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A PQ stronghold for decades, Taschereau riding suddenly a four-way race
With the Parti Quebecois trailing in a distant third in most recent polls, much punditry focus has been on which of their seats might flip to the Liberals or Coalition Avenir Quebec on Oct. 1. But the Quebec City-area riding of Taschereau shows the PQ could also have some trouble from one of the province’s smaller parties.
The riding has been a PQ stronghold for two decades, but Quebec Solidaire candidate Catherine Dorion said there’s a feeling of change in the air.
“I feel good. In the streets, at events, we’re everywhere and the feeling is really good,” she said. “It’s not only people saying ‘I’m going to vote for you,’ it’s people saying ‘I feel a movement.’”
Dorion has political experience, having ran for pro-independence party Option Nationale in 2014. That party merged with Quebec Solidaire earlier this year, boosting the QS’s profile – the riding now has more Quebec Solidaire members living in it than any other riding in the province.
Quebec Solidaire currently has three MNAs and Taschereau could become a fourth, according to pollster Philippe J. Fournier.
“It’s true that sovereignty is not very popular in Quebec or in Quebec City, but this riding is very specific,” he said. “It’s the equivalent of the Plateau in Montreal, where many artists, many students live. It would not be surprising to see Quebec Solidaire win its first non-Montreal seat in Taschereau.”
The riding has been held by PQ veteran Agnes Maltais since 1998, but Maltais is not running in 2018.
“Now that she’s leaving, the riding’s up for grabs,” said Fournier.
Recent polls of the riding show that while the CAQ is expected to make big gains in the capitol region, the downtown-located Taschereau could be an exception. The CAQ is popular in the suburbs, but candidate Svetlana Solomykina said she thinks she can win over urban voters.
“The real poll will be on Oct. 1,” she said. “From now until then, I’ll be working even harder.”
The PQ is still hoping to hold onto the riding, despite Maltais’ retirement. Candidate Diane Lavallee, a senior bureaucrat in the provincial government and former head of Quebec’s nurses federation, said she believes her priority of healthcare will resonate with voters.
“I’ve spent my life defending people’s rights, being concerned about the common good,” she said.
The Liberals, too, have eyes on the riding. In 2014, Florent Tanlet came within 500 votes of deposing Maltais and the candidate is running again this time around.
“We have many priorities which are not the same priorities as the rest of Quebec,” he said. “For example, the environment, mobility, transport, community groups, mental health.”