OTTAWA – Justin Trudeau’s Liberals beat back a Conservative byelection challenge to hang on to the Toronto riding of Scarborough-Agincourt on Monday.
Arnold Chan, a lawyer and former political aide at the Ontario legislature, kept the east Toronto riding in the Liberal fold, besting elementary school teacher and Conservative candidate Trevor Ellis.
In Trinity-Spadina, long a New Democrat riding once held by Olivia Chow, widow of beloved former NDP leader Jack Layton, Liberal superstar Adam Vaughan defeated New Democrat hopeful Joe Cressy.
In Alberta’s oilsands heartland, Tory candidate David Yurdiga, former reeve and Athabasca county councillor, defeated Liberal Kyle Harrietha in the riding of Fort McMurray-Athabasca.
Further south in the riding of Macleod, meanwhile, former journalist John Barlow was cruising to victory with about 68 per cent of the vote, well clear of Liberal rival Dustin Fuller.
Barlow wasted little time before declaring victory Monday.
“This is the culmination of eight months of hard work and it definitely feels worthwhile today. I thought this day would never come,” Barlow said in a victory speech that came just 30 minutes after the polls closed.
More than 100 supporters cheered loudly when he entered the Italian restaurant in High River accompanied by his wife Louise and children.
“What this really came down to was passion and how hard we worked. The message we had is Macleod is not going to be forgotten. We cannot take Macleod for granted.”
There was little doubt the Conservatives would prevail in the longtime Tory fortress. But there was plenty to watch in the other three byelections.
Scarborough-Agincourt had long been the personal fiefdom of Jim Karygiannis, a bare-knuckle political brawler who held the riding for the Grits for 25 years.
His decision to retire from federal politics to run municipally gave the Conservatives an opportunity to paint another suburban Toronto riding blue, appealing to the conservative, family values of the ethnically diverse population.
But despite papering the riding with flyers attacking Trudeau’s support for legalization of marijuana, Conservatives didn’t make much of a dent in Liberal support. Chan actually managed to increase the Liberal margin of victory.