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Election review

DAN CEARNS The Standard

The federal by-election, in the Durham riding, has been completed now, and, Jamil Jivani has been named the new Member of Parliament.

In a column earlier this year, I wrote, I would be keeping a close eye on this by-election and now I think there are a few things which can be gleaned from the results.

First off, the riding remains a stronghold for the Conservative Party of Canada. Mr. Jivani, the Conservative candidate, received 57.4 percent of votes cast in the riding. His vote share was 18,610 votes. Between him and Liberal candidate Robert Rock, there was a difference of 11,325 votes, so, it was a strong victory for the Conservative Party. To put the percentage in perspective, in MP Erin O’Toole’s last election, in 2021, he received 46.39 percent of votes cast. This was at a time when he was the Conservative Party’s leader.

This election also could be a bad sign for the Liberal Party. Looking at the difference between the 2021 election and this by-election, the Liberal Party candidate received 29.9 percent of votes in the riding. In this by-election, the Liberal candidate received 22.4 percent of votes. This was a by-election which many longtime party members got involved in, during the campaign, including the Prime Minister.

Also, voter apathy is still a factor across the country. Elections Canada found, just 27.8 percent, of the over 116,000 eligible voters in the riding, cast their ballot in this by-election. That means over 70 percent of voters did not take part in the by-election.

Unfortunately, this just continues a trend in every type of election in Canada.

In the 2022 municipal elections, for example, Scugog’s voter turnout was at 18.3 percent of eligible voters, and Kawartha Lakes’ was at 32 percent. No municipality in Durham reached over 40 percent of voter turnout in those elections. The last Ontario provincial election saw only 43 percent of eligible voters cast their ballots. Voter turnout in federal elections has slipped from over 68 percent in 2015 to less than 63 percent in 2021.

As someone who has covered several elections over the years, I’ve found there are always small stories or lessons which can be found from the data. This by-election was no different.

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