Three parties are eyeing downtown battlefield riding of Laurier-Ste-Marie
One of Montreal’s downtown election ridings is gearing up to be a tight three-way race.
Laurier-Ste-Marie has been held by the New Democratic Party’s Helene Laverdiere since 2011 but before that it was home to former Bloc Quebecois leader Gilles Duceppe. On Saturday, a potential star Liberal candidate was touring the riding, reaching out to voters.
Several residents told Steven Guilbeault they have no plans to vote for him but he’s hoping his credentials could help him convince them otherwise.
“I’ve been an environmental activist. I worked at Greenpeace, I co-founded Equiterre,” he said.
Guilbeault’s background may not be enough to sway left-leaning voters who are leery of the Liberals’ environmental record. Under Prime Minister Justin Trudeau the federal government bought the Trans Mountain oil pipeline for $4.5 billion to save jobs in Western Canada. But Guilbeault said it’s important for voters to look at the party’s overall record.
“If you only look at a tree, you lose sight of the forest. I understand why some people are so angry about the pipeline,” he said. “You have every right to be angry but look at the whole picture.”
With Laverdiere not running, the NDP named Nima Machouf as their candidate. She said her party’s platform is the greenest.
“The petroleum industry and gas industry are industries of the past. We have to go for the future, for green energy,” she said.
Machouf has ties to the provincial sovereignist party Quebec Solidaire but said she has no issues working in the federal system.
“It’s okay, we’re now in Canada so we’re doing politics inside Canada and Quebec Solidaire for me is a progressive party,” she said.
Bloc candidate Michel Duchesne, a professor at the Universite de Quebec a Montreal, said voters have told him there are emergencies in the riding that need to be dealt with.
“In the Gay Village there’s a crisis with crystal meth and opiates we have to address because we’re going to lose another generations like we lost to the AIDS crisis in the 1990s,” he said.
Duchesne said he also wants to bring a more pro-active approach to climate change if elected.
“With the rise of the oceans half of Florida will be under water. We will lose half of the villages here in the St-Lawrence Valley, half of New Brunswick will be under water if we don’t do something right away.”