By-Elections in Québec: Signs of Discord, Dissatisfaction, or Simple Dialogue?

Alex B. Rivard, Jocelyn McGrandle


By-elections are a regular aspect of Canadian politics but have been subject to a relatively scarce amount of study. In Québec, Massicotte (1981) demonstrated that the governing party largely won every contested by-election throughout the twentieth century. Since this time period, however, we find that opposition parties won a clear majority of by-elections in almost every single parliamentary sitting from 1976 onward. Based on previous theories, our analysis finds that by-elections in Québec are significant events and serve as a barometer for the next general election. Therefore, by-election outcomes are not simply idiosyncratic or exclusive to a particular riding.


political behaviour; elections; by-elections; Quebec

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@Canadian Political Science Review (CPSR). ISSN 1911-4125