The Conservative candidate in Toronto Centre has withdrawn from the election. The reasoning seems to be that he made comments on a blog stating that if everyone had a gun the Greyhound bus stabbing could have been averted. This is a insignificant event towards the outcome of the election. Incumbant Bob Rae won the riding in the last by-election with 57% of the vote. Previous incumbent Bill Grahm had won with more than 50% of the vote.
It always reflects poorly on a party when they lose or are forced to sack their candidate. Bob Rae has tried to paint this as a direct reflection of the weakness of the Harper team. Of all of the parties the Liberals are the most autocratic of all of the parties. While Dion is proud for hitting the target of female candidates he was willing to hand pick candidates to reach his goals. While the leaders of other parties have the right to refuse a selection by the local riding association, they do not activly go about hand picking candidates. The exception being a Conservative MP who the party leadership decided did not have to activly seek nomination to run for re-election.
While Rae should win his riding without too much problem. If the Conservatives are unable to field a replacement candidate it could make the riding interesting. Conservative voters tend to be willing to park their vote with the Green Party. This combined with a stong performance by Elizabeth May at the debates could put the Green Party a legitimate contender for 2nd place. If the riding looks like it will be close, Rae will have to decrease his roll as Dion's sidekick to focus on campaigning in his riding. Such a major change in campaign style would be noticed accross the country and could spell even more problems for the Liberals.