Nov 18, 2014

By Scott Walker

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Experts say by-elections are a referendum on the government in power.

And the two votes held yesterday suggest voters still support the Conservative government, but they’re not necessarily happy about it.

The Tories held onto both seats last night. Former Whitby Mayor Pat Perkins defeated Liberal candidate Celina Caesar-Chavannes in Whitby-Oshawa.

But the decision was a close one. The riding had been held by former finance minister Jim Flaherty. He won the last election with 58 per cent of the vote. Perkins held onto the riding with just under half the votes.

The Liberals found something to cheer in last night’s lost. They went from a distant third in 2011 to a close second with 41 per cent. Leader Justin Trudeau told a crowd, “It was simply assumed that we would get nowhere. Well, I’ll tell you what: no one will ever make that assumption again — anywhere!”

The NDP might have something to worry about. They dropped from second place in 2011 to a distant third.

Perkins will hold onto the seat until the federal election next year.

The Conservatives held onto the other riding in Alberta. But, again, their level of support was lower than in the last general vote.

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