MONTREAL - Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau says byelection wins by his party in Montreal and Toronto are more than just a political victory. It's a rare feat with an effect seldom seen in two cities known for a legendary hockey rivalry.
"Tonight, Montreal and Toronto are united,'' a grinning Trudeau quipped in hailing byelection victories in Montreal-area Bourassa riding and Toronto-Centre.
"For Montrealers and Torontonians to be united in the middle of hockey season is a rare thing.''
Voters in Bourassa opted for continuity, turning over the riding held by former Liberal cabinet minister Denis Coderre since 1997 to Emmanuel Dubourg, an ex-Canada Revenue Agency accountant who was elected three times to the provincial legislature.
Trudeau, who was on hand for Dubourg's win, says the byelection results in Montreal, Toronto-Centre and Liberal vote gains in two Manitoba ridings are a clear message that Canadians are tired of the way politics is now being done on Parliament Hill.
He accused the New Democrats of ditching the hope and optimism of former leader Jack Layton in favour of negativity and called Prime Minister Stephen Harper's government ``tired and disconnected.''
"It is the Liberal party tonight that proved that hope is stronger than fear, that positive politics can and should win out over negative.''
He added that Monday's byelection wasn't about the Liberals, Conservatives or NDP.
"It's about Canadians,'' he said. ``It's about Canadians wanting a better government, not just a different government.
"Canadians want a government that is focused on them, their jobs, their future, their community, their kids.''
NDP candidate Stephane Moraille, a lawyer and former singer for Bran Van 3000, came in second on Monday night despite a tenacious effort.
The final results, according to Elections Canada, showed Dubourg taking 48.1 per cent of the vote. Moraille collected 31.4 per cent and the Bloc Quebecois was third with 13.1 per cent. Voter turnout in the riding was 26.2 per cent.
Moraille had criticized Dubourg for quitting provincial politics so soon after last year's election and for accepting a $100,000 severance as he did it.
Bourassa, which sits between Trudeau's Papineau riding and the Outremont riding held by Mulcair, became vacant when Coderre resigned to successfully run for mayor of Montreal earlier this month. it has one of Canada's largest Haitian populations.
Dubourg, who like Moraille has Haitian roots, told supporters he wanted to work for a Canada that is ``more prosperous, more welcoming for immigrants, a Canada that is more fair to the middle class.''
Bourassa was one of four byelections Monday night. Others were held in the Toronto-Centre riding vacated by the resignation of Liberal Bob Rae, as well as in two Manitoba ridings, Brandon-Souris and Provencher.
The Conservatives held Brandon-Souris and Provencher but saw votes slip to the Liberals.