OTTAWA, May 14, 2002 ( – If the Liberal Party’s “raison d’etre is winning elections,” as Adam Radwanski writes in Pundit Magazine, then the party received a blow with two unexpected defeats in Monday’s by-elections. Those hoping for Mr. Chretien’s exit from politics may be encouraged, as momentum appears to have shifted to opposition parties.

In Windsor West, Ont., where former deputy leader Herb Gray polled over 54 per cent in the 2000 election, Liberal Richard Pollock lost with 35 per cent of the vote to NDP Brian Masse’s 42 per cent. “They’ve received a very harsh judgment tonight,” opined Windsor-St. Clair Liberal MPP Dwight Duncan. The Christian Heritage Party’s Allan James received 249 votes, well below the Green Party’s Chris Holt with 663. In Gander-Grand Falls, Nfld., Chrétien loyalist Beaton Tulk lost badly to Rex Barnes, who becomes the Tories’ 13th M.P., in a riding that has been Liberal for 28 years.

In Calgary Southwest, Alliance Leader Stephen Harper easily trounced the NDP’s Rev. Bill Phipps by 13,200 votes to 3,813.  Phipps is the pro-abortion United Church moderator who does not believe Jesus Christ is the Son of God. The riding had been vacated after a lengthy “retirement” by Preston Manning which lasted from February 2001 to January 2002. Ron Gray, leader of the Christian Heritage Party, received 320 votes, less than Independent candidate Gordon Barrett’s 428 votes, and Green Party candidate James S. Kohut’s 670 votes. Harper officially becomes Leader of the Opposition next week when he takes his seat in the House of Commons.

A footnote: In Saint Boniface, Manitoba, Jean-Paul Kabashiki of the Christian Heritage Party came last with 210 votes, behind Chris Buors of the Marijuana Party who got 435 votes. The Liberals won this Western seat with twice as many votes as the Canadian Alliance (8,822 to 4,487), the same ratio as in the 2000 election.

To read Don Martin’s Calgary Sun analysis see:{41CE8417-0451-4D1A-8798-571310267DB1}

For Adam Radwanski’s analysis in Pundit Magazine see:

Complete Elections Canada results can be read at: