If Chagnon steps down, Westmount-Saint-Louis voters want an Anglo to step up
People in the riding of Westmount-Saint-Louis are making plans should their MNA bow out of the next election: they want an Anglophone to run for the Liberals.
Current MNA Jacques Chagnon has hinted that he might not run again this fall.
If that’s the case, voters and Anglo rights groups say they want to see more representation in the National Assembly, where of 125 members, only three are Anglos.
“We do have to have somebody who is connected with the community,” said Geoffrey Chambers, vice-president of the Quebec Community Groups Network, which supports English groups in the community. “There are a variety of points of view in any party in any caucus and sometimes the people in the room don't have as much information about the English community that they should have had.”
Since 1994, Westmount-Saint-Louis has voted overwhelmingly for the Liberal Party. The riding, which is 75 per cent Anglophone and Allophone, has been represented by a Francophone.
There was speculation that if Chagnon chooses not to run, the Liberals would parachute cabinet minister Helene David into the riding, but the Liberal Riding Association is against the plan.
“They really feel it should be someone from Westmount-Saint-Louis,” said Karin Marks, vice-president of the association.
Marks said whoever runs doesn't necessarily have to be an Anglophone, but they need to understand the English-speaking community.
“I think that there are certain differences in the cultures and the way in which the cultures have evolved. For instance, we hold very dearly to our institutions and we've always been very involved with the governance of our institutions. That hasn't always been the case on the French side,” she said.
In spite of being under represented in Quebec City, Anglos almost always vote Liberal – and that’s made the party take the Anglo vote for granted, said political commentator Marlene Jennings.
“Oh boy, that's an understatement,” she said.
The CAQ, however, is now courting the Anglo vote; the Liberals are making overtures to hold on, and party leaders have agreed to an unprecedented English-language TV debate.
Kathleen Weil, the minister in charge of the Anglo secretariat, said the party is open to more Anglo candidates.
“To have more candidates that speak English would be great,” she said.
The local riding association said there are plenty of talented people in the riding who could step up.