Don’t trust in by-elections

Don’t trust in by-elections

Editor: I wished to write to you in regards to your July 7th editorial, Trudeau’s ascension – his to win, or lose. I must say I was disappointed by the piece.

To begin with, evidence suggests that by-elections are not good barometers for future outcomes. The recent elections in British Columbia and Ontario, for example, were preceded by impressive wins by the opposition parties, which translated into no appreciable gains. By-elections are reflections of their own communities, and typically against sitting governments.

The Liberal win in Toronto can be easily credited to the strong candidacy of Adam Vaughan, a city councilor, and former media personality against a relatively unknown New Democrat.

Both of the Alberta ridings had turnout below 20 per cent. With 80 per cent of the electorate in those ridings sitting at home, can any of the result be considered instructive? Why wasn’t your editorial a discussion on the abysmal turnout out, or the Prime Minister’s timing of the by-elections on a Monday sandwiched between the weekend and a national holiday?

I sincerely doubt that the Liberal caucus distancing itself from the Liberal Senators or even the abortion issue played any role at all in the vote on June 30. The Liberals captured an NDP seat with a strong candidate (which their provincial cousins won days previous), won re-election in a Liberal stronghold and were soundly defeated in Alberta.

I do not necessarily object to the analysis The Journal has put out in its editorial. Canadians are wondering if Trudeau is right to be Prime Minister, but the by-elections provide the flimsiest possible evidence in either direction. Polling may be more appropriate, but lately I wouldn’t trust that either.

Thank you for your time and I look forward to your continued excellent work.

Steven Lee
Fort Smith

Guest Author

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