Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced on Sunday that by-elections will be held on Monday, November 9, 2009, in the electoral districts of New Westminster-Coquitlam (British Columbia), Cumberland-Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley (Nova Scotia), Hochelaga (Quebec) and Montmagny-L’Islet-Kamouraska-Rivière-du-Loup (Quebec).

The current standings in the House of Commons are: 143 seats for the Conservative Party, 77 seats for the Liberal Party, 47 seats for the Bloc Quebecois, 36 seats for the New Democratic Party, and 1 Independent (4 seats are currently vacant). As such, even if the Conservative Party were to win all 4 by-elections (unrealistic despite the current popular support for the Conservative Party which some polls are pegging at around 40% nationally), they would not have enough seats for a majority. In the current Parliament, political parties require 155 seats to form a majority government at the federal level, although this would change if the government passes legislation to increase the number of seats in the House of Commons as a result of population increases in Ontario, Alberta, and British Columbia.