(CHICOUTIMI, QC) – The Liberals took another beating at the polls, this time in the federal riding by-election in Chicoutimi–Le Fjord. Quebec voters overwhelmingly rejected Liberal candidate Lina Boivin in favour of sending Conservative Richard Martel to the House of Commons in Ottawa.
Voters were called to the polls in the rural riding northeast of Quebec City after the resignation of sitting Liberal MP Denis Lemieux. Citing personal reasons, which were never expanded upon, Lemieux departed Ottawa last fall.
Chicoutimi-Le Fjord had been previously held for three terms by the former PC party in the 1980s and 90s before falling to an 8-year reign by the Bloq Quebecois. One NDP MP was bookended by Liberals up until Lemieux’s sudden departure.
By taking 52.7% of the vote, Martel, a former QMHL hockey coach, and the Conservatives handed the Justin Trudeau Liberals their first by-election defeat where the seat had been held by the Liberals.
It was also the first since the harbinger implosion of the Kathleen Wynne Liberals in Ontario’s general election on June 7. Martel’s margin of victory was just short of doubling Boivin’s 29.5% and well ahead of the NDP’s Éric Dubois at 8.7%. The collapse by the NDP, from their 2015 result of 30%, reflects the discord in Quebec with Thomas Mulcair.
“Quebeckers and Canadians are tired of seeing the Prime Minister evolving in his world of high deficits and tax increases,” said Conservative leaders Andrew Scheer.
The Ontario riding of Leeds–Grenville–Thousand Islands and Rideau Lakes, the heart of a Conservative stronghold, remains the only vacant federal seat. The Speaker’s Warrant was received on May 3 and a by-election could be called between June 25 and October 30.
The House of Commons is now home to 183 Liberal members, 97 Conservative, 43 NDP, 5 Bloq, 5 Québec debout, 1 Green Party, 1 Co-operative Commonwealth Federation, 2 Independent, and 1 vacant seat.
Chicoutimi–Le Fjord By-Election Results
- Richard Martel (Conservative) – 12,580 (52.7%)
- Lina Boivin (Liberal) – 7,032 (29.5%)
- Éric Dubois (NDP) – 2,065 (8.7%)
- Catherine Bouchard-Tremblay (Bloc Québécois) – 1,337 (5.6%)
- Lynda Youde (Green) – 736 (3.1%)
- John The Engineer Turmel (Independent) – 104 (0.4%)