Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau celebrates with Emmanuel Dubourg who won the federal byelection in the Montreal riding of Bourassa Monday night. Graham Hughes/Canadian Press
The Liberals have won two of today's four federal byelections — those in Toronto and Montreal, CBC's Decision Desk projects, with the Tories hanging on to one Manitoba riding while the other race in the province remains too close to call.
CBC's Decision Desk projects that in Toronto Centre, Liberal candidate Chrystia Freeland has defeated NDP candidate Linda McQuaig and that Liberal candidate Emmanuel Dubourg has won in Montreal's Bourassa riding. Conservative candidate Ted Falk claimed victory in the riding of Provencher in Manitoba.
Meanwhile, results in the other Manitoba riding of Brandon-Souris are too close to call, with Liberal candidate Rolf Dinsdale in a neck-and-neck race with Tory candidate Larry Maguire, a prominent provincial MLA.
"The NDP is no longer the hopeful optimistic party of Jack Layton," Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau said in Montreal. 'It is the Liberal Party tonight that proved that hope is stronger than fear."
The race in Toronto Centre had shaped up into a contest between two journalists; Freeland, a former Reuters executive and author, and McQuaig, an author and former Toronto Star columnist. But with 206 out of 268 polls in, Freeland led McQuaig by a substantial margin — 49 per cent to 36 per cent.
In the Liberal stronghold of Bourassa, Dubourg, who won 48 per cent of the vote, will be replacing former Liberal MP Denis Coderre, who stepped down to run for municipal office and is the city's newly elected mayor.
Stéphane Moraille, a former singer in the musical group Bran Van 3000, the candidate for the NDP, came in second with 31 per cent.
In Provencher, Falk recorded a big victory, winning 58 per cent of the vote compared to Liberal candidate Terry Hayward who trailed with 30 per cent support.
The longtime Tory stronghold was most recently represented by former cabinet minister Vic Toews, who retired from politics in July after almost 13 years as the area's MP.
Of the four contests, the byelection in Brandon-Souris had become a priority for the party leaders as the normally Conservative stronghold was seen to be vulnerable, in part because the nomination process for Maguire rankled some Tories.
Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau has personally visited the riding three times, NDP Leader Tom Mulcair has visited twice and several federal Conservative cabinet ministers have made the trek to the riding.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper, who has for weeks fended off opposition attacks about the Senate spending scandal, took the unprecedented step of sending a personal letter to Brandon constituents — an indicator of what's at stake in this riding.
Since Trudeau was chosen as the federal Liberal leader last spring, the party has risen from third place in the polls, back into first place, with the Conservatives slightly behind. The NDP has sunk back to its traditional third-place slot.