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By-elections: Annamie Paul’s second place in Toronto Center is a victory


FRANCOPRESSE – Annamie Paul, the new leader of the Green Party of Canada, made a bet to be elected in Toronto-Center, a constituency where she obtained only 7% of the vote in the 2019 general election. finally finished second behind liberal candidate Marci Ien in the October 26 by-election.

Bruno Cournoyer Paquin – Francopresse

The latter obtained 42% of the votes in Toronto Center, followed by the green Annamie Paul with 32.7% of the vote, then by the New Democrat Brian Chang with 17%.

The seat was vacant since resignation by Bill Morneau, former Minister of Finance, on August 17 in the wake of the UNIS scandal.

Annamie Paul, leader of the Green Party of Canada and candidate for Toronto-Center, maintains that this second place indicates that the Green Party has “every chance” to make gains in the next general election. Credit: Rebecca Wood

A victory despite everything

This second place should be seen as a victory by Annamie Paul, believes Professor Geneviève Tellier, of the School of Political Studies at the University of Ottawa.

“I am not at all surprised to see that she made this score. In fact, if she had not finished second, then we would be asking questions. She did the performance she had to do. We didn’t expect her to win the riding, ”explains the professor.

In an interview with Francopresse, Annamie Paul indicates that it is not certain that she will be the candidate of the Green Party in Toronto-Center during the next federal elections.

1027 Francopresse Élections partielles Toronto Annamie Paul 1 Cr. Rebecca Wood
Credit: Rebecca Wood

“It’s a discussion between me and the rest of the Green Party leadership. I had said during the leadership race that I would be ready to show up where and when collectively decided. So we are going to have discussions in the coming days, ”explains the head of the Greens.

For Geneviève Tellier, it should be noted that the Green Party preceded the NDP in this election: “It seems to say that the Green Party is an important left party. So it is no longer the NDP which has the monopoly of the left on the federal scene. ”

Annamie Paul believes that the second place obtained by the Green Party in this by-election is a good omen for the next federal election.

1027 Francopresse Élections partielles Toronto Toronto Cr. Patrick Neil Wikimedia Commons
The seat in Toronto Center had been vacant since Bill Morneau, former finance minister, resigned on August 17 in the wake of the UNIS scandal. Credit: Patrick Neil – Wikimedia Commons

“Toronto Center is a stronghold of the Liberal Party and a riding where the NDP normally receives at least 25% of the vote; if we were able in three weeks to move up to second place and receive up to 25% more votes […] that is incredible. It means that we are competitive and that people are finally ready to vote for the Green Party! ” she exclaims.

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A close fight in York Center

There was also a by-election in York Center, where the race was bitter between liberal Ya’ara Sacks and conservative Julius Tiangson.

The liberal candidate won with 45.7% of the vote, while her conservative rival followed behind with 41.8% of the vote. The constituency sent Liberal MPs to Ottawa in the last two general elections.

1027 Francopresse Élections partielles Toronto Geneviève Tellier Cr. Archives Francopresse
For Geneviève Tellier, professor at the School of Political Studies at the University of Ottawa, these byelections constituted a vote on the management of the COVID-19 crisis by the Trudeau government. Credit: Francopresse Archives

For Geneviève Tellier, these results should worry the Liberals, because they indicate that the Conservatives can be competitive even in regions like Toronto, which seemed to be won over by the Liberals.

The leader of the People’s Party of Canada, Maxime Bernier, also ran for York-Center and got away with 3.6% of the vote. A result in the continuity of what he obtained during the last general election, observes Geneviève Tellier.

“I have the impression that Mr. Bernier’s party will not take. People are not interested in this kind of proposal, and will go more to the Conservative Party than to Mr. Bernier, ”concludes the political scientist.

“Usually by-elections, it’s not very important for the government in power. But there, it is perhaps a bit like having a sounding of its crisis management, that is to say checking whether the voters are satisfied with the liberal government and if they approve of its crisis management ”, according to professor Geneviève Tellier.


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