A pair of federal byelections in which the ridings weren't anticipated to change hands have turned into close races, with the Conservatives and Liberals in a tight battle in Calgary Centre and the NDP and Green Party in an unexpectedly narrow contest in Victoria.
In a race that's been tight since the results first started pouring in, Conservative Joan Crockatt has maintained an advantage of a few percentage points in Calgary Centre all night over her Liberal counterpart, Harvey Locke. The Greens' Chris Turner appears to be the deciding factor, with a strong showing that's likely taken votes away from the Liberals in a riding that's been painted Tory blue since 1968.
Very early results out of Victoria show a close battle between the Green Party's Donald Galloway and NDP candidate Murray Rankin. With nearly a third of polls reporting, Rankin was leading with 36.6 per cent to Galloway's 36.3.
It appeared the momentum garnered in British Columbia by Green Party Leader Elizabeth May's victory in her riding in last year's general election was helping the Greens, who were way up this time around in Victoria after taking only 11 per cent of the vote in the 2011 federal election.
Early in the evening, CBC's decision desk projected Conservative Erin O'Toole will win Monday's third byelection, in Durham, retaining the Tory seat in the riding northeast of Toronto. The seat was formerly held by onetime Conservative MP and cabinet minister Bev Oda before she resigned in July under a public uproar about her ministerial expenses.
The three byelections being settled Monday night have created a lot more heat and noise than mid-term votes usually do.
Calgary Centre caused the biggest fuss after polling showed the Tory stronghold under an unprecedented threat from a Liberal contender — and sparked a full-force Conservative response to some regionally divisive comments by a couple of Liberals, including leadership hopeful Justin Trudeau.
Elections Canada spokesman John Enright said there were lineups when some polls opened in Calgary Centre early Monday.
Victoria and Durham were also hard-fought affairs as every party tests the electoral waters for the general election of 2015, when the Conservatives will have been in power for nine years.
Here's a quick look at the three contests:
What: A Tory stronghold that sits next to Prime Minister Stephen Harper's riding.
Why: Veteran Conservative MP Lee Richardson resigned to take a post as chief of staff to Alberta Premier Alison Redford.
- Joan Crockatt, Conservative.
- Harvey Locke, Liberal.
- Chris Turner, Green.
- Dan Meades, NDP.
What: A Vancouver Island riding once held by Sir John A. Macdonald, but more recently held for more than 10 years by the Liberals until it was won by the NDP in 2006.
Why: New Democrat Denise Savoie resigned due to health issues.
- Murray Rankin, NDP.
- Donald Galloway, Green.
- Dale Gann, Conservative.
- Paul Summerville, Liberal.
What: A riding northeast of Toronto that was held for more than a decade by the Liberals, but has been Conservative since 2004.
Why: Former Conservative cabinet minister Bev Oda resigned last summer after a series of controversies.
- Erin O'Toole, Conservative.
- Grant Hume, Liberal.
- Larry O'Connor, NDP.
- Virginia Ervin, Green.
With files from CBC's Hannah Thibedeau and The Canadian Press
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