Foregone Conclusions.

A reader asked me recently why I was paying so little attention to the two by-elections in Toronto Centre and York Centre in Toronto. Knowing the two ridings like the back of your hand does not make them more interesting. It just makes the process more boring.

But if you want to read the entrails, those are, at least, more interesting. If you wanted further assurances of the death knell of the federal new democrats, this vote gave it to you. Without new leadership and stronger policy positions, the NDP are lost in the doldrums of politics.

Nobody should expect a by-election to provide as strong a liberal showing—by-elections rarely do. It was enough. Sure, the media push for the new leader of the green party was strong but she had also picked the wrong riding to contest.

The people who really understood the lesson of the two by-elections were the conservatives. The Tories had a small chance in York Centre but failed to pull it off. They are going to have to concentrate their efforts in the suburban ridings around Toronto in the next election if they are going to make more inroads in Ontario.

My guess is that there is going to be some serious study of where the votes came from for the new green leader in Toronto Centre. Without some expensive polling in the riding, my guess is that close to half of those votes came from disgruntled, younger liberals. The bulk were likely NDP votes searching for a new home.

My guess is that our two new MPs will be back on the hustings in less than a year. Incumbency will be their key to re-election.

What is more important is what has happened in the provincial elections in British Columbia and Saskatchewan. In the case of the conservatives in Saskatchewan who pose as the Saskatchewan Party and are supposed to combine conservatives and liberals are all conservatives. And those people who pose as provincial liberals in B.C. are all a bunch of conservatives also. The provincial new democrats won a majority in B.C. and that is the good news.

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