Vancouver The fortunate residents of Vancouver Quadra are heading to the polls for the third time in four years. Electoral extravagances notwithstanding, the federal riding, or constituency, at the most westerly point in Vancouver is indeed blessed - residents are among the most educated in the province of British Columbia and their average household income is one of the highest in Canada. Up until now, they have also been very loyal. Vancouver Quadra has voted in a Liberal Party member of Parliament for the past two decades. But the minority Conservative government is throwing a lot of resources at the election to try to grab the seat, which is one of four ridings across Canada to hold by-elections today. Another is in Saskatchewan and two are in Toronto. But the one in Vancouver is being watched closely for a variety of reasons. The Conservative government has survived longer than expected and Prime Minister Stephen Harper has so far been able to avoid having to call an early general election. This is despite the Liberals' continued agitation over the government's commitment in Afghanistan and a minor scandal over whether the Conservatives offered a dying independent MP a life-insurance policy to secure a crucial vote. The Liberals are keen to find out whether their failure to force an election has cost them any of their core supporters. There is a lot at stake too for the Conservatives, who are determined to prove before a nationwide election that they can still appeal to urban voters - at the last election, the Conservatives did not win a single seat in Vancouver. Senator Gerry St. Germain, who was a Conservative campaign strategist in the last election, said the party had a good chance of winning as candidate Deborah Meredith, a business law professor at the University of British Columbia, was well known in the city. 'We've been putting a strong emphasis on working with all communities,' said Mr St. Germain. In particular, the Conservatives have been doing outreach work in the Chinese community, a necessary move in an electorate where more than one in four residents is an ethnic Chinese. Mr Harper also sent out Lunar New Year greetings. One cynical newspaper letter writer was prompted to wonder whether she would get similar treatment as an Irish-Canadian on St Patrick's Day. Liberal candidate Joyce Murray, a former environment minister with the provincial government, said: 'Stephen Harper's idea to try to win the loyalty of the Chinese community with Chinese New Year postcards is just pandering to the community, and they know it. I believe members of the Chinese community are far too intelligent to fall for it.' Meanwhile, the left-of-centre New Democrat Party (NDP) is hoping to make gains in Quadra at the expense of the bigger parties. Kerry Jang, a professor of psychology at the University of British Columbia and an NDP member, said neither the official opposition nor the governing Conservatives had inspired passion. 'This is a well-heeled area and they have the opportunity to send a message to both the government and the opposition.' Vancouver Quadra may be slow to change, but with so much attention from all three parties, it isn't for want of choices.