She drew more than 36 per cent voter support in the Oct. 3 provincial election
Although it’s been more than half a year since the 2022 Quebec general election, it was only on May 18 that Chomedey Liberal MNA Sona Lakhoyan Olivier finally got around to holding an official opening for her riding office after National Assembly work obligations and local office renovations held things up for a few months.
A Liberal fortress
For longtime local Liberal strategist Claudette Lessard, Sona Lakhoyan Olivier was just the latest politician she’d seen over the years – from Lise Bacon (1981-1994), to Thomas Mulcair (1994-2007), and finally Guy Ouellette (2007-2022) – as Chomedey’s representative in the Quebec National Assembly.
“Chomedey has always been Liberal anyway – there’s no news there,” Lessard pointed out to the Laval News, while expressing the hope that it will continue along those lines, although only two out of the six provincial ridings in Laval are currently held by the Liberals.
An easy election victory
Last Oct. 3, Lakhoyan Olivier easily won the riding of Chomedey for the PLQ, drawing more than 36 per cent of the votes compared to less than 27 per cent support won by the Coalition Avenir Québec, the closest rival. While post-election results show that support for the CAQ rose by less than one percentage point, the Conservative Party of Quebec’s share in Chomedey surged by more than 16 points.
In a bid to maintain some continuity with the past along with tradition, Chomedey’s new Liberal MNA decided to preserve certain aspects of the décor in her suite of offices on Samson Blvd. at the corner of 1st Ave., which was previously Guy Ouellette’s constituency office. Noting that several paintings on the walls were placed there by Ouellette and his team, Lakhoyan Olivier said she kept them because they are part of history.
A cross-section of communities
“I love history and I love to recognize that,” she told the standing-room crowd who turned up for the celebration. They included a significant number of constituents from Chomedey’s Armenian community, as well as many others from this highly multicultural and ethnically-diverse provincial riding.
For the last six months, as Lakhoyan Olivier explained to her supporters, “I’ve been between the National Assembly three or four days a week and two days here. I’ve been as a legislator over there working hard to pass through bills. Working hard representing Chomedey and Quebec, because the needs of Chomedey are also the needs of Quebec.”
She said that since election day, she’s met with the leaders of many local community organizations. “I want to meet everybody,” she said, noting the presence of Agape executive director Kevin McLeod at the launch event as well as leaders from SCAMA.
A gift for languages
Sona Lakhoyan Olivier speaks five languages, has been a resident of the Chomedey area more than three decades, and has been well-known as a community activist in Laval for more than 30 years. Before being elected, she was an employee of Loto-Québec, serving as an executive hostess to VIP clients at the Montreal Casino.
Lakhoyan Olivier also served as an elected member of the former Commission scolaire de Laval (CSDL), as well as vice-president of the board of directors of the Fondation de la Cité de la Santé.
Raised on Guénette St. in Chomedey, Lakhoyan Olivier was born in Beirut, Lebanon, where she had the opportunity to learn Arabic, Turkish, Armenian (her mother tongue), as well as English and French.
Highly diverse education
During her years in Lebanon, she attended an Armenian community school during her primary years, followed by high school in Arabic, then a French-language girls’ school in Montreal, and finally Concordia University. While doing undergraduate studies at Concordia, she pursued minors in Greek, Russian, German and Spanish.
Juggling family obligations with work and now politics daily, she is married to Marc Olivier. Together, they raised two daughters, Savannah and Ariana, both of whom are pursuing studies at Concordia University.