TheGunBlog.ca — The Canadian by-elections yesterday provide a reality check for gun owners who believe Justin Trudeau can’t win the general election in October or who believe Maxime Bernier can.
The three by-elections suggest Prime Minister Trudeau has a solid chance of winning again to pursue his policies hostile to hunters, farmers and sport shooters. They showed almost no support for Bernier in the first test of his potential since he quit the Conservative Party to lead his own group.
Gun rights are a critical election issue this year for the 2.2 million voters with firearm licences across all parties. Unless the Liberals are defeated, Trudeau may pursue gun bans and other restrictions beyond Bill C-71, his planned law to make it easier to criminalize honest firearm users and take away their guns.
Margin of Error
Trudeau’s Liberal Party won by a wide margin in the Montreal by-election, according to preliminary results from Elections Canada. It came second in Burnaby, British Columbia, and in York-Simcoe north of Toronto. (See charts below.)
Bernier’s People’s Party of Canada came fourth in Burnaby with less than 11 percent of the vote. In Ontario and Quebec, the PPC didn’t place in the top-five or crack 2.1 percent of the vote, putting it almost within the margin of error.
Bernier vs. Scheer
Bernier’s split last year from the Conservatives led by Andrew Scheer has become one of the most-divisive topics for libertarian-conservative shooters. (The editor of TheGunBlog.ca supported Bernier in the 2017 Conservative leadership race.)
Bernier fans see him as more conservative than Scheer. Supporters of Scheer are concerned Bernier’s party will suck away enough Conservative votes to propel Trudeau to a second victory and guarantee new gun bans.
Dropping the Liberals
Some historical Liberal gun owners will switch their vote to avoid that threat.
The Conservatives are the only major federal party to consistently oppose Trudeau’s policies against gun owners. Bernier didn’t show up to vote against Bill C-71. The NDP’s Jagmeet Singh favours bans.
Fewer people vote in partial elections than in general elections. Each electoral district also had peculiarities that made it unrepresentative of the country as a whole.
- Burnaby South: New Democratic Party won. The new NDP leader was the candidate in the traditionally NDP riding.
- Outremont (Montreal): Liberals won. The former NDP leader was from this Quebec riding.
- York-Simcoe: Conservatives won. They have won every election this millennium.
Many gun owners feel frustrated with Trudeau and the Liberals and imagine the party will collapse in October’s general election. Some centre-right hunters and sport shooters plan to abandon the Conservatives in the hope Bernier could become prime minister.
Yesterday’s by-election results suggest they are all dreaming.
- CBC News (Éric Grenier): Win, Lose or Draw? Byelection Results Suggest Struggles Ahead for Major Parties (Today)
- Andrew Scheer, Maxime Bernier, Guns and Politics: Reflections (May 2017)
- Andrew Scheer on Guns: Recap of New Conservative Leader’s Policy (May 2017)
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