Yellowhead riding, a Conservative bastion, the Liberal vote increased from 2.8 per cent in 2011 to 20 per cent. In Whitby-Oshawa the Liberal vote share jumped from 14 per cent to 41 per cent. By-elections are considered a safe way for dissatisfied voters to send a message to government. In a string of by-elections since 2011, the message they are consistently sending is that they consider the Liberals, under Justin Trudeau’s leadership, to be the real alternative to Harperism.
These are not opinion poll results, these are actual votes. The prime example of this was in Toronto last June, where the NDP lost the seat vacated by Olivia Chow to the Liberals. Despite his best efforts, NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair is not connecting with Canadians and Justin Trudeau is.
If voters in the South Okanagan-West Kootenay riding want to get rid of Harper in 2015, they might want to consider the message coming out of ballot boxes across the country over the past three years.