By-election brouhaha

McQuaig challenges Freeland and Brandon-Souris is tight
Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau holds a press conference on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Tuesday, September 17, 2013., with new Liberal candidate for Toronto Centre Chrystia Freeland. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick

The Prime Minister officially announced four by-elections yesterday with the votes set for November 25 and Linda McQuaig, the NDP candidate in Toronto-Centre, promptly challenged Chrystia Freeland, the Liberal candidate, to a debate on income inequality.

Forum gives the early advantage to Ms. Freeland, as well as fellow Liberal Emmanual Dubourg in Bourassa. Previous to 2011, both of those ridings would’ve been considered safe Liberal holds, now they function as tests of strength between the Liberals and New Democrats.

The real intrigue comes in the already wildly entertaining race for Brandon-Souris, where Forum finds a three-point Liberal advantage. Granted, that poll comes with a five-point margin for error, but even that leaves room for a much closer race than one might have expected in a seemingly safe Conservative riding.