By-elections are usually not very significant. And while no one should read too much into yesterday’s win by the Conservatives in a Quebec riding, it is noteworthy for several reasons.
For one, the riding used to be held by the Liberals. It’s not unusual for a governing party to lose a by-election, but the Liberals are hoping to pick up seats in Quebec in the next federal election, and they recently won a by-election in another riding. Losing by a big margin to a Conservative will give them something to think about.
Second, this will put some wind in the sails of Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer, who has a strategy he’s hoping will make the party competitive in Quebec next year, including recruiting former Bloc Quebecois leader Michel Gauthier and defending supply management. And perhaps most importantly, the results were terrible for the NDP, which not so long ago considered Quebec its fortress.
If Jagmeet Singh doesn’t turn his fortunes around soon, the next election could be disastrous for his party and fatal for him. It was just a by-election, but the results set the stage for some interesting dynamics in the next 16 months.