Thursday, December 13, 2007

On battlegrounds

The Gazette reports that Lucienne Robillard is resigning as of January 25, potentially opening up another of the NDP's prime Quebec targets for a by-election contest if a general election doesn't happen soon:
Voters in the riding of Westmount-Ville Marie could be going to the polls sooner than they had expected after Liberal MP Lucienne Robillard abruptly announced yesterday she will is resigning effective Jan. 25.

The announcement, made shortly after question period, took many of her own colleagues by surprise. While Robillard had announced months ago that she wouldn't run in the next election and former astronaut Marc Garneau had been named as the next Liberal candidate, Robillard had said that she didn't want to trigger a by-election.

Bidding an emotional adieu to the House of Commons, her usually confident voice trembling a bit, Robillard did not explain her decision to step aside earlier than she had planned and refused requests for interviews...

New Democratic Party leader Jack Layton praised Robillard but made no secret of his party's plan to make a strong run at her seat.
It remains to be seen whether Westmount Ville-Marie will simply be added to the ever-lengthening list of ridings where Harper refuses to announce a by-election out of fear that his party's own lack of support will be highlighted.

But if it does come up for grabs, then it figures to offer the next test as to the NDP's ability to convert its broader progress into Quebec seats. And if the NDP can indeed take a second Lib stronghold - this time with a candidate not named Mulcair - that momentum would figure to translate into a boost in national polls and commentary before long.

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