Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Four Federal Byelections to Be Held June 30 in Mini-Preview of Bigger Battle

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Four Federal Byelections to Be Held June 30 in Mini-Preview of Bigger Battle

Article excerpt

PM announces four byelections for June 30


OTTAWA - The federal Conservatives are keeping expectations modest for their prospects in four byelections -- two in Alberta, two in Ontario -- set for the end of June.

"We all know majority governments don't typically fare well in byelections, the opposition parties do," said Cory Hann, communications director of the Conservative Party.

"And these rounds we don't expect to be any different."

The Conservatives anticipate hanging on to the two Alberta ridings but do not expect to win more than 10 per cent of the vote in each of two Toronto-area contests, said one senior Tory insider, who spoke on condition they not be named.

"The two Ontario ridings, I think the writing's on the wall on those," said the source, who picked Justin Trudeau's Liberals to win both fights.

"If there's a race, the two horses in that race are going to be the NDP and Liberals."

Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced Sunday that voters in the four ridings would go to the polls Mon., June 30, in the middle of what for many will be the four-day Canada Day weekend.

The timing, and unusually long seven-week campaign period, were intended to steer completely clear of the June 12 Ontario election, the Conservative insider said.

The byelections will provide a glimpse of the fevered political jostling well underway in the runup to a general ballot next year.

The Alberta constituency of Fort McMurray-Athabasca was vacated by Conservative MP Brian Jean, who stepped down in January, citing a desire to spend more time with his family.

Conservative MP Ted Menzies resigned his southern Alberta seat in the riding of Macleod in November to become president and chief executive officer of CropLife Canada, a trade association for plant-life technologies.

"We'll likely hang on to those," the Conservative source said. "That said, we're obviously not going to take them for granted. It being a byelection, it's always a different beast."

Trudeau is working to prove the Tories wrong, campaigning in Fort McMurray-Athabasca during the weekend with candidate Kyle Harrietha and tweeting that there's an "appetite for change" in the region, a hub for oilsands development. …

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