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By-elections September 17, 2007 – Official Voting Results


The September 17, 2007, Quebec by-elections in Outremont, Roberval–Lac-Saint-Jean and Saint-Hyacinthe–Bagot

Introduction

This section of the Chief Electoral Officer's report on the federal by-elections held on September 17, 2007, describes the circumstances leading to the call for the by-elections, the electoral districts involved, the candidates, the numbers of registered electors and polling stations, and the results.

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 the by-elections.

Information on the administration of the September 17, 2007, by-elections will appear in a report to be published in March 2008:

The report will be available at www.elections.ca.

Calling the by-elections

On January 28, 2007, the Honourable Jean Lapierre, the Liberal Party of Canada Member of Parliament for Outremont since June 28, 2004, resigned, leaving his seat in the House of Commons vacant. A writ ordering a by-election in Outremont was accordingly issued on July 28, 2007.

On July 29, 2007, Michel Gauthier, the Bloc Québécois Member of Parliament for Roberval–Lac-Saint-Jean since October 25, 1993, resigned, leaving his seat in the House of Commons vacant. A writ ordering a by-election in Roberval–Lac-Saint-Jean was accordingly issued on August 11, 2007.

On February 21, 2007, Yvon Loubier, the Bloc Québécois Member of Parliament for Saint-Hyacinthe–Bagot since October 25, 1993, resigned, leaving his seat in the House of Commons vacant. A writ ordering a by-election in Saint-Hyacinthe–Bagot was accordingly issued on July 28, 2007.

On August 11, 2007, the seat distribution in the House of Commons was: Conservative Party of Canada – 125 seats; Liberal Party of Canada – 97 seats; Bloc Québécois – 48 seats; New Democratic Party – 29 seats; Independent – 3 seats; and vacant – 6 seats.

The electoral districts

The boundaries of the electoral districts of Outremont, Roberval–Lac-Saint-Jean and Saint-Hyacinthe–Bagot were the same as those in effect during the 2006 federal general election. They coincide with the boundaries defined in the Representation Order of 2003, issued in accordance with the Electoral Boundaries Readjustment Act.

Table 1. Returning officers
Electoral district Name Occupation Place of residence
Outremont Pierre-Yves Serinet Political Science –
Communicator
Montréal
Roberval–Lac-Saint-Jean Jean-Marc Gendron Retired Dolbeau–Mistassini
Saint-Hyacinthe–Bagot Suzie Guilmain Lawyer Saint-Pie

Outremont
Population based on the 2006 Census: 95,771

Map - Outremont

Roberval–Lac-Saint-Jean
Population based on the 2006 Census: 78,895

Map - Roberval–Lac-Saint-Jean

Saint-Hyacinthe–Bagot
Population based on the 2006 Census: 95,983

Map - Saint Hyacinthe–Bagot

Registered political parties and nomination of candidates

The candidates in the by-elections had until 2:00 p.m. on August 27, 2007, to file their nomination papers in accordance with the date published in the Notice of Election by the returning officers.

In Outremont, seven registered parties nominated candidates: the Bloc Québécois, the Canadian Action Party, the Conservative Party of Canada, the Green Party of Canada, the Liberal Party of Canada, neorhino.ca and the New Democratic Party. Five candidates ran as independents. None of the candidates withdrew during the period in which this was permitted.

In Roberval–Lac-Saint-Jean, five registered parties nominated candidates: the Bloc Québécois, the Conservative Party of Canada, the Green Party of Canada, the Liberal Party of Canada and the New Democratic Party. There were no independent candidates. None of the candidates withdrew during the period in which this was permitted.

In Saint-Hyacinthe–Bagot, seven registered parties nominated candidates: the Bloc Québécois, the Canadian Action Party, the Conservative Party of Canada, the Green Party of Canada, the Liberal Party of Canada, neorhino.ca and the New Democratic Party. There were no independent candidates. None of the candidates withdrew during the period in which this was permitted.

Registration of electors

For the September 17, 2007, by-elections, there were 66,132 names on the preliminary lists of electors in Outremont, 62,778 names on the preliminary lists for Roberval–Lac-Saint-Jean and 76,533 names on the preliminary lists for Saint-Hyacinthe–Bagot. The lists were produced from information in the National Register of Electors. During the revision period, which extended from August 15 until September 11, 2007, 1,991 electors were registered in Outremont (1,416 supplemental registrations sent from the Chief Electoral Officer and 575 as part of the revision process). In Roberval–Lac-Saint-Jean, 2,160 electors were registered (1,299 supplemental registrations sent from the Chief Electoral Officer and 861 as part of the revision process). In Saint-Hyacinthe–Bagot, 2,821 electors were registered (2,022 supplemental registrations sent from the Chief Electoral Officer and 799 as part of the revision process). These figures included electors who were already on the lists but had changed addresses.

The names recorded on the final lists of electors (that is, the lists prepared after election day) numbered 64,438 in Outremont, 63,050 in Roberval–Lac-Saint-Jean and 76,005 in Saint-Hyacinthe–Bagot.

These lists included the names of 913 electors who registered on election day in Outremont, some of whom had changed addresses. In Roberval–Lac-Saint-Jean, 617 electors (including those with changes of address) registered on election day. In Saint-Hyacinthe–Bagot, 368 electors registered on election day.

Polling stations

The Canada Elections Act, section 131, sets 8:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. as the hours of voting for
by-elections. The ordinary polling stations were accordingly open from 8:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. (Eastern Time) on election day in Outremont, Roberval–Lac-Saint-Jean and Saint-Hyacinthe–Bagot.

The returning officer in Outremont set up 159 ordinary polling stations, 156 of which were stationary. In Roberval–Lac-Saint-Jean, the returning officer set up 177 ordinary polling stations, 167 of which were stationary. In Saint-Hyacinthe–Bagot, the returning officer set up 209 ordinary polling stations, 200 of which were stationary.

In addition, the Act provides for the establishment of mobile polling stations to collect the votes of seniors and persons with disabilities confined to institutions. These polling stations, which serve polling divisions with at least two institutions, travel from institution to institution, and they remain open at each place only as long as necessary to enable the electors present to vote. In the September 17, 2007, by-election in Outremont, 3 mobile polling stations served 369 electors. In Roberval–Lac-Saint-Jean, there were 10 mobile polling stations serving 1,480 electors. In Saint-Hyacinthe–Bagot, 9 mobile polling stations served 1,484 electors.

The returning officer in the 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 election day. The electoral district of Outremont had 7 advance polling stations, while Roberval–Lac-Saint-Jean had 15 and Saint-Hyacinthe–Bagot had 13. All the advance polling stations were open from noon to 8:00 p.m. (local time) on September 7, 8 and 10, 2007.

Polling results

A total of 24,118 electors cast a ballot in the by-election in Outremont, a participation rate of 37.4%. Of these electors, 21,132 (or 87.6%) voted on election day at their ordinary polling stations.

In Roberval–Lac-Saint-Jean, a total of 29,527 electors cast a ballot in the by-election, a participation rate of 46.8%. Of these electors, 25,161 (or 85.2%) voted on election day at their ordinary polling stations.

In Saint-Hyacinthe–Bagot, 32,470 electors cast a ballot in the by-election, a participation rate of 42.7%. Of these electors, 28,612 (or 88.1%) voted on election day at their ordinary polling stations.

Table 2. Number of electors who voted, by voting method

Voting method

Outremont Roberval–Lac-Saint-Jean Saint-Hyacinthe–Bagot
No. % No. % No. %
Ordinary polling stations 21,132 87.6 25,161 85.2 28,612 88.1
Advance polling stations 2,325 9.6 4,001 13.5 3,054 9.4
Special Voting Rules – Group 1* 35 0.1 31 0.1 10 0
Special Voting Rules – Group 2** 626 2.6 334 1.1 794 2.4
Total 24,118 100*** 29,527 100*** 32,470 100***

* Includes Canadian citizens temporarily residing outside Canada, members of the Canadian Forces (except members of the Canadian Forces who voted at the polling station established for the polling division of their place of ordinary residence) and incarcerated electors.

** Includes Canadian citizens residing in Canada who voted by special ballot in or outside their electoral districts.

*** Due to rounding, figures do not add up to total shown.

Candidates elected

In the September 17, 2007, by-elections, the New Democratic Party candidate, Thomas Mulcair, was declared elected in Outremont once the validation of results was completed. The Conservative Party of Canada candidate, Denis Lebel, was declared elected in Roberval–Lac-Saint-Jean once the validation of results was completed. And in Saint-Hyacinthe–Bagot, after the validation of results, the Bloc Québécois candidate, Ève-Mary Thaï Thi Lac, was declared elected.

Following the by-elections of September 17, 2007, the distribution of seats in the House of Commons was:

Adaptations

Subsection 17(1) of the Canada Elections Act gives the Chief Electoral Officer the power to adapt any provision of the Act as necessary to deal with an emergency, an unusual or unforeseen circumstance or an error. Also, section 179 authorizes the Chief Electoral Officer to issue instructions to adapt any provision of the Special Voting Rules to a particular circumstance. During the 2007 by-elections in Outremont, Roberval–Lac-Saint-Jean and Saint-Hyacinthe–Bagot, the Chief Electoral Officer used the authority under these provisions on four occasions.

The Canada Elections Act prohibits voting by prisoners in federal institutions, and it does not describe a process for such prisoners to vote. Since the 2002 decision of the Supreme Court of Canada in Sauvé, which struck down the prohibition, the Act has had to be adapted in every subsequent federal election to extend the statutory process for voting by the Special Voting Rules in provincial institutions to federal institutions. Two adaptations were made for the Quebec by-elections, following each of the dates on which the by-elections were called.

While there is a growing number of electors who are choosing to vote at advance polls, the Canada Elections Act provides for fewer election officers at advance polls than at ordinary polls on polling day. In particular, there is provision for only one poll clerk for each advance polling station, and no provision for information officers, registration officers or central poll supervisors at advance polling stations. The Canada Elections Act was therefore adapted to enable returning officers to appoint additional poll clerks, information officers, registration officers and central poll supervisors to assist at the advance polling stations.

Finally, an adaptation to the Special Voting Rules was required to authorize special ballot officers to deal with a situation involving a special ballot not foreseen in the Canada Elections Act.