Three Liberal candidates fighting for nomination in upcoming St. Laurent byelection
Published Wednesday, February 22, 2017 8:56PM EST
Last Updated Wednesday, February 22, 2017 8:57PM EST
Voters in St. Laurent head to the polls on April 3 in a byelection to replace Stephane Dion.
The former Liberal party leader and Minister of Foreign Affairs has a new post as Canada's Ambassador to the European Union and Germany.
Many people covet the riding including several well-known politicians fighting for the Liberal party's nomination.
They include Yolande James, Alan De Sousa, and Marwah Rizqy.
James was Quebec's first black female MNA as well as the first black cabinet minister in Quebec.
For the past few years she's been working as a political commentator.
"The Liberal party of Canada and Justin Trudeau and his message speaks to me about the power of diversity and of closing the gap," said James.
She pointed out that in the years since she was Immigration Minister her opinion about religious integration has changed.
In 2010 she said those who wore the niqab should remove it in order to receive public services.
Now she's had a change of heart.
"The intention of legislating on these things might be to integrate but it's had the opposite result in terms of stigmatizing Muslims and I want to be able to defend their rights," said James.
De Sousa has been mayor or councillor in St. Laurent for three decades.
The well-respected politician has a strong network and has been working hard at selling party memberships.
The third person vying for the Liberal candidacy is a tax professor.
Rizqy ran for the Liberals in the riding of Hochelaga in 2015, losing to the NDP, but believes the Arabic-speaking community in St. Laurent favours her.
"I know I already have a lot of support from a diverse community," said Rizqy.
She has signed up 1,800 members and is pushing a key message: going after tax evaders.
"Every single year we are losing billions of dollars so this is the time to close all the loopholes," she said.
The Liberal party has yet to set a date for a nomination meeting to choose a candidate.