The 2019 Canadian federal by-elections on February 25 are a warm-up for the main event in October.
This is not even one percent of a general election, with just three of 338 seats up for grabs, but several matters will be decided. Three different provinces host three divergent races, all of which will be under the watchful eyes of Canadian political observers. One of them could see a major party leader lose his job before getting to fight an election campaign.
Below, we go into each of the three by-elections, and prior to the elections, we will make our sans-tossup predictions. Please note that candidate lists will be updated as information becomes available; we don’t hate you or your preferred political party, there just might not be a candidate yet.
2019 Canadian Federal By-Elections: York-Simcoe, ON
This is in a typical year a Conservative seat, most recently held by Peter Van Loan. He had been member since 2004 and rose up the ranks into the Stephen Harper cabinet. Van Loan resigned effective September 30, 2018, leaving the people of York-Simcoe without representation for several months. Its voters will select a new Member of Parliament in February, and then do it again in October during the next federal election.
York-Simcoe in its previous iterations has elected Liberals, notably during the Jean Chretien landslide years in which the Liberals blanketed Ontario. When the riding reformed in 2004, however, Van Loan won it and never lost an election.
2019 York-Simcoe By-Election Candidates
|Scot Davidson (CPC)|
|Liberal Candidate TBD|
|Jessa McLean (NDP)|
2019 Canadian Federal By-Elections: Outremont, QC
From a retired cabinet minister to a retired Leader of the Opposition, we move over to Montreal and the vacant seat of Outremont. Tom Mulcair’s breakthrough by-election win in 2007 began the NDP’s positive shift in La belle province; four years later, he helped Jack Layton bring about the Orange Crush in Quebec. Mulcair would later preside at the top of the party but watched as Justin Trudeau reset Liberal fortunes in their province and turned it back red.
Mulcair won a number of elections, whether as an NDP candidate for the House of Commons or as a provincial Liberal MNA for Chomedey. For the first time in over a decade, the NDP will run a new candidate here. The party is hoping that Mulcair’s successor can replicate his success and hold the seat, but it will be a tough battle.
Outremont is almost exactly in the middle of the island of Montreal, bordering Justin Trudeau’s Papineau riding. Liberals will keep a close eye on this by-election, hoping to take the seat back after 11 years.
2019 Outremont By-Election Candidates
|Julia Sanchez (NDP)|
|Rachel Bendayan (Lib)|
|Jasmine Louras (CPC)|
2019 Canadian Federal By-Elections: Burnaby South, BC
Though at least one other by-election on February 25, 2019 might generate a flip, this will be the one to watch because of who is running. First, who left: Kennedy Stewart, former NDP MP who was elected Vancouver’s mayor in 2018. Stewart served two terms as a federal MP, winning Burnaby-Douglas in 2011 and Burnaby South in 2015. His final federal election was a close call, with Stewart eking out a 547-vote victory over Liberal candidate Adam Pankratz. In fact, his 2011 run was also close, as was his 2018 mayoral run.
Now, with Landslide Kennedy at City Hall, how will the NDP do in Burnaby South? They could not have picked a more high-profile candidate: Jagmeet Singh, leader of the federal NDP. Singh parachuted into this riding to get into the House of Commons prior to the 2019 election, buying a house in Burnaby, BC. He was a former provincial MPP in Ontario prior to becoming party leader in 2017.
Update January 16, 2019: Singh will have a fight on his hands to win Burnaby South. However, it won’t be against the prior Liberal candidate, Karen Wang. She made a posting on social media pointing out that she was a Chinese-Canadian candidate while also playing up that her opponent is Indian. (Link: Global News) As such, she stood down once she was called out for her remarks. Now, nobody knows who, if anyone, the Liberals will run in her place. Should they decide to take a pass, then Singh’s odds of victory against the remaining candidates grow by a significant margin.
The Conservatives and People’s Party of Canada will run candidates here, but the big question is if Jagmeet Singh can win this seat. Were he to lose in what has been a federally NDP-leaning area, questions will be raised about his fitness to lead the New Democrats into October’s election. Even his predecessor, the aforementioned Tom Mulcair, thinks Singh’s leadership is riding on this, er, riding. (Link: CTV News)
|Jagmeet Singh (NDP)|
|Liberal candidate TBD|
|Jay Shin (CPC)|
|Laura-Lynn Thompson (PPC)|