Prime Minister Trudeau has set June 19th as the date four byelections in four ridings that are vacant. Two were Liberal ridings and two were Conservative.
Notre-Dame-de-Grace in Montreal was the seat held by Marc Garneau, the former astronaut who announced his retirement earlier this year. Garneau had served as Transport Minister and Foreign Affairs Minister, in the first two Trudeau terms but was excluded from Cabinet after the 2021 election, prompting his friend Peter Trent to opine in a National Post op-ed piece, “having Garneau turfed out of cabinet showed an egregious lack of judgment on the part of the prime minister. A cynic might say that Garneau’s rare skills, brainpower and ethics made Trudeau uncomfortable and that he prefers to surround himself with less demanding, more malleable cabinet ministers.” The riding is considered a safe Liberal seat and one of those contesting the Liberal nomination is Former Liberal Party president Anna Gainey a Trudeau insider.
In Oxford one of the safest Conservative seats in Canada, there is controversy over outside interference in the nomination process. The seat became vacant when long-time MP Dave MacKenzie resigned after 19 years. One of the candidates to replace him was his daughter, Deb Tait a veteran Woodstock City Councillor. Instead the nomination went to Arpan Khanna, a parachute candidate from Brampton who was endorsed by Pierre Poilievre. Two members of the local Conservative riding association have resigned in protest over what they call a hijacking of the nomination, and ex-MP MacKenzie has thrown his support to the Liberal candidate.
Winnipeg South Centre was held by Liberal Jim Carr, a popular MP and former cabinet minister who died last December. His son Ben Carr has been nominated by the Liberals.
The Manitoba riding of Portage-Lisgar is considered a safe Conservative seat. It was held by Candace Bergen who announced her retirement in February. Maxime Bernier, the head of the People’s Party of Canada, has decided to contest the seat, saying the Conservative Candidate, Brandon Leslie, a former Conservative campaign manager, is a ‘fake’ Conservative. Bernier’s party captured 22 percent of the vote in the federal election in the riding.
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