The Liberals will not hold onto Winnipeg North. Parties do not win a seat by 40 points in one general election and fail to win it in the next general election. The NDP will take Winnipeg North in the next election.
Still, winning Winnipeg North was quite an accomplishment and Liberals should pat themselves on the back. For the first time in the post Martin era they did something right. That is the good news.
On the flip side is that if the Winnipeg North victory is if this is evidence of an down turn in the NDP fortunes, the Liberals are in big trouble. An NDP collapse in the next election all but guarantees a Conservative majority. Igantieff should be careful what he wishes for. If that NDP collapse, British Columbia Southern Interior, Nanaimo Cowichan, New Westmister Coquitlam, Sault Ste Marie, Skeena Bulkley Valley and Esquimalt Juan de Fuca will all go blue next election. People in these ridings do not shift from right to left and back again. They shift from one populist party or candidate to another. A weakened NDP will also mean that most of the following will also go blue: Burnaby Douglas, Victoria, Edmonton Strathcona, Elmwood Trascona, Western Artic, Welland.
Just as bad, the Liberals won Winnipeg North by playing the crime card. This may have work in few ridings were crime is major issue and NDP are strong and Conservatives weak, but it is bound to fail in virtually every other instance. The Conservatives own crime as an issue and rather than come up with an effective response the Liberals have chosen to tow the Conservative line yet again.
Of course not only did the Conservatives get confirmation that their get tough on crime stance is a political winner in Manitoba they also made major inroads in Ontario. Liberals can spin it however they want. The Conservatives are slowly reducing the Liberals to rump around Toronto Center. Toronto is looking more and more like the Dunkirk pocket everyday. With any luck Obama will send a flotilla to evacuate the besieged. The notion that the Liberals secured a moral victory by limiting Fantino to just under 50% of the vote is absurd. The so called pundits who thought that Fantino would magically win by more simply do not know their craft. The magnitude of the Conservatives victory, while not as impressive as what the Liberals were able to do in Winnipeg North, can not be understated. The Conservatives took 35% of the vote in 2008 and 50% this time around. Even more impressive is that virtually the same number of people cast the votes in favour of the Conservatives this time around as last.