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Harper calls four by-elections; New West to go to polls Nov. 9

OTTAWA – Four by-elections will be held Nov. 9 in British Columbia, Nova Scotia and Quebec.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s announcement has been seen as a signal the Tories expect to survive Liberal attempts to topple them this fall and hold out hope for adding to their total.

The New Westminster-Coquitlam riding was held by Dawn Black, who left the federal NDP to join Carole James’ provincial New Democrats. Black was elected MLA for New Westminster on May 12.

The Tories held the New West riding as recently as 2004, end Black won the riding by just over 1,000 votes last October.

The two ridings up for grabs in Quebec — one in Montreal and the other an eastern riding that includes Riviere-du-Loup — are Bloc Quebecois strongholds.

And the fourth, in Nova Scotia, was held by former Conservative-turned Independent Bill Casey, who split with the party after a falling out with Harper.

Several recent polls show the Harper Conservatives approaching the 40-per-cent level believed needed for a majority.

The Nov. 9 date is the earliest the byelections could be held, given the minimum 36-day campaigning period.

From The Canadian Press.

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