The Conservatives and the Green party can claim the prize as winners in Monday's three federal byelections, but it really wasn't a great night for any of the political parties.
Stephen Harper's governing party won two of the three races Ñ convincingly in the Ontario riding of Durham and barely in the former stronghold of Calgary Centre.
The Greens placed strongly in Calgary Centre and Victoria Ñ a good showing for a one-seat party, but still short of their goal.
The results reflect the general mood across the country. That is, Canadians don't have particularly fond feelings for the Stephen Harper government, but they consider his party the best choice of a mediocre lot at the moment.
The Tory win in Ontario confirms the Conservatives' strength in suburban and rural Ontario, which will make them tough to beat in the next federal election, but they should be alarmed about their
decline in Calgary and almost invisible showing in Victoria.
Joan Crockatt won Calgary with a measly 36.9 per cent of the vote. That's
certainly not a resounding mandate from her voters. Victoria candidate Dale Gann got just 14.7 per cent of the vote. That's close to fringe-party territory.
The Greens came a close second in Victoria and a strong third in Calgary. The results show the party will be in contention to win more ridings in the future.
It wasn't as good a night for the NDP or Liberals.
The two opposition parties made no
headway in their efforts to show they're
legitimate contenders to form government.
The NDP barely held on to Victoria, were a distant second in Durham and off the map in Calgary.
Leader Thomas Mulcair will see his
efforts to portray the NDP as a government in waiting have not paid off so far.
The Liberals can be pleased with a good second-place showing in Calgary, but they were third in Durham and fourth in Victoria. Their rump-party status
Ñ Pat Bulmer