Laval-des-Rapides is one of those ridings where voters have the knack for picking a winner. Their MNA is always part of the party that forms the government.
The bellwether riding is nestled within the borders of Highways 15, 19, the 440, and the Rivière-des-Prairies.
During the last provincial election in 2012, the Liberal government fell after months of student protests.
Léo Bureau-Blouin, then 20 years old, was one of the leaders of the student cause. He stunned many by joining the establishment and running for office.
"When we were talking about government, we were always talking about 'the other'... about ‘them’ and then I asked myself, ‘Why can't we talk about ‘us?’” Bureau-Blouin said, who became a candidate in Laval-des-Rapides for the Parti Québécois.
Recruiting the star candidate almost two years ago was a coup for the PQ.
Bureau-Blouin went on to win his seat, proving yet again that Laval-des-Rapides is a barometer.
For as long as the riding has existed — since 1981 — people have always voted for the candidate whose party went on to form the government.
Laval residents' campaign issues
Laval Mayor Marc Demers, who ran two consecutive times for the PQ but lost, said Laval residents have important issues on their minds during this campaign.
“Health care is important for them — they want to hear about it. They want a family doctor. They want jobs. They want also honesty,” Demers said, adding that he doesn’t want to influence people with his own personal opinion.
“People there know how to make the right choice,” Demers said.
The Liberal Party’s candidate in Laval-des-Rapides, Saul Polo, said he thinks he can shift the tide.
Polo, who is also the president of the Quebec Liberal Party, said the Liberals’ defeat in 2012 came with lessons.
“The message was that yes, at the end of that period of 9 years, maybe the population wanted to give us a break and send us a strong message — and we understood."
Polo, who immigrated with his family to Montreal from Colombia when he was 6 years old, said he thinks people in Laval-des-Rapides vote for the candidate — not the party they represent.
“What's going to be different is that Léo Bureau-Blouin has to defend a record with a government and the political party that he associates himself with ... so at the end of the day, they will have a clear decision between Léo Bureau-Blouin and myself.”