CAQ going after Montreal ridings with 2 new candidates
The governing Coalition avenir Québec (CAQ) party in Quebec has only two ridings on the Island of Montreal and it's something the premier is hoping to change this fall.
On Thursday, Premier François Legault introduced new candidates in two ridings that went to the Liberals in the last election.
Legault was in the heart of Verdun, introducing city councillor Veronique Tremblay as his new candidate for MNA ahead of the October election. The district has been on the books as a Liberal stronghold for a while.
"In the case of Verdun, you have to go back to the 1936 election for a non-Liberal to win. So it's been almost a century. However, the vote shares have dropped in recent elections," said Philippe J. Fournier, a political analyst and creator of 338canada.com.
Verdun routinely votes Liberal largely because it includes anglophone voters in Nun's Island, Fournier said. But lately, the CAQ and Quebec solidaire have made inroads in mainland Verdun.
"If those anglophone voters don't show up, or if some of them decide to go with Bloc Montreal or decide to go with the CAQ, [incumbent Isabelle Melançon] may be in trouble," Fournier said.
Legault also unveiled another candidate, labour lawyer Audrey Murray, in the riding of Maurice-Richard, which includes Ahuntsic. The riding went to the Liberals with Marie Montpetit, who was later disavowed by party leader Dominique Anglade.
"I'm a real 514!" said Murray when she announced her candidacy. The lawyer said she wanted to "amplify the voice of Montreal within the Coalition avenir Québec."
Legault has his eyes on the island, whose electoral seats are "due for a change," he said.
"Montreal is an important part of our success in Quebec. If Montreal's economy is doing well, then Quebec is going well," said Legault Thursday after announcing his new candidates at a press conference.
Since voters here are 68 per cent francophone, the CAQ has a good chance of taking it, according to Fournier.
"I expect this to be a race between Quebec solidaire and the CAQ, with the Liberals potentially finishing third."
Legault was asked at the press conference about a recent campaign ad some viewed as exploitative. He conceded it could have been a mistake, but said he has "full confidence" in his PR team.
Fournier doesn't believe it will hurt his party's strong showing so far.
"It's July, nobody cares. It's a bad look for the CAQ, but it will not stick all the way to the election," he said.
With the election set for Oct. 3, Legault is hoping he can find the electoral recipe needed for a stronger showing on the island.
With files from The Canadian Press