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Upcoming byelections to provide glimpse of 2019's decisive battlegrounds

Upcoming byelections to provide glimpse of 2019's decisive battlegrounds
From CBC - November 7, 2017

The 2019 federal election will likely be decided by voters in the suburbs in and around Toronto and Vancouver. What those voters might be thinking will be hinted at in two of the four federal byelections called for Dec. 11.

On Sunday, the Liberals announced that byelections would take place next month inthe ridings of BattlefordsLloydminster (Saskatchewan), BonavistaBurinTrinity (Newfoundland and Labrador), ScarboroughAgincourt (Ontario) and South SurreyWhite Rock (British Columbia).

The Liberals hold the two easternmost seats, while the Conservatives are the incumbents in the two westernmost ridings.

BattlefordsLloydminster and BonavistaBurinTrinity are not expected to be up for grabs.

The Conservatives' Gerry Ritz won the Saskatchewan riding by a margin of 43 points in 2015andheld it since he was first elected as a Reform MP in 1997. He announced his resignation in August.

The New Democrats last held a part of the riding between 1988 and 1997, but it has otherwise been a reliably safe seat for the Conservatives. Polls have suggested no significant movement in support in Saskatchewan since the 2015 federal election, so it is unlikely that anything is afoot that would flip BattlefordsLloydminster out of Conservative handsor even make it competitive.

Nobody won his or her riding in the 2015 election by a wider margin than Judy Foote did in BonavistaBurinTrinity,beating her Conservative rival by 71.7 points. She also announced her resignation in August.

The area has been splitacrossmultiple ridings in the past, but the region has been a safe one for the Liberals for most of its history in Confederation. Even in the disastrous campaign of 2011, the Liberals won all three of the ridings that share territory with BonavistaBurinTrinity.

Voting intentions have only gotten better for the Liberals in Newfoundland and Labrador. After taking 64.5 per cent of the vote in the province two years ago, the latest polls by MQO Research and Corporate Research Associatesput it at 70 to 72 per cent, respectively.

South SurreyWhite Rock was close in 2015

Dianne Watts, who resigned her South SurreyWhite Rock seat to run for the leadership of the provincial B.C. Liberal Partyin September, won her riding in a close contest in 2015. Under the banner of the Conservative Party, Watts captured 44 per cent of the vote against 41.5 per cent for the Liberals' Judy Higginbotham. Less than 1,500 votes separated the two.

Watts, a former mayor of Surrey, was a high profile candidate for the Conservatives two years ago. Her departure opens up an opportunity for Justin Trudeau's Liberals, who will likely present a high profile candidate of their own: Gordon Hogg, a former mayor of White Rock and the B.C. Liberal MLA for SurreyWhite Rock from 1997 to 2017.

The suburban vote in ScarboroughAgincourt

Poor options for NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh

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