In light of recent high profile resignations in Parliament, we thought it would be appropriate to cover the concept of by-elections. Below is a short primer on what triggers a by-election and why you should care.
Since the Scarborough – Rouge River by-election is fast approaching on September 1, we’ve included a link to a complete list of candidates running for the by-election.
The last election in this riding was very close between Bas Balkissoon (Liberal - 16,134 votes), Neethan Shan (NDP - 12,863 votes), and Raymond Cho (Conservative - 11,491 votes).
What is a by-election?
A by-election is just like any general election held for a municipal, provincial, or federal position. The only difference between a by-election and a general election is the trigger for the election. A general election is triggered at the end of a candidate’s elected term in office, while a by-election is triggered for reasons explained below.
How is a by-election triggered?
Elections Canada states that a by-election is triggered due to the following:
“A by-election is held to fill a vacancy in the House of Commons that comes about other than through the dissolution of the House for a general election. By-elections are called in a similar manner to general elections.”
In layman’s terms, a by-election is held when a candidate at the municipal, provincial or federal level has to vacate their seat for a particular reason. The reasons why someone would vacate their seat vary and could include: personal reasons, retirement, a change in commitments, etc.
By-elections can also be triggered because there is a tie during a general election.
Why should you care about by-elections?
It is vital for you to inquire and stay apprised of by-elections in your local municipality, provincial and federal ridings. The “raison d'être” of The Canadian-Muslim Vote is to ensure that we as Muslims exercise our civic duty and vote. It is only by staying engaged in the political process by voting, communicating with our elected officials, and lending our expertise where needed that we can help build the Canada that we would like to see ourselves and our children live in.
Could I run in a by-election?
ABSOLUTELY! Here is some information on how to do just that for a federal by-election.
Where are by-elections being held?
In order to find out where federal by elections are being held, you can visit the Parliament of Canada’s website to see how many “vacant” seats there are across all ridings in Canada. Current vacant seats are typically posted on Elections Canada’s website. We’ve outlined the vacancies from Elections Canada and other upcoming vacancies based on our research and recent press releases below:
- Ottawa--Vanier (February 19, 2017)
- Medicine Hat--Cardston--Warner (September 20, 2016)
- Calgary-Heritage (TBD)
Though we are acutely aware that Muslims live across the nation, we have outlined a list of by-elections in the province that has the most Muslims (i.e. Ontario). The legislative assembly of Ontario’s website shows current party standings and vacancies. We’ve also outlined other vacancies based on our research and recent press releases:
- Scarborough--Rouge River (September 1, 2017)
- Ottawa--Vanier (TBD)
- Niagara West--Glanbrook (TBD)
- York West (TBD)
Don't Forget! The Scarborough – Rouge River by-election is September 1, click this link to see a complete list of candidates running for the by-election.
Stay tuned for part 2 on by-elections in the next couple of weeks!
The Canadian-Muslim Vote