Friday, November 27, 2015

Northwest Territories election summary

The Northwest Territories held a general election for its territorial legislative assembly on Monday, the 18th election since the formation of the assembly in 1951. The NWT Assembly is non partisan, using the “consensus government” model. The winning MLAs will come together next month to elect a new a Premier from among them. Only the Northwest Territories and Nunavut uses this system of government in Canada.

Since the creation of the office of Premier in 1980, no Premier has ever served in that capacity for more than one term. The tradition in the NWT is to choose a new Premier after every election. So, despite the fact that Premier Bob McLeod was re-elected in his Yellowknife South riding does not mean he will remain as Premier. It is more likely that the new assembly will choose someone different to become Premier.

The consensus model has been criticized as being somewhat undemocratic, as voters do not get to directly vote for Premier. While this is technically true in every other province and territory in Canada, the non-partisan nature of the NWT Legislature means that voters have no influence in who will become their Premier. MLAs choose the Premier behind closed doors, in secret meetings, and do not divulge their votes to the public. While there are no rules against members openly discussing their votes (it is not after all a papal conclave), members who do discuss details are often ostracized by their colleagues. The result is that there is no accountability for their decisions, as voters have no knowledge of which MLAs supported who for Premier, and cannot punish (or reward) their representatives in the ballot box for their actions.

The Northwest Territory's 19 ridings


Since the last election held in 2011, the boundaries of the NWT's 19 ridings have changed, following a controversial redistribution process, which had to be settled in the territorial supreme court. The size of the assembly was not changed, and most of the territory's rural ridings were not effected, but the boundaries in the territorial capital of Yellowknife were shifted around a bit. The most major change was when the abolition of the Tu Nedhe riding, the territory's least populous district, which consisted of two Dene communities in the eastern part of the NWT. Tu Nedhe was merged with part of the Weledeh riding, becoming “Tu Nedhé-Wiilideh”. The new riding is still underpopulated, becoming the second least populous riding in the NWT, after Deh Cho. The remainder of the Weledeh riding became the riding Yellowknife North, making it a strictly urban riding.

The controversy surrounding the redistribution came as a result of maintaining the imbalance of representation between Yellowknife and the rest of the territory. The City of Yellowknife makes up nearly half (46%) of the population of the NWT, but only 7 of the territory's 19 districts (37%) are in the city. The redistribution process did not address the imbalance, and as a result, every single Yellowknife district continues to be over populated, with most districts being more than 20% larger than the territorial average.


In 2011, only one incumbent was defeated in the entire territory. In this election however, there were eight defeated incumbents. Coupled with three retiring MLAs, the election resulted in only eight returning MLAs. While Premier McLeod was re-elected, the territory's finance minister, Michael Miltenberger lost his seat of Thebacha (Fort Smith), a riding he had held since 1995. Despite the large turnover, the Assembly's most controversial incumbent, Michael Nadli was narrowly re-elected in Deh Cho, despite have spent eight days in prison during his term, after being convicted of assaulting his wife. Interestingly, Nadli was the only candidate to defeat an incumbent in 2011.

Out of the 19 ridings, there was one district where no election was held. In the riding of Monfwi, incumbent MLA Jackson Lafferty was re-elected with no opposition. Only two women were elected (Julie Green in Yellowknife Centre and Caroline Cochrane-Johnson in Range Lake), both of whom had to defeat incumbents to get into the legislature. This represents no change in the number of women elected to the assembly, as one MLA (Wendy Bisaro) did not run for re-election, while Jane Groenewegen was defeated in her Hay River South district. Green's election makes her the first out lesbian to be elected in the assembly's history.

Turnout by riding in the 2015 election
The overall turnout in the election was 44%, the lowest ever turnout in the history of the NWT. Turnout was especially low in Yellowknife, with most districts in the city seeing less than a third of voters showing up. The lowest turnout in the election was in Kam Lake, a suburban Yellowknife riding, which saw a turnout of just 25%. In contrast, many of the rural ridings saw large turnouts. The northern riding of Nunakput saw a turnout of 74%, while Tu Nedhé-Wiilideh saw a turnout of 71%.

The election was originally intended to be held in October, but was superseded by the October 19 federal election. According the territory's fixed election date legislation, the NWT is to hold elections on the first Monday in October every four years. However with the next federal election scheduled for October 2019, it is likely that the next NWT election will be held in November of 2019 unless the legislation is amended.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Newfoundland and Labrador's new electoral map

The results of the 2011 election on the new map
Voters in Newfoundland and Labrador will be heading to the polls on November 30th in the province's 19th election held since joining confederation in 1949. This election will be held on a new electoral map, as the size of the House of Assembly (the province's legislature) has been reduced from 48 seats to 40. This will be the first election since 1959 that the province will have this few seats.

Due to these changes, I took the initiative to calculate the results of the last provincial election in 2011 and transpose them on the new boundaries, using the same process I had done for New Brunswick's recent redistribution. Much like New Brunswick, Elections Newfoundland and Labrador did not publicly release their own transposition numbers, unlike Elections Canada and some other provincial elections agencies.

Actual results of the 2011 election


New premier Paul Davis was gung-ho in his plan to reduce the size of the legislature, and was quick to do so after becoming leader. A boundary commission was created, and new boundaries were drawn over the course of the Spring, in order to give the province's election agency enough time to be ready for the November 30 election. What is usually a long and drawn out process that can take a couple of years (as we saw with the last federal redistribution) was done in a few months.

While the reduction of government is consistent with conservative ideology (Davis is a Tory), the move may backfire for his party. Recent polls have shown the Tories could be wiped off the electoral map, a feat that is easier to do with larger, more populated ridings. Smaller ridings are more likely to overlap with pockets of opposition support, and are therefore more likely to elect more opposition members. It is harder for opposition members to get elected (especially in landslide elections) with larger ridings, as areas of traditional opposition support are more likely to be lumped in with non-opposition areas, when the ridings grow in size. 

This redistribution process has already hurt one of those opposition parties, the NDP. The NDP won five seats in the 2011 election, but would have only won three seats on the new map. This is because in two of those ridings, the boundaries were extended to encompass enough non-NDP areas to have swung the seats to other parties. The Liberals were less hurt, as they would have won five seats on the new map, compared to the six seats they actually won in 2011. The Tories saw a bigger numerical drop, winning 32 seats on the new map, down from the 37 they actually won.  Proportionally however, they were not hurt as bad, as the two other parties, and losing five seats is no big deal considering they still would have won a majority government on the new map.

Redistributed results of the 2011 election by riding

Regional analysis

The St. John's area loses one riding, with the resulting domino effect meaning the NDP would only have won three seats in the city on the new map (down from the four they actually won). This loss is due to the riding of St. John's North (renamed to “Mount Scio”) gaining some heavily Tory areas in the Paradise area. The PCs would have won the remaining 10 seats in the region. While the boundary shifts in Mount Scio gave the Tories an extra seat, they would have lost one in the south end of the city, with the merger of St. John's South and Kilbride into the new riding of Waterford Valley. Another big shift in the city was in the east end, where the two ridings of St. John's East and Signal Hill-Quidi Vidi have re-oriented themselves into St. John's East-Quidi Vidi and Virginia Waters-Pleasantville. Both seats went NDP in 2011.

The rest of the Avalon Peninsula also loses one seat. This seat loss is on the west side of Conception Bay, where the riding of Carbonear-Harbour Grace is being split up. The Carbonear half is going to the new riding of Carbonear-Trinity-Bay de Verde (formed from the former riding of Trinity-Bay de Verde), while the Harbour Grace half has joined the new riding of Harbour Grace-Port de Grave (formed from the old riding of Port de Grave). All the ridings in this region voted PC in 2011, meaning a net loss of one seat for the Tories.

Eastern Newfoundland goes from having six seats to just four, following the redistribution. One seat (Burin-Placentia West) was removed from the Burin Peninsula, with a part going to the new riding of Burin-Grand Bank and a part going to the new riding of Placentia West-Bellevue. The other seat loss comes from the Bonavista Bay area, which will see the old ridings of Terra Nova and Trinity North be merged together forming a new Terra Nova riding. This seat loss hurts the Tories the most, as all six ridings voted PC in 2011.

Central Newfoundland also loses two seats. The former riding of “The Isles of Notre Dame” will see the Twillingate area join the new riding of Lewisporte-Twillingate while Fogo Island joins the new riding of Fogo Island-Cape Freels. Meanwhile, the riding of Grand Falls-Windsor-Green Bay South will split up with the Grand Falls-Windsor area of that riding being absorbed by the riding of Grand Falls-Windsor-Buchans while the Green Bay South area will join the new redundantly named riding of Baie Verte-Green Bay. All nine ridings in the region voted PC in 2011, so the seat reduction is a net loss of two ridings for the party.

Western Newfoundland also loses two seats, with the Humber area losing both ridings. The new riding of Humber-Grose Morne was created as a merger of St. Barbe and Humber Valley while Humber East has been fragmented into the new riding of Corner Brook (formed from Humber West), St. George's-Humber (formed from St. George's-Stephenville East) and Humber-Bay of Islands (formed from Bay of Islands) Both the NDP and the Liberals were the losers in this region. The addition of part of Humber East into the new Humber-Bay of Islands would have made that riding go PC in 2011, when its predecessor riding of Bay of Islands went Liberal.  Meanwhile, the northern riding of The Straits-White Bay North, which went NDP in 2011, has been increased in size, taking in a Liberal part of St. Barbe,. This boundary change would have been enough to shift the riding to the Liberals, and to compensate for the merger of the two Liberal ridings of St. Barbe and Humber Valley. While the new map gives would have given the PCs the new Humber-Bay of Islands riding, the abolition of the Humber East riding gives them a net gain of 0 seats in the region.

The redistribution process came with the promise that Labrador would retain its four seats in the House of Assembly. As such, the region saw no boundary changes, despite two of the ridings (Torngat Mountains and Cartwright-L'Anse au Clair) being extremely underpopulated. In 2011, the Liberals won those two seats, while the Tories won the other two (Lake Melville and Labrador West).

Newfoundland and Labrador's new election map (click to enlarge)

Of course, these numbers only show the results of the 2011 election on the new boundaries, an election which saw the Progressive Conservatives win a large majority of seats, and a majority of the popular vote. With the Liberals heading for what may be an historic landslide victory, this map will look very different come November 30.

Note: An earlier version of this blogpost indicated the the riding of Humber-Bay of Islands would have gone Liberal in 2011, however this was based on an error in the data. It has since been corrected.

Monday, November 9, 2015

4 Quebec provincial by-elections today

Canadian Election Atlas seat rating
Voters in four provincial ridings in Quebec are heading to the polls today to elect new members of the National Assembly. These by-elections are the first electoral event in the country following an historic federal election last month which saw the Liberals win a majority government. The federal Liberals won a majority by making inroads in Quebec, winning many seats for the first time in 35 years. The federal and provincial Liberals are technically different parties, but one cannot be faulted for presuming that the Liberal brand has greatly improved since Justin Trudeau became federal Liberal leader.

There have been no provincial polls published in Quebec since August, so it's difficult to predict exactly what will happen in today's by-elections. The last CROP poll from August had the governing Liberals at 33% (down 9 points since the 2014 election), the separatist Parti Quebecois (PQ) at 29% (up four points), the right of centre Coalition Avenir Quebec (CAQ) at 23% (same as 2014) and the left wing Quebec Solidaire (QS) at 13% (up 5 points). The Liberals have been suffering due to unpopular austerity measures, while the PQ is – or was enjoying a small boost from last Spring's election of their new leader, Pierre Karl Peladeau. My guess is following the federal election, the Liberals have likely recovered much of this drop, and this recovery is likely going to come from their nearest ideological rivals, the CAQ.

Three of the four by-elections today are in safe seats. The Liberals are likely to win the Laval riding of Fabre, which they have held since 2003 and the Montreal riding of Saint-HenriSainte-Anne, which they have held continuously since 1981. The PQ is likely to win the Côte-Nord riding of René-Lévesque, which they have held since 2003. The most interesting race will be in the riding of Beauce-Sud, located on the U.S. border south of Quebec City. This riding is located in the conservative leaning Chaudière-Appalaches region, and is a natural “CAQ riding”. Except, the Liberals won the riding by 12 points in 2014, and have won every election in the riding since 1979, except for when the CAQ's predecessor, the ADQ won it in 2007.


The riding of Beauce-Sud was vacated in September, when its long-time Liberal MNA Robert Dutil resigned his seat after he accepted a position as Senior Vice President for Canam-Ponts. Dutil held the seat from 1984 to 1994 and again since 2008. He had been a cabinet minister for the Jean Charest government, serving as Minister of Revenue from 2008 to 2010 and Minister of Public Security from 2010 to 2012.


Beauce-Sud is centred on the city of Saint-Georges in eastern Quebec, south of Quebec City in the Chaudière-Appalaches region. The riding is bounded on the east by the U.S. state of Maine, on the south by Quebec's Eastern Townships, and on the north and west by other ridings in the Chaudière-Appalaches region. The Chaudière River bifurcates the riding, running from south to north, passing through Saint-Georges on the way. Other communities in the riding include Saint-Éphrem-de-Beauce, La Guadeloupe, Saint-Gédéon-de-Beauce, Saint-Côme--Linière and Saint-Prosper.


Demographically, the riding is very homogenous. It is overwhelmingly Francophone, with nearly 99% of its inhabitants having that language as their mother tongue and it is overwhelmingly White, with 98% of inhabitants being neither a visible minority nor Aboriginal. In terms of ethnicity, most inhabitants identify as Canadian or French Canadian. The riding is also overwhelmingly Catholic, with 93% of the population being of that faith. The riding is less well off than the province as a whole. The median income is $25,000 (provincial median is $28,000) while the average income is $31,000 (provincial average is $36,000).


The political uniqueness of the Beauce region has led it to vote for a number of minor parties in its existence, such as Action liberale nationale in 1935, Bloc populaire canadien in 1944, Ralliement créditiste du Québec in 1970 and 1973 and the Parti national populaire in 1976.

While the Liberals won the seat by a comfortable margin in 2014, previous elections saw more close races between them and the CAQ, and its predecessor, the ADQ. In 2012, Dutil won the riding by just 650 votes over his CAQ opponent and in 2008, he won the riding by just 570 votes over his ADQ opponent, Claude Morin, who had won the seat by a comfortable 9000 vote margin in 2007, when the ADQ had formed the official opposition. 2003 was also a close race, when Liberal Diane Leblanc won the seat by 1300 votes over her ADQ opponent.

List of MNAs:

Beauce (1867-1973)

C.H. Pozer, Liberal (1867-1874)
F.-X. Dulac, Cons. (1874-1878)
Jos. Poirier, Liberal (1878-1881)
J.G.P. Blanchet, Cons. (1881-1892)
Jos. Poirier, Cons. (1892-1897) 2nd time
H.S. Béland, Liberal (1897-1902)
A. Godbout, Liberal (1902-1921)
J.H. Fortier, Liberal (1921-1929)
J.-É. Fortin, Liberal (1929-1935)
Vital Cliche, A.L.N. (1935-1936)
Raoul Poulin, U.N. (1936)
J.-É. Perron, U.N. (1937-1939)
H.-R. Renault, Liberal (1939-1944)
É. Lacroix, B.P.C. (1944-1945)
G.-O. Poulin, U.N. (1945-1960)
Fabien Poulin, Liberal (1960-1962)
P.-É. Allard, U.N. (1962-1970)
Fabien Roy, R.C.Q. (1970-1973)

Beauce-Sud (1973-present)

Fabien Roy. R.C.Q. (1973-1975); P.N.P (1975-1979) continued
Hermann Mathieu, Liberal (1979-1985)
Rbt. Dutil, Liberal (1985-1994)
P.-E. Quirion, Liberal (1994-1996)
Ms. Diane Leblanc, Liberal (1997-2007)
Claude Morin, A.D.Q. (2007-2008)
Rbt. Dutil, Liberal (2008-2015) 2nd time

Political geography

In the last few elections, the CAQ/ADQ has been the strongest in the central and northern parts of the riding, while the Liberals have been the strongest in the west. The city of Saint-Georges, which makes up about half of the population of the riding is usually evenly split between the Liberals and their conservative-leaning opponents.

In the 2014 election, Liberal support was the strongest in the more rural parts of the riding, especially in the municipalities in the western part of the district. They broke 60% of the vote in two municipalities in western Beauce-Sud: in Sainte-Colthide-de-Beauce and in Lac-Poulin. CAQ support was concentrated in Saint-Georges and adjacent municipalities. The CAQ barely won the riding's largest city, and likely lost it if you account for the advance votes. The best municipality for the CAQ was Saint-Philibert, an eastern suburb of Saint-Georges, where they won 48% of the election day vote. None of the other parties won any polls in the riding. The PQ's best municipality was Saint-Ludger, located at the southern point of the riding, where they won 13%. Quebec Solidaire's best municipality was Saint-Hilaire-de-Dorset (also in the south of the riding) where they won 8% of the vote.

Federally, most of this riding is located in the electoral district of Beauce, which just re-elected Conservative MP Maxime Bernier last month. The riding is considered the most Conservative in the province, and has gone Conservative since 2006.

2014 results by municipality


The Liberals are running Saint-Benoît-Labre native Paul Busque, a managing director at Saint-Georges GM as their candidate. The candidate with the best chance of beating Busque is Tom Redmond, who is running for the CAQ. He is a city councillor in Saint-Georges. The PQ candidate, Renaud Fortier is also a Saint-Georges city councillor. Quebec solidaire is running their 2014 candidate, pharmacist Diane Vincent.

Despite the riding being so homogeneously Francophone, it is far from a nationalist riding. It voted “NO” in both referendums, and the PQ has never won the seat. The PQ has not even finished second here since 1998. In conservative and federalist Beauce, the clear race is between Busque, the Liberal candidate and Redmond, the CAQ candidate. Following the Liberal surge in the federal election, it is quite possible that the Liberals will likely hold on to this seat in the National Assembly.


Fabre was vacated in August when its MNA, Liberal Gilles Ouimet stepped down to spend more time with his family. Ouimet was a backbench MP, and had represented the riding since just 2012.


The riding of Fabre covers the western 1/6th of the city of Laval, a large suburb north of Montreal. Laval consists of the entirety of the Île Jésus and surrounding islands, and was the product of an amalgamation of a number of smaller communities in 1965. Due to Laval's large geographical size, many of these communities still retain much of their character despite rapid suburbanization of the island. Fabre contains the former municipalities of Laval-Ouest, Laval-sur-le-Lac and Îles Laval, plus large parts of Fabreville and Sainte-Dorothée plus a small part of Chomedey (the Saint-Martin area).
Most of the population lives on either the south or the north coasts of the riding. A majority of the population lives on the south coast, which is dominated by Sainte-Dorothée. The north coast is made up of the communities of Laval-Ouest and Fabreville. The area between the two coasts is primarily made up of farm land, woods and golf courses.


Over two-thirds of the population in Fabre are Francophones, with 69% of the population having French as their first language. 10% of the population are Anglophones, while 29% of the riding are Allophones (mother tongue is neither English nor French). The main non-official languages spoken in the riding are Arabic and Greek. 79% of the riding is White, with most of the rest being Arab (6%), Black (4%), South Asian (2%), Southeast Asian (2%) and Latin American (2%). A majority of the population identifies as either French or Canadian. There are also large groups of people identifying as either Irish, Greek or Italian. 60% of the riding is Catholic, while 11% is Christian Orthodox. The main non-Christian faith is Islam, with 12% being Muslim. 11% of the riding has no religious affiliation. Fabre is slightly wealthier than the province as a whole. The median income is $34,000 while the average income is $43,000.


Thanks to its large Allophone population, Fabre has usually voted Liberal in its history. In PQ held the riding in the early 1980s and for nearly a decade between 1994 and 2003. Since then, the Liberals have held the seat, usually defeating the Péquistes by three or four thousand votes. In 2007, the ADQ came close to winning the riding, with the Liberals only winning the seat by 1200 votes. In the 1995 sovereignty referendum, the “Yes” side did win, though it was close (51%-49%).

While the riding of Fabre has existed since 1966, it has only covered the western end of Laval since 1981. Before then, the region was part of the riding of Laval.

List of MNAs:

Laval (1867-1981)

J.-H. Bellerose, Cons. (1867-1875)
L.-O. Loranger, Cons. (1875-1882)
P.-É. Leblanc, Cons. (1882-1883)
Amédée Gaboury, Liberal (1883-1884)
P.-É. Leblanc, Cons. (1884-1908) 2nd time
J.W. Levesque, Liberal (1908-1919)
J.-O. Renaud, Cons. (1919-1931)
Jos. Filion, Liberal (1931-1935)
F.-J. Leduc, Cons. (1935-1936); U.N. (1936-1939); Liberal (1939-1948)
Omer Barrière, U.N. (1948-1956)
L. Pouliot, U.N. (1956-1960)
J.-N. Lavoie, Liberal (1960-1981)

Fabre (1981-present)

Michel Leduc, P.Q. (1981-1985)
J.-A. Joly, Liberal (1985-1994)
Jos. Facal, P.Q. (1994-2003)
Ms. Michelle Courchesne, Liberal (2003-2012)
Gilles Ouimet, Liberal (2012-2015)

Political geography

Recent elections have revealed a geographic dichotomy in the riding, with the more French Canadian northern part of the riding backing the PQ and the CAQ, with the more diverse southern part of the riding (especially Sainte-Dorothée) strongly backing the Liberals.

This dichotomy was less prevalent in the 2014 election, as the Liberals won every neighbourhood in the riding. However, they were the weakest in Laval-Ouest, where they won just 37% of the vote. The Liberals continued to win big on the south coast of the island, winning over 60% of the vote in Sainte-Dorothéee, Saint-Martin (Chomedey) and Laval-sur-le-Lac. The PQ was strongest in Îles Laval where they won 29% of the vote, while the CAQ was strongest in Fabreville, where they won 25% of the election day vote (ahead of the PQ). Quebec Solidaire was strongest in Laval-Ouest, where they won just 9%. QS did not win any polls.

Federally, most of Fabre is located in the riding of Laval—Les Îles, which just voted Liberal last month. The NDP had won it in 2011, but the Liberals held the riding before that, since 1993.

2014 results by neighbourhood


The Liberals are running local businesswoman and president of the Réseau des carrefours jeunesse-emploi du Québec, Monique Sauvé in this seat. The PQ is running Jibril Akaaboune Le François, a civil servant. The CAQ is running teacher Carla El-Ghandour. UQAM student Charles Lemieux is running for Quebec Solidaire.

The PQ has only ever won Fabre when they have received at least 41% of the province-wide vote. Considering the last CROP poll put the PQ at 29% province-wide, it is very unlikely the PQ will win this seat. For the CAQ, they only came close to winning the riding when they won 31% of province-wide vote in 2007 (as the ADQ), so they are unlikely to win it as well. I am very confident the Liberals should easily retain this seat.


The riding of René-Lévesque (formerly known as Saguenay) has been vacant since September, when its MNA, Péquiste Marjolain Dufour resigned, citing health reasons. He had represented the riding since 2003.


René-Lévesque is located in Quebec's Côte-Nord region, northeast of Quebec City. The riding is centred on the city of Baie-Comeau, where close to a majority of the population live. Almost the entire population of the riding lives on the south coast of the riding, along the Saint Lawrence River, running from the Saguenary River in the west to Baie-Trinité in the east. From the Saint Lawrence in the south, the riding extends deep into the sparsely populated Quebec interior northward, until it hits the circular Manicouagan Reservoir, which is about where the northern boundary is. In addition to Baie-Comeau, the riding's other main communities include Chute-aux-Outardes, Pessamit (Betsiamites), Forestville, Les Escoumins, Pointe-aux-Outardes, Pointe-Lebel, Ragueneau and Sacré-Coeur.


Most of the riding is Francophone, with 94% having French as their first language. Most of the rest (5%) speaks Innu as their first language. In fact, 10% of population is of First Nation ancestry (the riding is home to two reserves, Pessamit and Essipit). Outside of this mostly Innu population, the riding is fairly homogenous. Almost the entirety of the rest of the riding is is White, most of whom are of French Canadian ancestry. 94% of the riding is Catholic, with most of the remainder belonging to no religion. In terms of income, the riding closely matches the province-wide numbers, with the median income being at $28,000 and the average at $36,000.


For much of its history, René-Lévesque has been a PQ stronghold. It was one of the only ridings to vote PQ in 1970, the first election the party ran in. The PQ held the seat until losing it in a by-election in 1983. The Liberals managed to keep the seat, winning close elections in 1985 and 1989, before losing it in 1994. The PQ easily won the seat in 1994 and 1998, and in the interim, the riding saw the strongest result for the “Yes” side out of all ridings in the 1995 sovereignty referendum. 73% of voters in the riding had voted to separate from Canada. The ADQ won the seat in a 2002 by-election, which was a surprise victory, as it was only the second seat the party had ever won at that point. However, the ADQ only held it for a year, as the PQ took it back in the 2003 general election. Since then, the PQ has continued to win the seat by comfortable margins, and always receiving between 50 and 60% of the vote. The ADQ and the CAQ have never been able to come close to winning the seat again, not even in 2007 which is the only election where they were elected as the main opposition party. Since 2008, the Liberals have been the second place party in the riding, but far behind the PQ.

List of MNAs:

Chicoutimi-Saguenay (1867-1912)

P.-A. Tremblay, Ind. (1867-1871); Liberal (1871-1874)
M.G. Baby, Cons. (1874-1875)
W.E. Price, Cons. (1875-1880)
J.- É. Beaudet, Cons. (1880-1881)
Élie Saint-Hiliare, Ind. Cons. (1881-1888)
Séverin Dumais, Parti national (Liberal) (1888-1890)
Onésime Côté, Parti national (Liberal) (1890-1892)
Honoré Petit, Cons. (1892-1912)

Charlevoix-Saguenay (1912-1948)

Pierre D'Auteuil, Cons. (1912-1919)
P. Dufour, Liberal (1919-1927)
J.U.E. Rochette, Liberal (1927-1936)
A. Leclerc, U.N. (1936-1939)
J.U.E. Rochette, Liberal (1939-1944) 2nd time
A. Leclerc, U.N. (1944-1948)

Saguenay (1948-2003)

Pierre Ouellet, U.N. (1948-1960)
Lucien Bélanger, Liberal (1960-1962)
Rodrigue Thibault, Liberal (1962-1963)
P.-W. Maltais, Liberal (1964-1970)
Lucien Lessard, P.Q. (1970-1982)
Ghislain Maltais, Liberal (1983-1994)
G.-Y. Gagnon, P.Q. (1994-2001)
François Corriveau, A.D.Q. (2002-2003)

René Lévesque (2003-present)

Marjolain Dufour, P.Q. (2003-2015)

Political geography

Except for four small areas, the PQ normally wins everything in the riding. The only part of the riding that has consistently voted Liberal in recent elections is the Pessimit Indian Reserve southwest of Baie-Comeau. The Liberals also usually win the tiny Essipit Reserve which is located further up the Saint Lawrence in the southwest of the riding. The Liberals have also twice won at least one poll in Sacré-Coeur (also in the southwest) and in the east end of Baie-Comeau.

In 2014, the PQ won every municipality in the riding, except for the two Indian Reserves. Their strongest municipality was Chute-aux-Outardes, a suburb of Baie-Comeau, where they won 71% of the vote. Their next best area was the vast Rivière-aux-Outardes unorganized territory, which geographically makes up almost the entire riding, except for the southwest and the coast. The Liberals won the two Indian reserves, winning Pessamit with 50% of the vote and Essipit with 38%. Essipit was the strongest community for the CAQ, where they won 27% of the vote, which was still in third place. The best result for Quebec Solidaire was in Tadoussac, where they won 13% of the vote. Neither the CAQ nor the QS won any polls.

Federally this riding is located in the electoral district of Manicouagan, which voted for the Bloc last month after having voted for the NDP in 2011. Prior to 2011, Manicouagan had voted for the Bloc in every election since 1993.

2014 results by municipality


The PQ is running the director general of the Société d'aide au développement de la collectivité de la Manicouagan, Martin Ouellet as their candidate in this riding. The Liberals are running Baie-Comeau city councillor Karine Otis to oppose Ouellet. The CAQ candidate is Dave Savard, a philosophy teacher at a local CEGEP, who lost the federal Liberal nomination in Manicouagan. Retired teacher Claire du Sablon will be the Quebec Solidaire candidate.

In its history, this riding has produced two unexpected by-election results, when the Liberals won it in 1983 and when the ADQ won it in 2002. Perhaps another surprise win is in the books, but I do not believe this to be very likely (if it does happen, it will likely be the Liberals). This area just eschewed the Liberal wave in the federal election, so I do not see them backing the Liberals at this point in time. The most sovereigntist riding in the province should still vote PQ.


Saint-Henri–Sainte-Anne has been a vacant seat since August, when its MNA, Liberal Marguerite Blais resigned, following the death of her husband. Blais had served in the cabinet of Jean Charest as Minister of Senior Citizens. She had represented the district since 2007.


Saint-Henri–Sainte-Anne is located in central Montreal, southwest of the Downtown. It consists of all of the Le Sud-Ouest borough and a small part of the Ville-Marie borough. The riding hugs the Lachine Canal, running from Parc Angrignon in the south to around Autoroute 10 in the north. Its northwestern boundary closely follows Autoroute 20, while its southeastern boundary follows the Canal de l'Aqueduc and Autoroute 15. The riding contains a number of historic Montreal neighbourhoods like Griffintown, Little Burgundy, Saint-Henri, Pointe-Saint-Charles, Côte-Saint-Paul and Ville-Émard.


The riding is one of the more diverse in the province. A bare majority of the riding (56%) is Francophone, 25% are Allophones and 19% are Anglophones. After French and English, the main native languages in the riding are Spanish, Chinese, Arabic, Italian and Bengali. In terms of race, nearly three quarters (72% )of the riding is White. Due to the riding being home to Montreal's historically Black neighbourhood of Little Burgundy, Blacks are the largest minority group in the riding, making up 7% of the population. There are also large numbers of Chinese, South Asians, Arabs, Latin Americans and Filipinos. After French Canadian, the main ethnic groups in the riding are Irish, Italian, English and Scottish. Catholics make up 53% of the population, while Christians as a whole make up 64%. Islam is the largest non Christian religion, with 8% of the riding being Muslim. The riding also has a high irreligious population at 24%. The riding is poorer than the province as a whole, with the median income being $23,000 and the average income being $34,000.


The riding was created in 1994 when the ridings of Saint-Henri (which was made up of Saint-Henri, Côte-Saint-Paul and Ville-Émard) and Sainte-Anne (which was made up of Griffintown, Little Burgundy and Pointe-Saint-Charles, plus part of Verdun) was merged. Both ridings had gone Liberal continuously since 1981, and have also gone Liberal ever since being merged together. Both ridings went PQ in 1976, the only time the riding has ever voted for the PQ.

While the riding hasn't gone PQ since 1976, there have been some close races since. In the riding's first election after it merged in 1994, the Liberals only won the seat by 641 votes over the PQ. The 1995 referendum was also close, with the “No” side winning 53% to 47%. Since then, the Liberals have won the seat in every election by a margin of two to three thousand, except for in 2003, when they won by over 6000 votes and in 2014, when they won by over 11000 votes.

List of MNAs:


Montréal-Centre (1867-1890)
E.B. Carter, Cons. (1867-1871)
L.H. Holton, Liberal (1871-1874)
Chas. Alexander, Liberal (1874-1875)
A.W. Ogilvie, Cons. (1875-1878)
H.A. Nelson, Liberal (1878-1881)
G.W. Stephens Sr., Liberal (1881-1886)
Jas. McShane, Liberal (1886-1890)

Montréal Division No. 6 (1890-1912)

Jas. McShane, Liberal (1890-1892) continued
P. Kennedy, Cons. (1892-1895)
J.J.E. Guerin, Liberal (1895-1904)
M.J. Walsh, Liberal (1904-1908)
Denis Tansey, Cons. (1908)
M.J. Walsh, Liberal (1908-1912) 2nd time

MontréalSainte-Anne (1912-1966)

Denis Tansey, Cons. (1912-1919) 2nd time
B.-A. Conroy, Liberal (1919-1923)
W.J. Hushion, Liberal (1923-1924)
J.H. Dillon, Liberal (1924-1935)
F.L. Connors, Liberal (1935-1942)
Thos. Guerin, Liberal (1942-1948)
F. Hanley, Ind. (1948-1966)

Sainte-Anne (1966-1970)

F. Hanley, Ind. (1966-1970) continued
G.P.G. Springate, Liberal (1970-1976)
J.-M. Lacoste, P.Q. (1976-1981)
M. Polak, Liberal (1981-1989)
Normand Cherry, Liberal (1989-1994)


Hochelaga (1867-1912)

Louis Beaubien, Cons. (1867-1886)
J.-O. Villeneuve, Cons. (1886-1887)
Chas. Champagne, Liberal (1888-1890)
J.-O. Villeneuve, Cons. (1890-1897)
D.-J. Décaire, Liberal (1897-1904)
J.-L. Décaire, Liberal (1904-1912)

Montréal-Hochelaga (1912-1923)

Séverin Letourneau, Liberal (1912-1919)
J.-H. Bédard, Liberal (1919-1923)

MontréalSaint-Henri (1923-1966)

J.A. Bray, Cons (1923-1927)
A. Leduc, Liberal (1927-1931)
J.-M. Gabias, Liberal (1931-1935)
W.-E. Laurailt, A.L.N. (1935-1936)
René Labelle, U.N. (1936-1939)
Émile Boucher, Liberal (1939-1944)
J.-H. Delisle, U.N. (1944-1952)
P. Lalonde, Liberal (1952-1966)

Saint-Henri (1966-1994)

C. Martellani, U.N. (1966-1970)
Gérard Shanks, Liberal (1970-1976)
Jacques Couture, P.Q. (1976-1981)
Roma Hains, Liberal (1981-1989)
Ms. Nicole Loiselle, Liberal (1989-1994)

Saint-Henri–Sainte-Anne (1994-present)

Ms. Nicole Loiselle, Liberal (1994-2007) continued
Ms. Marguerite Blais, Liberal (2007-2015)

Political geography

In both 2008 and 2012, the Liberals have been able to win the seat by winning large margins in the more diverse north end of the riding, specifically in Little Burgundy and Griffintown. The rest of the riding is more of a mix between the PQ and the Liberals, with the PQ being the strongest in Saint-Henri, Côte-Saint-Paul and Ville-Émard.

In 2014, the large margin in which the Liberals won the seat meant that they had swept nearly every poll in the riding, including winning all the polls in Saint-Henri. The PQ was left with a handful of polls in the south, in Côte-Saint-Paul and Ville-Émard. The Liberals were especially strong in Little Burgundy, where they won 74% of the vote. Their next best neighbourhood was next-door Griffintown where they won 65% of the vote. The PQ's best neighbourhood was Côte-Saint-Paul, where they won 29% of the vote. Côte-Saint-Paul was also the best neighbourhood for the CAQ, winning 15% of the vote there. And Quebec Solidaire won 16% of the vote in Saint-Henri (finishing ahead of the CAQ), which was their best neighbourhood. Neither the QS or the CAQ won any polls.
2014 results by neighbourhood


The Liberal candidate here is Dominique Anglade, who is the former president of the CAQ. She announced in September that she had left the party, saying it no longer represented her views. Anglade had previously run for the CAQ. in Fabre in 2012. Anglade is an engineer by training and the daughter of Haitian immigrants. Running against Anglade for the PQ is health director Gabrielle Lemieux. The CAQ is running Dawson College student Louis-Philippe Boulanger and Quebec Solidaire is running lawyer Marie-Eve Rancourt.

Considering the PQ hasn't won in this riding since 1976, it is unlikely they will do so in this by-election. I expect the Liberals to easily retain the seat.


Whenever we have a day with a lot of by-elections, there is always talk about “wins” and “losses” for each party. For the Liberals, they need to retain their three seats for this to be a “win”. A loss for them would be losing Beauce-Sud to the CAQ, even if they retain their other two seats. For the PQ, they are unlikely to gain any seats tonight, so they need to keep their one riding, and make vote share gains in the other three ridings for this to be a win for them. A close result (or a loss) in René-Lévesque would mean a very bad night for the PQ. For the CAQ, winning Beauce-Sud would mean a huge night for them, especially considering how terrible the last by-election night was (when they lost Chauveau to the Liberals in June). A loss for them would be not even being competitive there. And finally for Quebec Solidaire, they have nothing to really gain (and nothing to lose) in these by-elections. A win for them would be just increasing their vote share. Not doing so would be a big lose for them, considering their recent poll numbers.

We'll find out the winners and losers when the polls close at 8pm.