NDG-Westmount byelection: Candidates make their pitch to voters as race heats up
Voters in the federal riding of Notre-Dame-de-Grace-Westmount will go to the polls in two weeks to choose an MP to succeed Marc Garneau, who stepped down in March after 15 years in politics.
Candidates spent Sunday campaigning in the Montreal riding, considered a Liberal stronghold.
Anna Gainey, former president of the Liberal Party of Canada, is one of the candidates hoping to win over voters.
"I think it's really important to me as someone who was born and raised here and who is raising my own family here now that we have a strong voice in Ottawa representing this neighbourhood," she said.
Asked about her top priorities, Gainey said many voters she's spoken to are concerned about affordable housing, adding, "I'll be prioritizing based on what I hear."
Gainey has the support of Labour Minister Seamus O'Regan, who was on hand Sunday to rally volunteers and knock on doors.
"You do not take a single voice for granted. Especially these days, there are choices, and people move the votes around. It's not like it used to be, so you work hard," he said.
The NDP says it plans to push the Liberals right up until Election Day on June 19.
Its candidate is Jean-Francois Filion, a high school English teacher who says his students inspired him to run.
"Most of my students come from NDG and Westmount, and in the last four years is when (...) they told me, 'I'll never afford the house that I'm living in right now, so I'm going to have to move out of my neighbourhood,'" he said.
"I want to build more co-ops and affordable housing. That's exactly my top priority," said Filion.
The Liberals currently hold a 26-point lead in the polls.
But Jagmeet Singh believes there are cracks in the armour. He says the NDP now has a record of delivering for voters after it pushed through a national dental-care benefit.
"You want more of these things to happen, you want more supports, you need a break, the New Democrats will deliver," said Singh.
Deputy Green Party Leader Jonathan Pedneault was also on the campaign trail. He says the race is an "important time to show Canadians that the climate emergency is to be taken seriously."
Pedneault also says he would have voted against Bill C-13, the Liberal's overhaul of the Official Languages Act.
"In this riding, we've seen a Liberal party that's taken the people for granted but hasn't quite been listening to their voices and concerns, especially over linguistic rights," he said.
Mount Royal MP Anthony Housefather was the only Liberal to vote against the bill.
"I think it took a lot of courage for Anthony to represent his constituents that way," said Gainey.
"I think C-13 has got people very uncomfortable for some really good reasons, and we'll just have to see what happens in the Senate," she continued.
Conservative candidate Mathew Kaminski currently sits third in the polls behind the Liberals and the NDP.
Kaminski declined an interview on Sunday.
His website described him as a fiscal Conservative that prioritizes transparency and accountability.
The NDG Community Council plans to hold meet and greets with the candidates the week of the election.
-With files from CTV News Montreal's Keila DePape