And speaking of obviously, the Tories had a pretty good night, too – except for their continued electoral irrelevance in Montreal – and the Bloc had a pretty bad one (although they can still turn to one another and wistfully say “we’ll always have Saint-Hyacinthe”)
NDP candidate Thomas Mulcair’s victory in Outremont seemed to come largely by taking votes from the Bloc – not bad for an anglo running in a largely francophone riding (which happens to be right next door to Gilles Duceppe’s riding, it should be noted). The trend for the NDP in Quebec seems to be that once every 17 years, a star anglo candidate will take a francophone riding in a by-election. Keep your eyes open for any riding vacancies in 2024.
It’s worth remembering, though, that Phil Edmonston – the only other Quebec NDP MP in history – only sat in Parliament for three years before quitting politics. His seat was taken by the Bloc the first election after he left, and held by them ever since. Mulcair won’t have very long to consolidate his support before he faces the voters again in a general election.
Also worth noting: Last night was a huge tactical victory for Stephen Harper, who has been known to score a tactical victory or two. He decided to call three by-elections in Quebec only, when there are – in fact – four other vacant seats outside of Quebec, each of which the Liberals could have won.
If, instead of being shut out, last night saw the Liberals retain four seats, the headlines this morning would have been different, and the perception that Stéphane Dion screwed up would have been muted.
UPDATE: Andrew Coyne’s take is that the Bloc suffered a worse blow last night than did the Libs.
UPDATE # 2: Kady O’Malley offers advice to both the votelorn and the vote-happy.