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By-Elections December 9, 2002 – Official Voting Results


THE TWO DECEMBER 9, 2002 BY-ELECTIONS

Introduction

This section of the Chief Electoral Officer's report on the federal by-elections held December 9, 2002, describes the circumstances leading to the call for by-elections, the electoral districts involved, the candidates of the registered political parties, the independent candidates and the candidates with no affiliation, as well as the numbers of registered electors and polling stations, and the results.

The December 9, 2002, by-elections were conducted under the Canada Elections Act that came into force in September 2000; however, a court decision on October 31, 2002, resulted in a change to the voting eligibility of incarcerated electors. The Supreme Court of Canada, in its decision in Sauvé v. Canada (Chief Electoral Officer), held that the former s. 51(e), now s. 4(c), of the Canada Elections Act, which prevents inmates serving sentences of two or more years from voting, is in breach of s. 3 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, and cannot be justified under s. 1 of that document.As a result, all incarcerated electors were entitled to vote in the December 9 by-elections, regardless of the length of the term they were serving.

The following section presents further information and summary data on the official voting results, in the form of tables. The concluding section gives the poll-by-poll results for each by-election.

Information on the administration of the May 13 and December 9, 2002, by-elections will appear in a report to be published in March 2003:

The report will be available on the Elections Canada Web site (www.elections.ca).

Calling of the by-elections

Following the resignation of two members of Parliament, by-elections for these electoral districts were held December 9, 2002.

On May 7, 2002, Stéphan Tremblay, the Bloc Québécois member for Lac-Saint-Jean–Saguenay, resigned his seat in the House of Commons.

On May 21, 2002, Michel Bellehumeur, the Bloc Québécois member for Berthier–Montcalm, resigned his seat in the House of Commons.

The writs ordering by-elections in these two electoral districts were issued on November 1, 2002, and polling day was set for Monday, December 9, 2002. Following the two resignations, the seat distribution in the House of Commons was: Liberal Party of Canada – 169 seats; Canadian Reform Conservative Alliance – 63 seats; Bloc Québécois – 35 seats; New Democratic Party – 14 seats; Progressive Conservative Party of Canada – 14 seats; Independent – 3 seats; and vacant – 3 seats.

The two electoral districts

The boundaries of the two electoral districts in which the December 9, 2002, by-elections were held were the same as those in effect during the 2000 federal general election. They coincide with the boundaries defined in the 1996 Representation Order issued pursuant to the Electoral Boundaries Readjustment Act.

TABLE 1 – List of returning officers

Electoral district Name Occupation Place of residence
Berthier–Montcalm Colette Laferrière Homemaker Saint-Félix-de-Valois
Lac-Saint-Jean–Saguenay Robert Gagné Retired Alma

Berthier–Montcalm (Quebec)
Population based on the 2001 Census: 129 230

Berthier–Montcalm

Lac-Saint-Jean–Saguenay (Quebec)
Population based on the 2001 Census: 69 043

Lac-Saint-Jean–Saguenay

 

Registered political parties and nomination of candidates

In Berthier–Montcalm, five registered parties nominated candidates: Bloc Québécois, the Canadian Reform Conservative Alliance, the Liberal Party of Canada, the New Democratic Party, and the Progressive Conservative Party of Canada.

In Lac-Saint-Jean–Saguenay, five registered parties nominated candidates: Bloc Québécois, the Canadian Reform Conservative Alliance, the Liberal Party of Canada, the New Democratic Party, and the Progressive Conservative Party of Canada. There was one independent candidate and one candidate with no affiliation.

From the date each returning officer published the Notice of Election, the candidates in the two by-elections had until 2:00 p.m. on November 18, 2002, to file their nomination papers.

Five candidates registered to run for office in Berthier–Montcalm, and seven in Lac-Saint-Jean–Saguenay. None of the candidates withdrew during the period in which a withdrawal of candidacy was permitted.

Registration of electors

The preliminary lists of electors for the two December 9, 2002, by-elections were produced from information in the National Register of Electors. The revision period for both electoral districts extended from November 6 to December 3, 2002.

The names recorded on the final lists of electors (that is, the lists prepared after polling day) numbered as follows for each of the two electoral districts:

Berthier–Montcalm 98 406
Lac-Saint-Jean–Saguenay 52 963

These lists included the names of electors who registered on election day. The number of electors who registered on polling day was:

Berthier–Montcalm 805
Lac-Saint-Jean–Saguenay 426

Polling stations

The Canada Elections Act, s. 131, sets 8:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m.as the hours of voting for by-elections held on the same day and in the same time zone. The ordinary polling stations were accordingly open from 8:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m., local time, on polling day in Berthier–Montcalm and Lac-Saint-Jean–Saguenay.

The returning officers set up 277 ordinary polling stations (273 of which were stationary) in Berthier–Montcalm, and 147 in Lac-Saint-Jean–Saguenay (of which 142 were stationary).

The Act provides for the establishment of mobile polling stations to collect the votes of seniors or persons with disabilities confined to health-care facilities. These polling stations, set up in polling divisions with more than two health-care institutions, travel from institution to institution, and remain open at each place only as long as necessary to enable the electors present to vote. In the two December 9, 2002, by-elections, 9 mobile polling stations collected the ballots of electors: 4 in Berthier–Montcalm, and 5 in Lac-Saint-Jean–Saguenay.

The returning officer in each electoral district is required to set up advance polling stations to collect the votes of electors who do not wish to go to their ordinary polling stations on polling day. The electoral district of Berthier–Montcalm had 12 advance polling stations and Lac-Saint-Jean–Saguenay had 10. All advance polling stations were open from noon to 8:00 p.m. (local time), on November 29 and 30 and December 2, 2002.

Polling results

For the seven electoral districts, the number of electors casting their ballots and the participation rates were:

Berthier–Montcalm 28 159
(28.6%)
Lac-Saint-Jean–Saguenay 18 831 (35.6%)

A total of 46 990 Canadians cast a ballot in the two by-elections. Of these electors, 43 048 (or 91.6%) voted on polling day at their ordinary polling stations.

TABLE 2 – Number of electors who voted, by voting method

Voting method Electoral district
Berthier–Montcalm Lac-Saint-Jean–Saguenay
No. % No. %
Ordinary polling stations 25 847 91.8 17 201 91.3
Advance polling stations 2 169 7.7 1 286 6.8
Special Voting Rules – Group 1* 26 0.1 32 0.2
Special Voting Rules – Group 2** 117 0.4 312 1.7
Total 28 159 100.0 18 831 100.0

*
Includes Canadian citizens temporarily residing outside Canada,members of the Canadian Forces and incarcerated electors regardless of the length of their sentences.
** Includes Canadian citizens residing in Canada who voted by special ballot in or outside their electoral districts.

Candidates elected

In the December 9, 2002, by-elections, the Bloc Québécois candidate, Roger Gaudet,was elected in Berthier–Montcalm, and the Bloc Québécois candidate, Sébastien Gagnon,was elected in Lac-Saint-Jean–Saguenay.

Following the by-elections of December 9, 2002, the distribution of seats in the House of Commons was:

Liberal Party of Canada
169
Canadian Reform Conservative Alliance 63
Bloc Québécois 37
New Democratic Party 14
Progressive Conservative Party of Canada 14
Independent 3
   
Total 300
   
Vacancy 1


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