Nomination News: Catching Up in La Belle Province
What's missing, and surprisingly so, are any names for the now-vacant seat of Montmagny – L'Islet – Kamouraska – Rivière-du-Loup, QC. So far we have heard one name of a possibly interested retiring municipal politician for the Conservative nomination, but no Bloquiste, Liberal or New Democrat. On the face of it, this implies that potential candidates are considering their options as between a municipal and federal career, and weighing the possibility that both could be waged at the same time, given that the Québec municipal elections are scheduled for November 1, and the latest rumour-flavour of the week has a federal election unfolding on Monday, November 9 (being the first Monday at least 36 days after the scheduled Liberal Opposition Day on Wednesday September 30). The by-election in MIKR must be called by Wednesday, November 18 for Tuesday, December 29 or later.
As to the ridings actually having news, we start with three newly nominated Liberal candidates in Conservative ridings this past week:
- Mégantic – L'Érable, QC - Marc Giroux, whom we previously reported to be running for the Liberal nomination in this eastern townships riding, was acclaimed at a nomination meeting attended by Québec lieutenant Denis Coderre in Thetford Mines this past Monday August 17, reported La Nouvelle and Le Soleil. The riding is currently represented by Coderre's Conservative counterpart, two-term Conservative M.P. Christian Paradis and has been a Conservative-Bloc contest in the last two elections, although it exchanged hands several times between the Bloc Québécois and Liberals prior to that.
- Louis-Saint-Laurent, QC - A former Parti Québécois ministerial advisor from the Lévesque era and one-time Conservative Party worker in the 1980s has "thought long and hard" and decided to run for the Liberal Party this time, reported le Journal de Québec. Johanne Brisson was also acclaimed her new party's candidate this past Tuesday in the presence of Denis Coderre and Marc Garneau, making her the first Liberal candidate in the Québec city region, and she will now face two-time Conservative M.P. Josée Verner and recently-nominated Bloc Québécois candidate France Gagné. The riding's predecessor, Québec East was held for two terms after 1993 by the Bloc, but then narrowly lost to Liberal Jean-Guy Carignan in 2000. However, Carignan left the Liberal caucus after he pleaded guilty in a hit-and-run incident, and then ran as an independent in the redistributed seat of Louis-Saint-Laurent in 2004 when it returned to the Bloc Québécois and Liberal candidate Michel Fragasso fell to third place behind Verner. No Liberal since then has exceeded Fragasso's 22.3% vote share, although their vote did double from 6.4% in 2006 to 13.4% in 2008. Le Soleil is spelling her name "Joane" rather than "Johanne", so if anyone can confirm the correct spelling for me, please do get in touch.
- Jonquière – Alma, QC - Notary and Chamber of Commerce member Bianka Villeneuve was acclaimed in the presence of Québec lieutenant Denis Coderre this past Wednesday, August 19, as the Liberal candidate in this Saguenay area riding, currently represented by four-term Conservative M.P. Jean-Pierre Blackburn. The riding has been a Conservative-Bloc contest the last two outings, but was previously won by Bloquistes earning roughly half the vote, the vote share enjoyed by Blackburn in the last two elections. Blackburn previously represented the riding for two terms from 1984 to 1993, when he lost to a newly elected Bloc Québécois M.P.
- Louis-Hébert, QC - Meanwhile one potential candidate whose interest is apparently being rebuffed, former M.P. and prime ministeral aide in the Martin government, Hélène Chalifour Scherrer, is not being mentioned in discussions about her old riding, reports Simon Boivin of Le Soleil. Rather, 2008 candidate Jean Beaupré is getting set for a return, and Québec lieutenant Denis Coderre with whom Scherrer is said to have a cool relationship is saying little. The riding was the Conservatives' only loss in the province last time, as one-term M.P. Luc Harvey was narrowly defeated by the Bloc's Pascal-Pierre Paillé; and according to the Liberal Scarf blog is considered by Liberals to be their best shot in the Québec city region this time around.
- Québec, QC - Le Soleil is also reporting in the same story that Jean Leclerc is considering a run for the federal Liberals in this riding, currently held by long-time Bloc Québécois M.P. Christiane Gagnon.
- Roberval – Lac-Saint-Jean, QC - 2008 candidate Bernard Garneau is interested in representing the Liberal Party once again in this riding, where he was born and still has family, and plans to retire to next year from Hamilton. No date has been set for the nomination meeting as yet. The riding was won by Conservative M.P. Denis Lebel in a 2007 by-election after the retirement of Bloc Québécois M.P. and former leader Michel Gauthier. Lebel was re-elected in 2008 over a new Bloc challenger, with Garneau well behind, just barely earning the 10% vote share required for a rebate of paid candidate expenses.
- Abitibi – Baie-James – Nunavik – Eeyou, QC - Further north, Coderre introduced his candidate for the Liberal nomination, Val d'Or engineer Léandre Gervais, Tuesday of last week, reported l'Echo Abitibien. The nomination meeting will be held on Sunday, August 30, and it's unclear whether any other candidate will be running at that time, although Gervais has been speaking with former Conservative-turned-Liberal M.P. Guy St-Julien who does not appear to be interested in running again. The riding is currently represented by three-term Bloc Québécois M.P. Yvon Lévesque, who has previously confirmed his intention to run again.
- Compton – Stanstead, QC - A nomination meeting has been scheduled for Wednesday, September 23 at which three-term Bloc Québécois M.P. France Bonsant is expected to be acclaimed her party's candidate once again, reports Le Reflet du Lac. Bonsant's Liberal opponent, 2008 candidate William Hogg, was acclaimed earlier this summer. Both candidates claim to be ready for a fall election should one occur.
News from out of the NDP convention suggests that both Alexandre Boulerice in Rosemont – La Petite-Patrie and Daniel Breton in Jeanne-Le Ber are planning to run again, while Hoang Mai who ran last time in Brossard – La Prairie was featured in the party's convention video, which was also taken as a strong indication of his future plans.
OK, that's the wrap on Québec for now. On to Ontario, and then points west.