Liberals score upset victory in Quebec by-election
The Liberals beat the Bloc Québécois in a hard-fought by-election in the riding of Lac-Saint-Jean, scoring an upset victory that owes much to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's personal popularity in Quebec.
The final results proved disappointing for the Conservatives, who lost the riding that they had held for a decade, as well as for the NDP that finished a distant fourth under the leadership of Jagmeet Singh.
This was the first by-election in this Parliament in which the incumbent party failed to keep its seat. Liberal officials now hope that the victory of Richard Hébert, a local mayor, foreshadows their ability to win seats in the next election in ridings that have traditionally been hostile to their party.
Mr. Hébert won the riding with 38 per cent of the votes, giving him a 14-point lead over Bloc candidate Marc Maltais and Tory hopeful Rémy Leclerc.
In the 2015 general election, the Conservatives won the riding with a five-point lead over the second-place NDP, while the Liberals and the Bloc Québécois finished in a near tie, 15 points behind the Conservatives.
Located northeast of Quebec City, the largely francophone and nationalist riding of Lac-Saint-Jean has traditionally been "bleu" – either of the Conservative or the Bloc Québécois hue.
The Liberals won only once in recent decades, in 1980, for a single mandate. Since 1984, the riding, which has seen its boundaries grow over time, has voted twice for Brian Mulroney's Progressive Conservatives, five times for the Bloc Québécois and four times for Stephen Harper's Conservatives.