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Canada: PM Calls Two Byelections for Nov. 17
Source: ottawacitizen.com
Source Date: Sunday, October 12, 2014
Focus: Electronic and Mobile Government, ICT for MDGs, Citizen Engagement, Internet Governance
Country: Canada
Created: Oct 14, 2014

Prime Minister Stephen Harper on Sunday set Nov. 17 for byelections in former finance minister Jim Flaherty’s riding of Whitby-Oshawa in Ontario and for the vacant Yellowhead seat in Alberta.

Harper had until Oct. 25 to call a byelection in Whitby-Oshawa, which has been vacant since Jim Flaherty, Canada’s former finance minister, died in April at the age of 64.

He had until March 17 to set a date for Yellowhead, where former Conservative MP Rob Merrifield stepped down last month to work as Alberta’s envoy to the U.S. But with the next general federal election set for no later than Oct. 19, 2015 under Canada’s fixed election law, Harper is opting to call the byelection now rather than force Yellowhead voters to the polls twice in a year.

Harper has already made a campaign-style stop in Flaherty’s former riding. In a news conference last week at the Abilities Centre in Whitby, a facility Flaherty helped establish, Harper announced that his government will be doubling the child fitness tax credit as promised.

Whitby Mayor Pat Perkins captured the riding’s Conservative nomination in late September.

The official Opposition NDP has nominated Trish McAuliffe, a local activist who ran for the party in 2011 and finished second to Flaherty.

The federal Liberal candidate is Celina Caesar-Chavannes, an entrepreneur and research consultant. The Green party is expecting to nominate a candidate soon.

Riding redistribution will see the Whitby-Oshawa boundaries change significantly for the next federal election.

Much of the riding will be retained in the renamed constituency of Whitby, with chunks carved off to the adjacent Durham and Oshawa ridings.

Flaherty had held the Whitby-Oshawa riding since capturing it in the 2006 federal election that propelled Stephen Harper and the Conservatives into power. The Liberals previously held the riding prior to Flaherty winning it in 2006.

Yellowhead, long held by the Conservative Party and its predecessors, also will be realigned, with sections joining Peace River-Westlock, one of 30 new seats across the country to be added to the House of Commons in the next vote.

The Conservatives hold 161 of the current 308 seats, including 71 of 106 in Ontario.

The NDP holds 97 seats across Canada and 20 in Ontario. The Liberals have 37 seats countrywide and 12 in Canada’s largest province.

The federal Green party holds two seats in the Commons, including one in Ontario, the Bloc Québécois two seats, with seven Independent MPs (one from Ontario), and two vacant ridings (including Whitby-Oshawa).
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