Let us now obsess over relatively minor events

A look at the ins and outs of tonight’s by-elections

Monday night will see the election of four new MPs to fill the vacancies left by Bill Casey, Dawn Black, Real Menard and Paul Crete. The results of these four races will no doubt be incredibly important and meaningful. At least for about 24 hours or so, after which everyone will move on to some other shiny object.

Wikipedia has past results for Cumberland—Colchester—Musquodoboit ValleyHochelagaMontmagny—L’Islet—Kamouraska—Rivière-du-Loup and New Westminster—Coquitlam. Pundits’ Guide has that plus plenty of other stuff.

By-election results on Monday night will be available through Elections Canada beginning at 10pm EST.

Various other points of note.

-There were nine by-elections during the last Parliament. Six saw the incumbent party re-elected, three saw a switch (a Bloc riding went Conservative, a Liberal riding went Conservative and a Liberal riding went NDP).

-Of the three ridings that switched, two had seen close races in the previous general election. The only truly shocking result might’ve been Thomas Mulcair’s victory in Outremont. Mind you, Mulcair was hardly an unknown before that vote, having served as a provincial cabinet minister.

-The respective Bloc vote share in the two Quebec ridings has declined in each of the two elections.

-The Conservative vote share in Montmagny has steadily increased in each of the last two elections.

-New Westminster is perhaps interesting for three reasons. First, it’s been close in each of the last three general elections. Second, the Conservative candidate is perhaps most notable for having been hidden from view. Third, Canadians have sent 4,184 men and women to the House of Commons and not one of them went by the name “Fin.” (The people of Nova Scotia did thrice send Finlay MacDonald to represent them.)

-Cumberland voters rallied around Bill Casey after he was ejected from the Conservative caucus, but save for a four year stretch in the mid-90s the riding has been strictly Conservative since its creation in 1968.

-The best the Liberal party did in any of the four ridings last fall was the 20.7% its candidate won in Hochelaga. Liberal candidates finished third in Montmagny and New Westminister, and fourth in Cumberland.