Parties seek to fill out rosters in Quebec
The Bloc Quebecois has found candidates for only about half the ridings in Quebec so far, as all parties seek to fill out their rosters in the province before deadline.
The next few weeks of the federal election campaign will be packed with nomination meetings ahead of Elections Canada’s Sept. 28 cutoff for accepting candidates.
With 78 ridings in Quebec, each party is seeking to fill three more seats than the last federal election.
So far, the Bloc has only managed to field 41 candidates, but leader Gilles Duceppe says those numbers will be changing very soon.
“We will have more than 70 within 10 days,” said Duceppe, whose party already had 47 MPs in Ottawa heading into the 2011 election.
Many, like Hochelaga candidate Simon Marchand, ran for Option Nationale in the last provincial election.
“I'm part of those young people that never had any political affiliation strong enough to come on the federal level and now the Bloc opened its arms to new people,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Liberals are faring better than their adversaries.
“Today, as we speak, we have 71 candidates, 72 tomorrow with Louis Hebert in Quebec City, 73 next week, so we'll be at 95 per cent next week,” said Pablo Rodriguez, the Quebec campaign co-chair for the Liberal Party of Canada.
One of the first-time candidates, Rachel Bendayan, is a lawyer who's taking on the challenge of running against Tom Mulcair in Outremont.
“It's been a great couple of months. I've knocked on close to 10,000 doors now,” she said.
As for the Conservatives, they still need candidates in 16 ridings, but have so far managed to attract high-profile names from Robert Libman in the Montreal riding of Mount-Royal, to Gerard Deltell in the Quebec City riding of Louis-Saint-Laurent.
The NDP needs to find 11 more candidates in Quebec, and in at least one riding – NDG-Westmount – eight people have been fighting for a shot at it.
“What we're seeing now is the NDP becoming competitive in areas where they traditionally haven't been and when you see that many people vying for a nomination in a place like NDP, that means that the party itself is doing well,” explained McGill University political science professor Antonia Maioni
The Green Party has not held any major campaign events in Quebec, but party leader Elizabeth May got off to a head start in June, visiting Montreal and introducing four candidates.
“The growth of the Green Party in BC will track exactly the way the growth of the Green Party in Quebec is going to go to where we elect members of parliament,” she said at the time.
The early election call may have thrown opposition parties off track, but with the deadline for nominations at the end of September, all parties have several weeks to organize.