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NDP Leader Tom Mulcair asks a question during question period in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Tuesday, November 18, 2014.

Sean Kilpatrick/THE CANADIAN PRESS

Thomas Mulcair is shrugging off the NDP's dismal performance in byelections.

The NDP Leader says byelection results are not indicators of how a party will perform during the general election scheduled for next fall.

Nevertheless, the trend is hardly encouraging for New Democrats, who've been eclipsed by the resurgent Liberals among byelection voters seeking an alternative to Stephen Harper's Conservative government.

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The NDP's share of the vote collapsed Monday in the suburban Toronto riding of Whitby-Oshawa and dropped slightly in the Alberta riding of Yellowhead.

The Conservatives retained both seats but their vote share dropped by nine and 15 percentage points, respectively, compared to the 2011 election.

The Liberal share, meanwhile, tripled in Whitby and increased seven-fold in Yellowhead.

"We know we've got a lot of work to do, but we also know that our numbers have never been better heading into a federal [election]," said Mr. Mulcair.

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