Martin C. Barry
After receiving the unanimous endorsement of his riding association last Sunday, certifying him as the Quebec Liberal Party’s candidate in the upcoming provincial election, incumbent Chomedey MNA Guy Ouellette said the Laval region’s voters will send ‘six of out six’ Liberal MNAs to Quebec City if the currently ruling Liberals form another majority government.
“If we are six in Laval we are in power in Quebec City,” Ouellette said in an acceptance speech he delivered to supporters who gathered under a tent in the rear yard at Centre du Sablon. He urged all Liberals to speak to their neighbours and family about the necessity of getting out to vote on Oct. 1.
Although Chomedey is a longtime PLQ stronghold, and Laval’s five other provincial ridings are currently also Liberal, the Liberals’ political dominance of the region is by no means a certainty.
While the Liberals have been able count on support from the voters in Fabre, Vimont and Mille-Îles for more than a decade, the same cannot be said of Sainte Rose, which voted PQ as recently as 2012, or Laval-des-Rapides, where the voters have been notorious for vacilating in support between the PQ and the Liberals in numerous elections.
“Normally when we are six out of six, we’re in power in Quebec City with a majority government,” Ouellette said in an interview with the Laval News afterwards.
‘We need to be six’
“In the old days when the Parti Québécois was in power, only Chomedey stayed Liberal and the rest were Parti Québécois. For us, it’s really important to defend the interests of the people of Laval. That’s why we need to be six and we will work hard to be six.”
As Ouellette recalled, a minority PQ government in 2012 resulted in two Laval seats going to the PQ and four to the Liberals. However, with the PQ performing so lamentably heading into this election, and the Coalition Avenir Québec’s popularity rising proportionally, the political scenario in Laval could be changing.
Is CAQ cause for concern?
Asked whether he is concerned about the CAQ’s surge of good fortune, while also taking into account that the CAQ has become predominant just north of Laval in the North Shore region, Ouellette responded: “I think it’s a matter for the voters to see who can serve them best. Those who will be voting will have to consider whether they will be better served by a Liberal candidate or they want to make a change.”
All the same, he stood by the incumbent Liberal government’s record. “We have started building a prosperous Quebec for our next generations,” said Ouellette. “Why break all this and restart insecurely? I think we will have to work hard and we need to convince every citizen that they get in their riding the best MNAs who are Liberal.”
A show of support
Among the guests at the gathering were former Chomedey Liberal MNA Lise Bacon, Quebec Consumer Protection Minister Lise Thériault, Mille-Îles Liberal MNA and Minister for Senior Citizens Francine Charbonneau, Fabre MNA Monique Sauvé, Laval-des-Rapides MNA Saul Polo, Sainte-Rose MNA Jean Habel and Sir Wilfrid Laurier School Board chairwoman Jennifer Maccarone.
Delivering a testimonial to Ouellette’s effectiveness as an MNA, SWLSB Ward 8 commissioner for the Chomedey area Vicky Kaliotzakis said: “When the Anglophone community of Laval was looking for a champion to help them get equalized taxes and lower the taxes he was there.
SWLSB official grateful
“He was the only MNA to deposit a petition in the National Assembly and he spoke publicly about this issue and lobbied to make real change that would help our minority position,” she continued. “He did make it political, he made it personal. He worked for us as though he were a member of the minority Anglophone community and he didn’t let us down.”
According to Kaliotzakis, Ouellette also stood up for the English-speaking community two years ago when the National Assembly’s proposed Bill 86 threatened to shut down school boards. “Guy was also there,” she pointed out, “even though it couldn’t have been easy.” She said Ouellette helped them fight for their rights to keep locally-elected representatives on school boards.