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A major upset: Five Tweets on the Conservatives winning the Toronto-St. Paul’s by-election

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Conservative Party Leader Pierre Poilievre speaks during a rally in Ottawa, on Sunday, March 24, 2024. Spencer Colby/The Canadian Press.

In a late-night nail biter last night, the Conservatives won the Toronto-St. Paul’s riding for the first time since the 1980s. The midtown urban riding has long been considered one of the safest Liberal seats in Canada.

At 4:00 a.m. today, Don Stewart, a former financial and investment advisor on Bay Street, flipped the riding blue by approximately 590 votes, or 1.6 percent. He had breached a Liberal stronghold.

Stewart’s primary opponent was Liberal candidate Leslie Church, former chief of staff to Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland.

Several pollsters and pundits contended before the byelection results trickled in that a Conservative win and a Liberal loss in the riding may pressure Prime Minister Trudeau to step down as Liberal leader and indicate a future majority Conservative government led by Pierre Poilievre.

Here are five Tweets on the Toronto-St Paul’s by-election.

Polling aggregator 338 had the Liberals winning Toronto-St Paul’s by four percent in their latest projection. Other pollsters and commentators figured that the Conservatives may come close, with that being a symbolic victory in and of itself. But, much to the shock of spectators all over the country, the Conservatives pulled off what some journalists are describing as, “one of the biggest by-election upsets in Canadian history.”

For weeks, Liberal cabinet ministers, along with the prime minister, have been descending on the riding to door-knock and drum up support.

On the morning of by-election day, Chrystia Freeland gave a speech where she claimed that the Conservative choice in the Toronto-St. Paul’s race was “cold, and cruel and small.” She also implied that voting for the Conservatives, whom she called “the alternative,” would be a vote for austerity and a lack of belief in Canada. It was received by many online eye-rolls.

The by-election results were not solidified until the day after the vote, which might be attributed to the near-metre-long ballot consisting of 84 candidates. An activist group called the Longest Ballot Committee has taken responsibility for many of the independent candidates on the ballot, saying they are “having fun and breaking records until the electoral reform promised is delivered.” During the 2015 election, Liberal leader Justin Trudeau promised that vote would be the last one under the first-past-the-post system.

As the by-election results slowly began to trickle out, the Edmonton Oilers lost a hard-fought game seven of the 2024 Stanley Cup final to the Florida Panthers.

Eventually, however, the results came through.

Don Stewart will be the next Honourable Member for Toronto-St. Paul’s, making him the first Conservative to take the seat since 1988. The Liberals won the seat in 1993. Carolyn Bennett, a well-known cabinet minister, represented the Liberal stronghold from 1997 until this year, when she was appointed Canada’s ambassador to Denmark.

The Conservatives gained 16.8 percent in this by-election, compared to their performance in the 2021 federal election.

The by-election results might suggest that political winds of change are blowing through Canada. If what was once seen as a safe seat for the Liberals can be flipped, an even bigger swing could be possible in the next federal election, expected before October 2025.

David Coletto, CEO of Abacus Data, finds that the Conservatives can flip upwards of 50 Liberal seats in Ontario alone, based on the historic outcome of the Toronto-St. Paul’s by-election.

All eyes are now on Prime Minister Trudeau to see if he will take the loss to heart and step down—a moment his critics are anxiously awaiting. Still, some Conservatives think his departure might not be a net positive for the coming campaign, given how Poilievre has honed his attacks against the Liberal leader, who has now governed Canada for almost a decade.

The Week in Polling: The capital gains hike, increased immigration, the Munk Debate on antisemitism, and the impact of Trump’s conviction on voters

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Republican presidential candidate former President Donald Trump at a campaign event, June 18, 2024, in Racine, Wis. AP Photo/Jeffrey Phelps

This is The Week in Polling, your Saturday dose of interesting numbers from top pollsters in Canada and around the world, curated by The Hub. Here’s what we’re looking at this week.

One in five Canadians say increasing the capital gains inclusion rate will cost them more over the next five years, contrary to government estimates

Next Tuesday, Canadians will see an increase in the capital gains inclusion rate. The inclusion rate will rise from 50 to 67 percent on any gains realized above $250,000 annually for individuals.

The Trudeau government estimates that a mere 0.13 percent of Canadians will be affected by the tax change this year. However, one in five Canadians beg to differ, saying that it will cost them at least a little more within the next five years. According to this Angus Reid poll, Canadians who say they will be paying more in tax because of the increase are from all incomes and political affiliations, though upper-middle to upper-class Conservative Party voters indicate that they will be hit the hardest.

Defending the increase, Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland said, “It is fair to ask those who are doing really well to contribute a little bit more.”