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Cablegate: Liberals Barely Win Vancouver-Quadra Byelection

VZCZCXRO8525
RR RUEHGA RUEHHA RUEHQU
DE RUEHVC #0064 0782038
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 182038Z MAR 08
FM AMCONSUL VANCOUVER
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 4875
INFO RUCNCAN/ALL CANADIAN POSTS COLLECTIVE
RUEHVC/AMCONSUL VANCOUVER 7219

UNCLAS VANCOUVER 000064

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV CA
SUBJECT: LIBERALS BARELY WIN VANCOUVER-QUADRA BYELECTION


1. The byelection in Vancouver-Quadra proved to be closer than
any had predicted, with Liberal Joyce Murray edging out her
Conservative opponent, Deborah Meredith, by a mere .6 percentage
points, or 151 votes. Voter turnout was light with about 34
percent of registered voters actually showing up to cast ballots
due to spring break and rainy weather. Although not an outright
win for the Conservatives, election results showed that the
Liberals lost significant support in a riding they have held
solidly since 1984. During the last election, in 2006, Liberal
MP Stephen Owen defeated his Conservative opponent by almost
12,000 votes. This time around, the Conservatives targeted
voters in the Chinese community and also were able to swing the
Jewish vote, traditionally dominated by the Liberals.

2. The close election draws in to question the strategies of
both parties. While a Conservative operative asserted that the
Liberal machine was nowhere to be seen in the Quadra campaign,
the same could be said for the Conservatives. Prime Minister
Harper paid a visit to Vancouver just last week but did not do
any campaigning for Meredith or even meet with her in a public
venue. One of Meredith's campaign Chairmen told Poloff that they
had decided not to bring in Harper because any appearance would
require the Meredith campaign to reimburse a portion of the cost
of Harper's trip per Canadian election laws. There was also a
sense from the campaign that, although it would be close, the
Liberals would win. Political pundits had been predicting a
solid Liberal win since the beginning of the campaign. But in
the past few weeks, the tide began to shift. The Chairman said
that the phones at Meredith's headquarters were ringing off the
hook for the past several weeks with inquiries from as far away
as Asia; this in stark contrast to the early days of the
campaign last fall when there appeared to be no hope at all for
a victory in the riding. Liberal analysts blamed voter apathy
for the close numbers and the light turnout, noting that a
byelection is always difficult to predict and that, in the end,
it is the win that matters.

3. Comment: Despite the Liberal victory, the party has suffered
a huge loss of support in Quadra. What was once a given Liberal
riding can no longer be counted on as a sure thing. The
Conservatives, on the other hand, have garnered a massive boost
even in defeat. They've proven their ability to make huge
inroads into Liberal territory, and perhaps, with a little more
effort and coordination with the national party, could even gain
the prize the next time around. End comment.

LUKENS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
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