The Conservatives are in… narrowly. Julian Fantino, former Commissioner of the Ontario Provincial Police won the seat with 49.1% of the vote over Liberal Ton Genco who had 46.6% which worked out to only be a difference of 997 votes. Vaughan has been a long-time Liberal stronghold under MP Maurizio Bevilacqua who stepped down to become mayor.
Elsewhere, Winnipeg north saw the traditional NDP seat taken over by the Liberals while a conservative Manitoba riding was won by the Conservatives.
Final tally for the 3 by-elections: Tories 2, Liberals 1. This adds one seat to the Conservative total in Parliament.
The CBC reported this about the Conservative win in Vaughan:
The Vaughan outcome has the greatest potential for shaking up the federal political scene.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper must break the Liberal stranglehold on Toronto to have any hope of snagging his sought-after majority. Winning in Vaughan takes him a step closer to that goal.
"It was a very steep hill to climb, being such a safe, traditional Liberal seat," said Conservative party spokesman Fred DeLorey.
He noted that governing parties typically don’t win byelections and said Monday’s results demonstrate that "Canadians approve of the job the Harper government is doing on managing the economy and getting tough on crime."
In 2006, Stephen Harper had 30 seats shy of a majority. In 2008, he had 12 seats short of a majority. His 2008 re-election as a minority government was apparently the first time since Pearson’s 1965 minority that a minority government was re-elected as such.
"Canadians approve of the job the Harper government is doing"?
Cautious, apprehensive, doubtful are words I would use to describe Canadians, not necessarily approving.
Managing the economy? Getting tough on crime? The Conservatives ofttimes quote numbers which do not add up. Let’s not forget how Stockwell Day was duly and quite rightly laughed at by reporters back in June when he stated that the Conservatives were going to spend $9.1 billion on new prisons because unreported crimes were going up. (see Stockwell Day Dreaming the Numbers)
Did the Conservatives win Vaughan or did Julian Fantino win Vaughan? Certainly Mr. Fantino as Commissioner has been a very visible player in Ontario over the past few years.
With these byelections, the Parliament’s 308 seats break down as Conservatives 143, Liberals 77 and the NDP 36. The Bloc Québécois has 47, there are two Independents and three seats are vacant.
Click HERE to read more from William Belle
Wikipedia: Vaughan (electoral district) : Election Results