TORONTO — Prime Minister Jean Chretien's Liberal Party swept to victory Monday in five of six by-elections for vacant parliamentary seats, including one district where Quebec separatists had fielded a strong challenger.
The Bloc Quebecois' only victory came in the central Quebec district of Lac-St.-Jean, where Stephane Tremblay, a 22-year-old student, easily defeated the Liberal candidate to fill the seat vacated by Lucien Bouchard.
Bouchard stepped down as Bloc Quebecois leader to become premier of Quebec in January. He was the leading campaigner last fall when the separatists narrowly lost a referendum on independence from Canada, receiving 49.4% of the vote.
The results left the Liberals with 177 of the 295 seats in the House of Commons and the Bloc Quebecois with 53.