Que. Liberals try to keep seat in Saint-Laurent
Last Updated: Monday, September 13, 2010 | 8:40 AM ET
Voters in the Montreal riding of Saint-Laurent are heading to the polls Monday for a provincial byelection.
The seat, a Quebec Liberal party stronghold, was left vacant when former Public Security Minister Jacques Dupuis resigned in August.
The Saint-Laurent riding has been represented by a Liberal since its creation in 1966, and candidate Jean-Marc Fournier is hoping that statistic remains true after polls close.
Fournier was first elected to the national assembly in 1994 for the Châteauguay riding on Montreal's south shore. He served as minister for several departments before deciding to take a break from politics in 2008.
On Aug. 11, two days after Dupuis resigned, Quebec premier Jean Charest named Fournier Quebec's new justice minister during a cabinet shuffle, despite the fact that he has not yet been elected.
Fournier will replace Kathleen Weil, who moves to the immigration portfolio.
In a final campaign blitz Sunday, Fournier said he did not take anything for granted while campaigning and fought hard to meet voters in the riding.
"We did a real campaign. Some days, we started at 5:30 a.m. shaking hands with people at the metro station," Fournier said.
The Quebec Liberal party's popularity is waning, particularly since allegations surfaced of influence peddling in the way judges are nominated in the province.
Charest launched an inquiry into the allegations, made by former justice minister Marc Bellemare. The commission, headed by retired Supreme Court judge Michel Bastarache begins its fourth week of testimony in Quebec City Monday.
Parti Québécois candidate, Philippe Leclerc, rejected a traditional campaigning approach, opting for a van instead of an office and choosing to get his message out through social media.
"I think that if I win, yes, it will be a surprise but it will be a surprise with great responsibility," Leclerc said.
The other candidates are:
- Jose Fiorilo, Action Démocratique du Québec
- Marie Josèphe Pigeon, Québec Solidaire
- Tim Landry, Green Party of Québec
Polling stations will be open from 9:30 a.m. to 8 p.m.
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