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PostPosted: Sun Sep 02, 2018 8:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Visually impaired candidate hopes to make Quebec electoral history

Camille St-Laurent
Quebec Solidaire candidate Camille St-Laurent is believed to be the first visually-impaired candidate for provincial office in Quebec history. (Photo: Quebec Solidaire/Twitter)

Sidhartha Banerjee, The Canadian Press
Published Sunday, September 2, 2018 8:33AM EDT

MONTREAL -- Quebec solidaire's Camille St-Laurent wants voters to see beyond the fact that she cannot.

The left-leaning sovereigntist party touts St-Laurent, 23, as the first visually impaired candidate to seek office in Quebec provincial politics.

St-Laurent is proud to be running, regardless of whether she is the first, and comfortable with the idea she could inspire others.

But she also wants electors to look past her disability.

"I want people to see beyond that and what I can give to them - all the experience I've had in my life, I want to share with them," she said in an interview.

The political novice decided last winter to seek election in the Oct. 1 provincewide vote after consulting friends and family.

Just four years ago, running in politics would have been an afterthought for the native of Granby, Que. That's when a newlywed St-Laurent lost her vision after several surgeries for detached retinas.

St-Laurent said her personal grieving is complete and politics is a way to move forward.

"I said why not give it a try?" she said. "It's a life experience too.

"I thought to myself that I can do it. Yes I'm blind. Yes I'm 23. But these are things I can use in my favour."

A Quebec solidaire supporter since becoming an adult, she became involved at the grassroots level last fall. Not long after, the party began gauging her interest in running.

Although she lives in Quebec solidaire's east-end Montreal powerbase, she picked the western Montreal riding of Marguerite Bourgeoys where the party has never topped more than 1,508 votes in an election.

Alongside a team of volunteers, she's also learning more about the multicultural electoral district that includes a large Sikh population. She first visited the riding while attending the local gurdwara with her husband, who is Sikh.

She says living with a disability allows her to put her empathy, openness and willingness to listen to others to the forefront - advantages on the campaign trail.

"For me it's much more of a strength than a negative that I lost my vision," she says.

Pitted against Liberal cabinet heavyweight Helene David among other candidates, an undaunted St-Laurent said door-knocking during the campaign's first week went well as she pitched her priorities like accessibility and fighting poverty.

Four years removed from a life-changing experience, St-Laurent feels she's ready to give back to society through politics.

"If you want to make change, do it yourself and go for it," she said.


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PostPosted: Sun Sep 02, 2018 8:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quebec election: CAQ considers extra security for threatened candidate

Posters depicting CAQ candidate and former police spokesperson Ian Lafrenière with a bullet in his head were put up on a CEGEP campus.

Matthew Lapierre
Updated: August 31, 2018

Former Montreal police inspector Ian Lafrenière announces his candidacy for the South Shore riding of Vachon as CAQ leader François Legault looks on in Longueuil, Que., on Aug. 21, 2018. Paul Chiasson / THE CANADIAN PRESS

After threatening images of him appeared on a CEGEP campus, CAQ candidate and former police spokesperson Ian Lafrenière may get additional security as he campaigns to represent Vachon, a riding on Montreal’s South Shore.

La Presse reported Friday that posters depicting graffiti of Lafrenière with a bullet in his head had been posted, and then taken down, at the CEGEP de Saint-Jérôme.

When Lafrenière met with Coalition Avenir Québec leader François Legault to consider becoming a candidate, one of his concerns was security, Legault said Friday.

“It’s unfortunate. I think we’re going to ensure that he will be protected. You know, he gave back his gun so it’s going to have to be the police who protect him,” he said. “He was already threatened. I assured him that we would protect him.”

Legault said Lafrenière, who has been the target of similar graffiti in the past, particularly while he was a spokesperson for the Montreal police, might need additional security.

“It’s exceptional that a candidate says, ‘I’ve already been the subject of threats, and I’m worried about other threats,’” Legault said.

The CAQ confirmed Friday that a complaint about the posters had been made to the Sûreté du Québec. They also said that Lafrenière has been protected by a private security firm in the past.

The party said that the file was in the hands of the SQ and it would be up to them to decide whether to provide Lafrenière additional security.

Reached for comment Friday, Lafrenière wouldn’t speak about his security situation. He said that the best security is what people don’t know.

He said he was aware that small groups of people had a problem with him, but he was reassured that the posters had been quickly taken down.

“It’s not a shared opinion. I don’t want to be distracted from the real issues. When I go out in the community, people want to talk about education, about access to healthcare.”

Lafrenière hasn’t only had to deal with gruesome posters. Someone made a fake account on the dating app Grindr using his image. When he was made aware of the account by members of the gay community, Lafrenière laughed it off and said he didn’t mind if it was left up.


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PostPosted: Sun Sep 02, 2018 8:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

References to fracking, oil, birth policies removed from CAQ website

The Canadian Press
Published Sunday, September 2, 2018 11:51AM EDT
Last Updated Sunday, September 2, 2018 12:01PM EDT

Coalition Avenir Quebec leader Francois Legault is facing questions about the disappearance of references to oil, shale gas and birth rates from his party’s website.

At the start of the campaign, the CAQ website had said a section titled ‘Birth,’ in which the platform for policies to support growing families was laid out.

Among the proposed solutions were increased support for families with a second and third child, reinstatement of the assisted procreation program and a framework for adoption.

The section was taken down on Aug. 29 and when Legault announced a promise to give up to $1,216 to families after a second or third child, Legault said the policy had nothing to do with a desire to increase Quebec’s population or boost the birth rate.

A CAQ spokesperson said the modifications to the website were made to prevent the promise from being associated with a baby-bonus, adding that the family allowance would enhance existing benefits for families with two or more children.

Other parties have pointed to the removal of references to oil and shale gas extraction from the site, saying the CAQ was a “petroleum party.”

CAQ officials said the removal was part of a planned overhaul of the website.

The removal included policies regarding “responsible oil exploitation” and the possibility of “exploiting shale gas by hydraulic fracturing,” except in densely populated areas.

The policies were replaced by text using less specific terminology, such as “exploiting natural resources” without mentioning oil or shale gas, specifically.


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PostPosted: Sun Sep 02, 2018 8:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

CAQ targeting Liberal bastions in western Quebec

Despite 40 years of Liberal rule, François Legault made early stop in the Outaouais

Amanda Pfeffer · CBC News · Posted: Aug 31, 2018 7:06 AM ET | Last Updated: August 31

The leader of the Coalition Avenir Québec (CAQ) François Legault was the first to visit western Quebec during the Quebec election campaign. (Radio-Canada)

As the first week of the Quebec election campaign comes to an end, the Coalition Avenir Québec has its eye on western Quebec despite its longtime support for the Liberal Party.

The five ridings in the Outaouais — Papineau, Pontiac, Gatineau, Chapleau and Hull — have voted Liberal for some forty years.

Each Liberal candidate got more than 50 per cent of the vote in 2014.

But CAQ Leader François Legault made western Quebec one of his first stops on the campaign trail, handing out a massive promise to build a brand new 160-bed hospital to address problems of access to health care in the region.

The CAQ candidate for Papineau, former TVA personality Mathieu Lacombe, said forty years of Liberal rule mean it's time for change.

"We feel taken for granted. We are taken for granted," said Lacombe, standing beside his leader.

Liberal Leader Philippe Couillard has not visited the region yet in the campaign's official first week.

Outaouais in play

But he may not be able to stay away for long, according to Pierre Jury, editorialist-in-chief with Le Droit newspaper.

He said the rise of the CAQ in the polls means several ridings in western Quebec may be in play.

In particular, he said keep your eyes on:

•Chapleau, where Liberal incumbent Marc Carrière won with 58 per cent of the vote in 2014.
•Gatineau, where Liberal candidate Luce Farrell is running to replace incumbent Stéphanie Vallée who won with 62 per cent.
•Papineau, where Liberal incumbent Alexandre Iracà won with 50 per cent.

Jury said despite those numbers, the dynamics have changed and the longtime joke the Liberals would win western Quebec ridings if the candidate was a pig in a red cape may not apply this time.

"You have two main parties that are federalists now and that's a big change," said Jury.

It means with the sovereignty question off the table, and with the the CAQ high in the polls provincially, voters have been presented with a choice and a campaign that can examine other issues beyond which party will keep Quebec from separating.

Pierre Jury with Le Droit said the dynamics that have have kept the Liberal hold on western Quebec ridings have changed in 2018. (CBC)

Health care key

It's no surprise the CAQ is focusing on health care.

Papineau's Lacombe said the region is at the bottom of the list when it comes to provincial per capita spending.

The community group Santé Outaouais 2020 has already presented the parties with a questionnaire on the issues, from emergency room waiting lists to access to long-term care.

"Because of how important this issue is to people, and how it affects the people we love, there's no doubt this is the most important issue," according to the non-profit's Andrew Gibson.


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 04, 2018 6:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quebec Liberals score an all-time low among francophones

By Boris Proulx. Published on Sep 3, 2018 10:38pm

Quebec Liberal Leader Philippe Couillard. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jacques Boissinot

MONTREAL — Quebec’s francophone majority seems to have turned its back on Premier Philippe Couillard’s Liberals like never before. But experts say Couillard still has a shot at winning the election.

Not only do Liberals rely less on francophone voters than other parties, but this electorate is so divided right now that the outcome of the October 1st vote gets really unpredictable.

“We always underestimate the Liberals. It’s a recurring phenomenon,” said Guy Lachapelle, a professor in the political science department at Concordia University, adding there’s no indication Quebec’s anglophones and allophones will switch to an opposition party for this year’s election, as they never have before.

“The Liberals start the race with 25 seats [out of 125].”

Make no mistake, however, to form a government in Quebec, the only vote that really matters is the francophone vote. Aside from the Island of Montreal and the Outaouais region bordering Ontario, a map of current projections for the elections puts most of Quebec in the light-blue colour of the Coalition Avenir Quebec (CAQ).

All recent polls put the CAQ first among the francophone majority, sometimes over the 40 per cent mark. The right-wing party offers a mild nationalist change over Couillard’s Liberals, which have spent roughly 15 years in power, briefly interrupted by an 18-month Parti Québécois (PQ) government between 2012 and 2014.

“The Liberals don’t do better than the PQ among francophones, (they’re) stuck at around 18 to 20 per cent of the voting intentions. They have never been so low,” explains Lachapelle.

That means if the elections were to take place this week, CAQ leader François Legault might just lead a majority government. Couillard must score better among francophones if he hopes to continue as premier.

That said, the numbers aren’t all bad for him. As many as 38 per cent of voters say they could change their mind until Oct. 1. The recent Le Devoir – Montreal Gazette survey indicates his party comes first among young voters aged 18 to 34. Quebec’s economy is thriving and the province is leaving billions in surplus for the next administration, which could lead some undecided voters not to vote for change.

But mostly, the crucial francophone vote is split between all parties, said Université Laval sociology professor Simon Langlois, who studies what he calls the “linguistic polarization” of the vote.

“It is very hard to forecast what will happen the day of the elections, because it is a race between three and sometimes four parties [for francophone ridings]. Any combination can happen. Predictions for a specific riding are really hard to make right now.”

Not so long ago, Quebec’s rigid sovereigntist-federalist axis would have prevented such a split. Every election came as a miniature referendum about whether or not to have yet another referendum.

This time, only the urban left-wing Québec Solidaire has made independence a priority — probably stealing some votes from the Parti Québécois itself in a battle to win the mainstream nationalist vote over the CAQ.

If the veteran Quebec Liberal machine succeeds in winning a few local battles in this melee, combined with its secured non-francophone ridings, the party has a shot at staying on. Regardless, the eventuality of a minority government — of any colour — leaves the door open to even more interesting scenarios.


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 04, 2018 7:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quebec election: Which party is really the most 'progressive'?

Giuseppe Valiante, The Canadian Press
Published Monday, September 3, 2018 7:16AM EDT

MONTREAL -- May Chiu, a family and human rights lawyer, ran in a previous provincial election for Quebec solidaire, which bills itself as the most environmentalist, left-leaning and socially conscious of the four major political parties.

But in Quebec politics, labels can be confusing -- and ironic -- as Chiu discovered.

Chiu finished third in the Montreal riding of Outremont in 2008 and eventually quit the party -- but not because she hadn't won.

She left, in part, because of Quebec solidaire's pledge to pass a law, if it takes power, that would prohibit hijab-clad Muslim women or turban-wearing Sikh men from holding certain jobs such as a judge or police officer.

Moreover, under certain circumstances, Quebec solidaire would go so far as to use Sec. 33 of the federal Charter of Rights and Freedoms -- which allows governments to override certain rights granted under the legislation -- to keep its law in force.

Paradoxically, this position comes from a political party whose 2017 convention was interrupted by a mini scandal after it was revealed the food table contained ... Israeli hummus.

The offending spread, which came from a country that "persecutes Palestinians," was promptly removed and given to charity, according to a Radio-Canada report.

Regardless of ideology, political parties in Quebec are under enormous pressure to take a stance on the so-called secular nature of the state.

Chiu says Quebec solidaire's position is untenable for her.

"Economically, socially, environmentally, QS has the best platform according to my principles and values," she said in an interview. "But I can't vote for a party that says it will use (Sec. 33) on that issue.

"The problem is when you start to discriminate against one group, the floodgates are open to discriminate against any other group."

Oddly enough, it's the Quebec Liberals -- the party of the status quo with strong ties to the business sector and that made severe cuts to education and health in order to balance the books and pay down debt -- who are considered progressive on many issues.

Andre Gagne, a digital fellow at the Montreal Institute for Genocide and Human Rights Studies, calls the Liberals the most "progressive" when it comes to immigration, diversity, welcoming refugees and religious freedom -- particularly in comparison to their biggest rivals, the Parti Quebecois and Coalition Avenir Quebec.

"There is an irony there," said Gagne, who is also a Concordia University associate professor.

It was the Liberals who wanted to increase immigration levels to 60,000 newcomers a year from 50,000 and who planned to hold a conference on systemic racism in the province.

But as the election call approached, the party backed down on both proposals after intense criticism from the PQ and Coalition, who both say there is no systemic racism in Quebec.

The Liberals, who have been in power since 2003 except for a PQ minority government between 2012 and 2014, also appear to be the favourite party of people between 18 and 34.

A recent Leger poll conducted for the Montreal Gazette and Le Devoir indicated 35 per cent of young voters would have voted Liberal, compared with 26 per cent for the Coalition, 16 per cent for the PQ and 8 per cent for Quebec solidaire.

The support from the young can be explained by a variety of factors, Gagne said, such as the Liberals' staunch support for federalism, as opposed to the PQ and Quebec solidaire, which are both sovereigntist.

But the Liberals' positive stance on immigration, refugees and religious freedom is likely also a strong factor, he said.

Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois, a Quebec solidaire spokesman, said in an interview his party would only invoke Sec. 33 if Quebec's appeals court upholds its future secularism law but the Supreme Court of Canada rejects it.

"Our position is not perfect," Nadeau-Dubois said in an interview. "But it has a great merit of being a compromise."

He noted his party is the only one that has a hijab-wearing Muslim candidate in this election.

And while Chiu can't support Quebec solidaire, she is actively fighting the Liberals in court over the party's 2017 so-called "religious neutrality" law.

Chiu represents a women's organization opposing Bill 62, which prohibits anyone from receiving or giving a public service with their face covered.

The courts have twice suspended the law's application until it goes through judicial review because of the "irreparable harm" it would cause Muslim women.

While Chiu finds the Liberal law coercive, she believes the secularism laws proposed by the PQ, the Coalition or Quebec solidaire would be far worse.

The confusing and ironic state of Quebec politics makes her somewhat of a political orphan.

"(The Liberals') economic policies hurt so many people -- and most of all they hurt racialized minorities," Chiu said.

"And speaking as a racialized minority, I don't know where my vote (on Oct. 1) should go."


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 04, 2018 10:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

PQ leader in danger of losing riding in tight Quebec election

By Boris Proulx. Published on Sep 4, 2018 11:05am

Parti Quebecois leader Jean-François Lisée. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jacques Boissinot

PQ Leader Jean-François Lisée is in danger of losing his own riding, polls suggest.

Polls show the Parti Québécois (PQ) is struggling to convince voters throughout the province they’ll manage Quebec better than the centre-right Coalition Avenir Quebec (CAQ). At home, though, Lisée might lose his seat to a different opponent: the socialist and sovereigntist Quebec Solidaire.

There was a time when the PQ could take the French-speaking East Montreal for granted as its stronghold. That time is decidedly over. A polls analysis conducted by the Quebec125 blog shows that no riding is safe for the party in the greater Montreal region in the Oct. 1 election. That includes Rosemont, the riding held by Lisée and located roughly within the limits of the low-income, francophone, East Montreal neighbourhood that shares the same name.

According to a Sept. 3 analysis of projections based on Léger/Le Devoir/The Gazette and Mainstreet/Capitales Médias surveys, Lisée is in a tight race with Quebec Solidaire’s leader, the former journalist and media personality Vincent Marissal. Not far behind, the CAQ and the Quebec Liberals are each slated to claim about 20 per cent of the vote. That makes the outcome of the local election in Rosemont especially unpredictable.

“Rosemont is among the top five of the tightest races of all Quebec in this election. No one knows who’s in the lead. It is a story in itself, because PQ should be leading”, explains Philippe J. Fournier, the science teacher and data nerd who founded the Quebec125 blog.

“The vote is so split right now, a candidate can win with 28, 29 per cent [of the ballots].”

Yet, the PQ is in denial about its own odds.

In the first week of the election campaign, internal PQ numbers gathered by Repère Communications were leaked to the Journal de Québec, which ran them Aug. 25. They implied that Lisée is in for an easy win in Rosemont – an obvious “spin,” said Fournier, who ignored PQ’s number for his projections, calling their methodology “doubtful”.

In an email to iPolitics, the PQ said it stands by their numbers. A member of its communications team sent a summary spreadsheet about their internal survey that omits most of their methodology details. Repère Communication did not respond to request for comment.

In an interview following an event in a Rosemont park on Sept. 1, Marissal told iPolitics he is often confronted with voters who are angry that he might “split the vote” and spoil the current opposition leader’s chances of getting a seat in Quebec’s National Assembly.

“Jean-François Lisée is a big shot, and I don’t underestimate him. He is someone able of scheming,” he said.

Both Lisée and Marissal are former journalists, but of different generations. They first met in 1990, recalled Marissal, when he was still a junior journalist and Lisée was already a high-profile political analyst. Lisée later became the special advisor for former Quebec premier Jacques Parizeau during the 1995 referendum.

As a columnist for Montreal’s La Presse, Marissal opposed the PQ’s 2013 charter of values and he thinks that the current leader could play that card again. For instance, Lisée suggested the party “start a discussion” on the ban on burqa and niqab in public during the PQ leadership race. He also recently proposed building a fence on Quebec’s southern border during the jump of irregular migrants crossings.

“The politics of division, based on the exclusion of a minority, I find it execrable, detestable, and dangerous. And Lisée kept on doing it,” he said.

However, Marissal is not free of controversy. He first denied, and then admitted, having had talks with Justin Trudeau’s federal Liberals before running for his current pro-independence party Quebec Solidaire.

That might make sense to a more urban, multicultural demographic in Montreal, though, especially in an election where Quebec sovereignty is almost off the agenda. Regardless, it’s fair to say that Rosemont will be the perfect indicator of whether things are as bad as they seem for Lisée and the PQ.


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 04, 2018 3:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

We may find that on election day, QS may surpass the PQ as the largest Sovereigntist party in the Quebec National Assembly.

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PostPosted: Wed Sep 05, 2018 8:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quebec election: CAQ trying to rock Liberal boat in West Island

With the CAQ leading in province-wide polls, newcomer Angela Rapoport says voters seem open to an alternative this time around.

John Meagher, Montreal Gazette
Updated: September 5, 2018

CAQ's Angela Rapoport is running in Nelligan. MONwp

Angela Rapoport, the Coalition Avenir Québec candidate for Nelligan, is hoping West Island voters will give the CAQ some consideration in the Oct. 1 provincial election.

Although West Island ridings have traditionally voted Liberal in provincial elections, Rapoport said the CAQ offers voters an alternative to the Liberals and Parti Québécois, two parties that have dominated Quebec’s political landscape for nearly half a century.

Rapoport will face a stiff challenge from Liberal candidate Monsef Derraji, who is replacing outgoing Liberal cabinet member Martin Coiteux.

Coiteux was elected in 2014 with 80 per cent of the vote in Nelligan (which includes Kirkland, Pierrefonds and Île-Bizard). He served as the minister of public security and municipal affairs in Premier Philippe Couillard’s cabinet, but chose to not seek re-election.

With the CAQ leading in province-wide polls, Rapoport, a newcomer to politics, said voters seem open to an alternative this time around.

“The citizens are saying we need a change,” said Rapoport, whose professional background is in financial services.

Rapoport, who holds an MBA from McGill University and speaks English, French and Italian, said she is a former Liberal supporter who would like to see politics change in Quebec.

“Before there was no alternative for the anglos and some of the other allophones or the French.

“Now there is a good alternative. I have to say I was Liberal most of my life and that’s why I’m joining this team because it promises to make Quebec stronger within Canada and not to hold a referendum.”

She also thinks CAQ leader François Legault will make a good premier.

“I like him as a leader and I think he will get things done.

“I’m extremely comfortable with the CAQ,” she added. “I’m a person of conviction and if don’t believe in something or a cause, I will not even go there.”

Although Rapoport does not live in the riding, she does not think it will hurt her chances of being elected on Oct 1.

“I have family and friends who do,” said the Hampstead resident. “I’m familiar with the area … and I’ve been going around the riding and meeting people and introducing myself.”

Key issues with local voters are transportation, the spring floods of 2017, and concerns of the elderly, she said.

She thinks Legault has distanced himself from his past as a PQ minister and sovereigntist.

“At this point, most people are very familiar with the CAQ and François Legault,” she said.

“My feeling and the reaction that I got from the population is that it’s time for a change.”

The CAQ has also named its candidates for the other West Island ridings, which are were all won by the Liberals in 2014.

Election poster for CAQ candidate Marc Hétu in the Marquette riding. John Mahoney / Montreal Gazette

Laura Azéroual will run against Liberal finance minister Carlos Leitão in Robert-Baldwin (Dollard-des-Ormeaux) riding, while Karen Hilchey will face an uphill battle in Jacques-Cartier against Greg Kelley, son of outgoing and longtime MNA Geoff Kelley.

Hilchey is a former ministerial assistant of Geoff Kelley.

In Marquette (Dorval and Lachine), the CAQ candidate Marc Hétu will duke it out with Liberal newcomer Enrico Ciccone, who replaced veteran MNA François Ouimet, ousted by his party last month.


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 05, 2018 8:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Citizens coalition sends demand to all party leaders to commit to riding equity and equality

By Joel Goldenberg

The Suburban

Citizens coalition

Left to right: TMR councillor Erin Kennedy representing Mayor Philippe Roy; CSL councillor Ruth Kovac; Montreal West Mayor Beny Masella; former D’Arcy McGee MNA the Hon. Lawrence Bergman; Montreal City Council Dean Marvin Rotrand; Editor of The Suburban and Co-Chair of the Citizens Coalition Beryl Wajsman; CSL Mayor Mitchell Brownstein; Hampstead Mayor William Steinberg; Hampstead councillor Jack Edery.

A coalition of private citizens and politicians called on Quebec’s party leaders Tuesday to commit during the current campaign to “reforming Quebec’s electoral law so that the huge disparity in the number of voters per riding is redressed.”

The group sought a court ruling to prevent the Oct. 1 provincial election from going ahead with an electoral map changed last year by the Director-General of Elections, but the court declined to make the case a priority and the case will be heard next year. Thus, this year’s election will go ahead with, amongst others, a merged Mont Royal-Outremont, an enlarged D’Arcy McGee riding and Mont-Royal eliminated. The coalition is calling for changes that would take effect in the election after this one.

A press conference was held Tuesday on this issue at at a packed Côte St. Luc City Hall council chamber with most major media and dozens of community activists present. It was led by Montreal City Council Dean Marvin Rotrand, citizens coalition co-chair Suburban editor-in-chief Beryl Wajsman, Mayors Mitchell Brownstein (CSL), William Steinberg (Hampstead) and Beny Masella (Montreal West), former MNA Lawrence Bergman and many other elected officials from the island of Montreal.

Wajsman underlined the urgency of restoring “the importance of a voice for non-francophone communities and vulnerable populations. “What is the point of Quebec giving more money and power to the City of Montreal, and spending money on cultural communities, when the 50.3 percent on the island of Montreal who are non-francophones, have had their voice diminished by four ridings lost?” he added. “It’s time we equalized the ridings in Montreal.... We want a commitment to a new electoral map [throughout the province] where the differences in population shall not be more than 10 percent one way or the other, not the current 25 percent.”

He stressed that, “Urban voters need equality and equity of votes as demanded by Section 10 of the Quebec Charter, or we cannot call ourselves a proper democracy and make fun of the Americans on voter suppression. We institutionally and legally suppress the votes of minorities.”

Wajsman also cited a 2017 ruling by the Nova Scotia Court of Appeal which overturned a “new electoral distribution that cut the representation of Acadians in three ridings, saying that it violated the Charter rights of representation and respect for natural communities.”

Rotrand said, “as far as we’re concerned, a commitment by the party leaders [to reform Quebec’s electoral law] can resolve the situation, should the parties — especially the main ones — commit to something most Quebecers would see as fairer, more democratic and respecting the rights of everyone, regardless of where they live.”

It was also revealed Tuesday that the court case to reverse the riding changes, being handled by constitutional rights lawyer Julius Grey, will be heard next year. The coalition vowed to continue until a final judgment is rendered.

Rotrand further said that several other jurisdictions whose electoral maps were changed reverted to their original maps, in Nova Scotia, Pennsylvania and North Carolina.

The councillor also expanded on the argument involving what current electoral law allows, pointing out ridings can have populations 25 percent more or less than the 48,952 average, “a maximum of 60,414 or a minimum of 36,290 voters.

“This legal disparity of up to 24,124 voters or up to a 72 percent legal difference of voters per riding gives some voters in Quebec far more power than others,” he added.

There are also six ridings — Abitibi-Est, Abitibi Ouest, Bonaventure, Gaspe, Rene Levesque and Ungava —with even smaller populations that have been granted exceptions. The plaintiffs are arguing that such disparities should only be allowed in “the rarest cases.” The plaintiffs also argue that the practices of jurisdictions like Manitoba and New Brunswick should be emulated.

“Manitoba does not allow any electoral district to be more or less than 10 percent of the norm while New Brunswick, while striving for parity, uses a variation that assures electoral districts are no more than 15 percent above or below the average,” says a statement by the plaintiffs. Quebec allows a variation of up to 25 percent.”

Coalition members are hoping to meet with the major party leaders in the days to come “and win their assurance that Quebec will ultimately have a fairer electoral map based on fairer criteria.”


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PostPosted: Thu Sep 06, 2018 8:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

( it appears the PQ has lost another MNA or candidate for the election )

PQ candidate Guy Leclair quits Quebec election amid drunk driving charges

The Canadian Press
Updated: September 6, 2018

Guy Leclair. Jacques Boissinot / THE CANADIAN PRESS

MONTREAL — A candidate for the Parti Quebecois has withdrawn his candidacy just weeks before the provincial election.

Guy Leclair, the PQ candidate and outgoing member of the legislature for the Montreal-area riding of Beauharnois, announced his resignation in a statement late Wednesday.

The announcement came on the same day Leclair was charged with impaired driving and refusing to obey a police officer.

In his statement, Leclair says he expects to be acquitted of the charges but he had to withdraw for the good of the party.

He’s due to appear in court Sept. 21, just 10 days before Quebecers go to the polls.

PQ Leader Jean-Francois Lisee, who spent much of the past two days defending Leclair after the allegations became public, has 10 days to find another candidate


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PostPosted: Thu Sep 06, 2018 8:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quebec election: CAQ vows to abolish mandatory overtime for nurses

The plight of burned-out nurses dominated the campaign's first debate, with four candidates offering different solutions to fix the system.

Aaron Derfel, Montreal Gazette
Updated: September 5, 2018

From left, Vanessa Roy with Quebec solidaire, Gertrude Bourdon for the Liberal Party, Dianne Lamarre with the Parti Québécois and Danielle McCann with the CAQ participate in a debate on health issues on Wednesday.

Gertrude Bourdon is to become health minister if the Liberals are re-elected. Graham Hughes / THE CANADIAN PRESS

The plight of overworked and burned-out nurses dominated the first debate of the Quebec election campaign on Wednesday, with candidates of the four main political parties offering starkly different prescriptions for what ails the province’s health-care system.

Danielle McCann, of the front-running Coalition Avenir Québec, made the most dramatic promise of the debate: the immediate abolition of mandatory overtime for nurses if the CAQ forms the next provincial government on Oct. 1.

“We want to give nurses back their dignity,” McCann said during the debate, alluding to the case last winter of Émilie Ricard, a young nurse in Sherbrooke who posted a tearful selfie on Facebook describing her exhaustion after taking care of at least 70 patients on an overnight shift.

Still, McCann offered few specifics on exactly how a CAQ government would abolish forced overtime.

Diane Lamarre, health critic of the Parti Québécois, also invoked Ricard’s name during the mostly civil debate, pledging that a PQ government would set up an emergency $10-million fund to deal with the OT crisis.

“The reforms of the last four years have dehumanized the working conditions of nurses,” Lamarre said, referring to Health Minister Gaétan Barrette’s cost-cutting overhaul of the system.

“This explains why it’s not only hard to fill (full-time nursing) positions, but why there’s been an exodus of professionals.”

Lamarre also pledged to establish an independent organization that would decide on nurse-to-patient ratios to ensure that nurses deliver the best care to patients while preventing burnout.

Absent from the debate was Barrette, whose controversial reforms have drawn criticism from nurses and other health professionals and patient-rights groups. Debating in his place was star Liberal candidate Gertrude Bourdon, the executive director of the CHU de Québec-Université Laval hospital in Quebec City.

Premier Philippe Couillard has pledged that if the Liberals win re-election, Bourdon would replace Barrette as the next health minister. Bourdon was mostly on the defensive during the debate as both Lamarre and McCann assailed Barrette’s record.

Bourdon declined to say whether she would get rid of mandatory overtime, but suggested that the practice would likely disappear in the next two years as a result of an $800-million investment in home care and improved management.

Bourdon noted that the creation of 49 so-called super clinics in the past four years resulted in 67,000 fewer visits to emergency rooms. Still, Bourdon veered away from discussing Barrette’s contentious decision to merge the management of hospitals.

Rounding out the debate was 28-year-old Vanessa Roy of Québec solidaire. Roy, a physiotherapist by profession, called for an anti-burnout law and massive investments in public health care.

McCann, the former head of the Montreal regional health agency that Barrette abolished, said she was open to a law that would set nurse-to-patient ratios, but she wanted to wait until more information is gathered from several pilot projects.

CAQ Leader François Legault has said that McCann would serve as health minister if it forms the next government.

Bourdon said a Liberal government would encourage more pilot projects on staff ratios like the 19 that are underway, while working with the unions.

The debate was held at the Papineau Ave. headquarters of the province’s largest nurses’ union, the Fédération interprofessionnelle de la santé du Québec (FIQ). The debate was divided into four themes: overworked medical staff, the idea of a law setting ratios for nurses to patients, the challenge of maintaining a work-life balance among female health professionals and access to front-line care.

Another theme that emerged during the debate was the role of doctors, with McCann promising that the CAQ would suspend the planned raises of medical specialists. For her part, Lamarre argued that doctors should have less control of the decision-making in the health system, and recommended strengthening the province’s network of public CLSC clinics.


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PostPosted: Thu Sep 06, 2018 8:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quebec election: 10 interesting riding races to watch for on Oct. 1

It’s a horse race in many of the 125 ridings scattered across Quebec including, for the first time in years, the island of Montreal.

Philip Authier, Montreal Gazette
Updated: September 5, 2018

One of six ridings in Laval up for grabs, Laval-des-Rapides has since 1980 voted for the party that formed the government. Allen McInnis / Montreal Gazette

QUEBEC — It’s easy to overlook — with all the hoopla over the party leaders and the big issues of the day — but when it comes down to it, elections are won on a riding-by-riding basis.

And on Oct. 1, voters will be witnessing some hot races in many of the 125 ridings scattered across Quebec including, for the first time in years, the island of Montreal.

With about four weeks to go until the vote and the latest Montreal Gazette-Le Devor Léger poll showing it’s still a horse race, here is a quick look at some of the more interesting or close races in what will be an epic battle for Quebec.


Although the battle for the 27 ridings on the Island of Montreal has been predictable for many years, this time there is real drama in several because of the intense war between the Parti Québécois and Québec solidiare.

The Qc125 projection site, which monitors all recent polls, is predicting six of the 14 ridings in the east end could change hands Oct. 1. The 13 on the west side of the city are expected to stay Liberal.

QS wants to keep the three ridings they have, Mercier, Gouin and Sainte-Marie—Sainte-Jacques, and expand its tentacles into several others held by the rival PQ, including Rosemont and Hochelaga-Maisonneuve.

And the Coalition Avenir Québec has high hopes for a breakthrough on fortress Montreal. In three elections and numerous byelections, the CAQ has never won a seat on the island.

Rosemont: Currently held by PQ Leader Jean-François Lisée, he faces a solid competitor in Vincent Marissal, the former journalist running for QS. QS placed third in the riding in 2014, but with the recent surge in QS support in the city, all bets are off this time. The riding also borders Gouin, the riding won by QS co-spokesperson Gabriel-Nadeau Dubois, who has a solid team of volunteers at his disposal.

Pointe-aux-Trembles: The CAQ has targeted this riding as their Montreal beachhead and has selected a star candidate to run, Chantal Rouleau, the mayor of Rivières-des-Prairies—Pointe-aux-Trembles. But the riding has a solid PQ history and was held for many years by Nicole Léger. This time the PQ candidate is Jean-Martin Aussant, the former leader of Option nationale who recently returned to the PQ after years in self-imposed exile.

Maurice-Richard: This riding, formerly called Crémazie, swings from one party to the next in most elections. In the 2014 election, thanks in part to the PQ’s old Charter of Quebec Values, it landed with the Liberals. It is now held by Liberal Marie Montpetit, who is also a cabinet minister. The CAQ candidate, Manon Gauthier, has had her problems, including an old impaired driving charge, but that is not expected to affect her campaign. The riding will probably stay Liberal.

Sainte-Marie—Saint-Jacques: This riding, which includes the Gay Village and Old Montreal, is diverse and largely francophone and has proven fertile ground for the PQ for many years. But in 2014, QS co-spokesperson Manon Massé pulled off an upset and won the riding by 91 votes. In the process, she beat both a Liberal candidate and a former PQ cabinet minister, Daniel Breton. This time the PQ is running its lone anglophone candidate in the election, Jennifer Drouin.


Laval-des-Rapides: One of six ridings in Laval up for grabs, this riding has since 1980 voted for the party that formed the government. That pattern continued when PQ candidate Léo Bureau-Blouin won in 2012, but Liberal Saul Polo took it back in 2014.

La Prairie: The surprise resignation of CAQ president (and candidate) Stéphane Le Bouyonnec last week means anything can happen in this riding, which is held by Liberal Richard Merlini. The riding was in the CAQ’s hands in 2010 and 2014, which means it could swing that way again if the party experiences a wave in the Montérégie region. Former MNA Christian Dubé, who is leaving the Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec, replaced Le Bouyonnec as the CAQ’s candidate in the riding.

Taschereau: This riding includes a large swath of downtown Quebec City and for many years has been the lone Parti Québécois riding in a sea of Liberal and Coalition Avenir Québec seats. Much of that is due to the personality and work of longtime PQ MNA Agnès Maltais. Her retirement before the start of the campaign opened the floodgates to new candidates. Québec solidaire has targeted the riding, hoping to tap into its left-leaning urban dwellers. QS is running a dynamic new candidate, Catherine Dorion.

Brome-Missisquoi: CAQ Leader François Legault boldly predicted last week that if his party wins the Oct. 1 election it will be in large part due to the six Eastern Townships ridings, which he thinks will swing away from the Liberals. With the exception of Sherbrooke, now held by cabinet minister Luc Fortin, all the Liberal incumbents have decided not to run again. That includes veteran MNA Pierre Paradis in the riding of Brome-Missisquoi. The CAQ is running high-profile former Olympic skater Isabelle Charest in the riding.

Trois-Rivières: The Mauricie is always a battleground region in elections because the ridings tend to swing toward the party that winds up governing. The CAQ has all the ridings on their shopping list starting with Trois-Rivières, which the Liberals have held since 2003. Liberal incumbent Jean-Denis Girard is being challenged by a prominent CAQ candidate, Jean Boulet, who happens to be the brother of the former cabinet minister responsible for the region, Julie Boulet. Boulet used to represent the neighbouring riding of Laviolette, which was merged with the Saint-Maurice riding.

Roberval: Philippe Couillard’s riding has been PQ in the past, but he won it easily in 2014. But after PQ Leader Pauline Marois lost her riding in 2014, premier’s ridings are now on the watch list. A sign the Liberals don’t want to take any chances, Roberval was one of the first ridings his election caravan visited after the launch Aug. 23. The PQ candidate is 21-year-old Thomas Gaudreault.


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PostPosted: Fri Sep 07, 2018 7:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quebec election: CAQ's Legault fears next generation won't speak French

Left unchecked, influx of non-francophone immigrants represents an incredible risk to Quebec's identity, Coalition Avenir Québec leader says.

Philip Authier, Montreal Gazette
Updated: September 6, 2018

Coalition Avenir du Québec Leader François Legault greets mechanics during a visit to a trucking company while campaigning Thursday in Joliette.

"We will leave nobody behind," says Coalition Avenir Québec Leader François Legault. Ryan Remiorz / THE CANADIAN PRESS

SAINT-COLOMBAN — Left unchecked, the influx of non-francophone immigrants represents such a risk to Quebec’s identity, François Legault says, that he worries his grandchildren will not speak French.

Legault, leader of the Coalition Avenir Québec, made the comment Thursday as the election campaign veered for the first time into language politics, sparking a war of words between Legault and Liberal Leader Philippe Couillard.

“There is a risk our grandchildren will not speak French,” Legault said, turning on the nationalist tap. “I wouldn’t want to have that on my back, during my watch.

“Sitting in North America, Quebec is surrounded by hundreds of millions of anglophones. We will always be in a vulnerable position. Mr. Couillard has not understood that. It is the responsibility of the premier of Quebec to protect the nation, to protect French.

“With 50,000 (immigrants) arriving here a year, that’s a half a million in 10 years. It’s clear if these people don’t learn French … there’s a risk, yes.”

Legault was responding to comments from Couillard, who earlier Thursday accused him of wanting to “break up,” families because part of the CAQ’s immigration reduction plan involves wrestling the immigrant family unification programs out of the hands of the federal government.

Legault has said getting jurisdiction over the program is part and parcel of his plan to slash immigration to Quebec from 50,000 a year to 40,000.

“I see he’s (Couillard) got the bogeyman out again today,” Legault responded at a news conference held in the parking lot of a mall in this city in the Laurentians late Thursday.

He insisted a majority of Quebecers want Quebec to have more power to select its own immigrants and impose — as the CAQ proposes — language and value tests on them.

And they are unhappy 59 per cent of of immigrants who set up shop in Quebec don’t speak French. Worse, under the family unification plan, there is no obligation to learn it either because it’s run by Ottawa.

Legault has been critical of the Liberal record on immigration, saying the system is so badly run a quarter of new arrivals end up leaving the province. Despite the Liberal line that Quebec needs more labour, 75 per cent of immigrants choose to live in Montreal, not where the shortages are in the regions.

It is the second day in a row Legault has ventured into the immigration and language issue in what appears to be deliberate encroachment into the void left by the emaciated Parti Québécois, which used to master such hot-button issues.

Legault in fact is now telling voters not to vote PQ because only the CAQ is in a position to defeat the Liberals.

“I didn’t think M. Legault would be panicking this early in the campaign,” PQ Leader Jean-François Lisée responded later. “People are figuring out that the PQ is the only real party of change.”

But leading in the polls with three and half weeks left to campaign, a confident Legault is moving fast and furious, saying he’s ready to assume the leadership because Couillard spends most of his time “on his knees,” and never asks for powers Quebec needs.

Legault said while the CAQ promises an “in Canada,” future for Quebec, his government will try almost immediately to pry more powers out of Ottawa, “one by one.”

The list is exhaustive.

“Even (Justin Trudeau) won’t have any choice but to say yes if a large majority of Quebecers ask that this power (over unification program) be given to the Quebec government.” Legault said under questioning by the Montreal Gazette.

The highly revealing remarks set the stage for a collision with Ottawa should the CAQ form a majority government, despite media reports in English Canada that Quebec’s election is a docile affair not to be concerned with.

Earlier, however, Legault revealed a more pragmatic side when he clarified — even before Couillard levelled his accusations about families — that elderly immigrants arriving in Quebec to join their families would be exempted from having to pass the new French tests the CAQ plans to impose.

And separating immigrant parents from their children, as U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration did in Mexico earlier this year, is out of the question here.

A total of 53,388 immigrants came to Quebec in 2017. Ottawa retains the power to select 9,000 asylum seekers included in the overall total and the 12,000 who come under its family unification programs. That often means elderly grandparents, but also brothers and sisters who are sponsored by immigrants already living here.

Couillard, however, had choice words for him earlier.

“On the one hand, he wants to close the door, which will mean fewer workers from outside,” Couillard said, campaigning in the Eastern Townships. “And he opens the door to their being expelled with his tests and on top of that he is even ready to break up families.

“What an extraordinary social vision,” he said, adding Legault’s failure to recognize that there is a labour shortage in Quebec is “almost extraterrestrial.”

Marian Scott and Jason Magder contributed to this report


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PostPosted: Fri Sep 07, 2018 8:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quebec election: QS promises 38 new métro stations in greater Montreal

A Québec solidaire government would incorporate Mayor Valérie Plante's proposed Pink Line in its plan to overhaul the city's transit system.

Presse Canadienne
Updated: September 6, 2018

Quebec solidaire's Manon Massé, flanked by co-spokesperson Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois. Massé said the Grand Montréal Express project is "a big piece" of the party's "economic transition plan."

Quebec solidaire's Manon Massé, flanked by co-spokesperson Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois. Massé says the "Grand Montréal express" transit project is a big piece of the party's economic transition plan. Paul Chiasson / THE CANADIAN PRESS

If elected, Québec solidaire is promising to equip the greater Montreal area with 38 new métro stations by 2030, an extension that would include Montreal Mayor Valérie Plante’s proposed Pink Line.

The party unveiled a vast project Thursday called “Grand Montréal express” that would come with $10 billion in spending in transport infrastructure during its first mandate.

The party’s spokesperson, Manon Massé, said the project is “a big piece” of Québec solidaire’s “economic transition plan.”

In addition to the 30 or so métro stations on the proposed Pink Line, which would link Montreal North to downtown and to Lachine in the west, Québec solidaire, if elected, is also committed to supporting funding for the already planned extension of the Blue Line to Anjou.

It also promised two new stations on the Orange Line, to better serve St-Laurent and Cartierville, a new station on the Green Line that would reach André-Laurendeau CEGEP, and two new stations on the Yellow Line in Longueuil as early as 2023. It also plans to eventually extend the Yellow Line to the McGill station, in order to reduce congestion at Berri-UQAM.

The party is also proposing a tramway on Taschereau Blvd. on the South Shore and a 30-station “train-tram” on Notre-Dame St. in Montreal, which would connect downtown to Pointe-aux-Trembles — as well as river shuttles, which would also go to Longueuil.

For Laval, it’s promising an east-west rapid transit bus service that would link to the Réseau électrique métropolitain (REM) project and the métro system.

Québec solidaire is banking that the “interconnectivity of modes of transportation” would encourage citizens to use them, Massé said, arguing that “today, two out of three people take the car by themselves to go to work.” The party would like 50 per cent of trips in the greater Montreal area to be made by public transit come 2030.

Vincent Marissal, the QS’s candidate in Rosemont — “where there is no métro station,” he said — maintained that despite Quebec politicians laughing at Plante’s Pink Line proposal, “Montrealers still voted for it.”

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Quebec Provincial Election on October 1

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