What Does The Mississauga-Lakeshore Loss Mean For Conservatives?

Written By Wyatt Claypool, Posted on December 13, 2022

The Conservative Party of Canada, especially their leader Pierre Poilievre was quiet heading into the Mississauga—Lakeshore by-election yesterday. Poilievre only released social media posts encouraging Conservative voters to head to the polls on the day of the election, the same day he also apparently was sending out emails asking CPC members to help pay off Peter MacKay’s 2020 leadership campaign debt. 

The oddity of the MacKay debt issue aside; maybe they are trying to free MacKay up to run for the Conservative Party in the next federal election, there is no getting around the fact the Mississauga—Lakeshore by-election was an embarrassing failure for the Conservatives. 

In a by-election with incredibly low voter turnout, it seems that the Conservative Party HQ was not particularly interested in assisting CPC candidate Ron Chhinzer, and effectively just allowed the Liberals to retain this increasingly unstable seat. 

Liberal Party candidate, and Ontario’s former Minister of Finance, Charles Sousa was literally able to win this seat with less than half of the votes his predecessor (12,194 votes compared to 25,285), and somehow he also won the seat with a wider percentage margin over his Conservative opponent. 

I think this points to a lot of internal issues inside the Conservative Party HQ. It wasn’t that the party tried its hardest to with Mississauga—Lakeshore and it turned into a massive swing-and-a-miss, they never even showed up.

Whether it was due to preoccupation with internal party matters or laziness, it has felt like Pierre Poilievre and his opposition leadership team didn’t believe winning this seat in the GTA was worth it. Poilievre could have, and frankly should have, been in the riding promoting Chhinzer for the last month, making viral videos about Trudeau hurting the local economy and reducing Canadians’ personal freedoms.

This is a traditionally Liberal seat that the Conservatives could have realistically won, and flipping it blue would have been well worth the time and money turning people out for Chhinzer. Yes, the result of this election will not upend Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government, but it puts a chink in his armour, and normalizes voting for Conservatives around the GTA.

(Photo from CTV News)

Was the CPC worried about spending money ahead of a potential spring election? Did Poilievre personally dislike Chhinzer? Were the Conservatives unable to get volunteers mobilized in the area? It is truly mind-boggling to think of a substantial reason as to why the Conservatives would put up such a poor fight for Mississauga—Lakeshore. It’s almost like they wanted the Liberals to win.


The silver lining in the Mississauga—Lakeshore loss is that I don’t believe it demonstrates anything fundamentally wrong with the direction Pierre Poilievre wants to take the Conservative Party in. Really this episode just proves that when the Conservative Party failed to show up in swing ridings, they will lose by default. 

The fundamental problem in Canada, when it comes to politics, is so few people engage in it unless directly informed at the doors and in the media.

If Pierre Poilievre and the Conseravative Party want to succeed in the next federal election they need to accept that like in the United States, campaigning is not just something that occurs a month before an election, rather it is a constant battle of information and engagement. 

Wyatt Claypool

Wyatt is a student at Mount Royal University, where he is the president of its Campus Conservative club. In his writing, he focuses on covering provincial and federal politics, firearms regulation, and the energy sector. Wyatt has also previously written for The Post Millennial.

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