Well, boys ‘n’ girls, we know that co-leader of the Quebec Solidaire, Dr. Amir Khadir will maintain his seat in Mercier. Also, for a long time now, the near by riding of Gouin appeared to be a tight race between the Parti-Quebecois incumbent, Nicolas Girard and the other co-leader of Quebec Solidaire, Francoise David. The latter’s performance in the televised debate between Mme David and the three leaders of the main parties was a stellar one indeed. Ask anyone who watched those debates, and most have given that debate to Francoise David. She certainly earned it. It appears that she may well have solidified her gains in Gouin. According to Too Close to Call site, the riding is no longer considered a tight race and that Francoise David is poised to take it away from M. Girard. You can peruse through the seat projection chart of Too Close to Call here. Those ridings you will see coloured grey are those where there are very tight 2 way and sometimes 3 way races (for your own information, the purple squares represent CAQ, Franky Legault’s new right winged pro-business party). This chart is dated as of yesterday, August 31.
The third seat? Well, I was looking through the seat projections this morning and was finding the riding of Laurier-Dorion particularly interesting. At present, the Liberal incumbent, Gerry Sklavounos, appears to be struggling to hold on to his seat. The chart indicates that Mr. Sklavounos’ numbers are neck and neck with those of the Parti-Quebecois candidate, Badiona Bazin, who ran in the 2008 . Their numbers are at 28.5% and 28.2% respectively. However, I also took a look at the Quebec-Solidaire numbers. They are about 6% behind both Sklavounos and Bazin at 22.2%. Before I go on, let’s take a look at the results of the 2008 provincial election in Laurier-Dorion, shall we? In 2008, Sklavounos beat Bazin by about 9%. Sklavounos saw his vote count go up by 3.24% and Bazin saw his go down by 2.24%. Sklavounos won by a little over 2000 votes. The Quebec Solidaire candidate, Ruba Ghazal, was far behind the pack at 13.01%. However, the party had shown the most improvement in the riding, seeing their vote count go up by a little over 5%.
Before Sklavounos won the riding in the 2007 election, the PQ’s Elsie Lefebvre held it from 2004 and before then, Liberal, Christos Sirros from 1994 when the riding was first created.
Andres Fonticilla, a Chilean immigrant who escaped the Pinochet regime with his family when he was in his teens, and coordinator of the umbrella group, Conseil communautaire Solidarités Villeray which covers community groups that fight poverty in the area, is the candidate running for Quebec Solidaire in Laurier-Dorion. More about him here.
Laurier-Dorion encompasses Park-Extension and Villeray, both working-class neighbourhoods and mainly low income. Villeray to the east of the riding is mostly French. Park-Extension to the west, is mostly Allophone. One can guess how the vote split in Laurier-Dorion went — Villeray: Parti-Quebecois and Park-Extension: Liberal. It is not a riding where many students live or hang out. However, you won’t find too many big corporate types or much of the 1% about. It is also a riding that has many seniors living on very tight incomes and not too many young people.
Now, some who would look at the numbers at Too Close to Call would think that Quebec Solidaire is still far enough behind Sklavounos and Bazin that they won’t likely make much of a dent. On the other hand, 6% behind the two main rivals who are neck and neck provides a fairly strong possibility for Fonticilla to come up the middle between Sklavounos and Bazin.
Another thing, I was in Park-Extension, the area in Laurier-Dorion who would traditionally vote Liberal, just last week. Most of the Liberal Gerry Sklavounos signs were defaced and/or destroyed in some way. I would expect this more in the Villeray area of the riding, as they’re French speaking for the most part and there are many separatists in that area. It was in Villeray where there were many protests against Justin Trudeau before he took the federal riding of Papineau from popular Bloc Quebecois incumbent, Vivianne Barbot. I have no doubt that Sklavounos’ signs sustained vandalism in Villeray, but I was a bit taken aback from the level of vandalism on those signs in Park-EX. Many of those signs laced with comments written about how corrupt the Liberals are. True, that the vandalism could’ve come from anywhere and not necessarily from anyone living in Park-Ex, but after travelling through the different ridings in Montreal lately, particularly ridings known to have many Allophones and Anglophones who traditionally vote Liberal, Park-Extension struck me the most. I had not seen this many Liberal signs vandalized in those other ridings I’ve mentioned as I did while touring through Park-Extension. Even the PQ Badiona Bazin’s signs appear to have remained in tact. However, and perhaps most remarkably in my view, I saw quite a few QS Andres Fonticilla signs decorating balconies in the area. I did not see any Liberal or PQ signs dawning the balconies of Park-Ex.
The climate of the riding and its’ visuals speak louder than poll numbers. Also, let’s not forget that polls have gotten both the last Federal election and the Alberta provincial election wrong. Perhaps Laurier-Dorion is really a 3 way race rather than a 2 way PQ – PLQ race.
We shouldn’t be surprised. Why couldn’t Quebec-Solidaire take this seat? A low income working class riding would be a great fit for them.
I am a strong advocate for strategic voting just to make sure the most evil does not take office. However, in Laurier-Dorion, I would advocate a vote for the QS candidate, Andres Fonticilla, thus giving QS a third seat. The riding can use an anti-poverty advocate in the National Assembly.