Robert Libman, Anthony Housefather face off in federal riding of Mount Royal
Libman running for the Conservatives, Anthony Housefather for the Liberals
When the federal elections get underway, the race is expected to be hot in Montreal's federal riding of Mount Royal.
Robert Libman, a former mayor of Côte Saint-Luc, will be running against the municipality's current mayor Anthony Housefather.
- Robert Libman wins Conservative nomination in Mount-Royal
- Anthony Housefather wins Liberal nomination for Mount-Royal
The riding of Mount Royal has long been considered one of the safest Liberal ridings in Canada.
Former Quebec MNA Robert Libman wants to change that by becoming the first Conservative to win the seat since 1935.
"It's playing up some of the same issues that have been prevalent in this riding for decades - minority rights, Canadian unity, linguistic equality -- and they see me as someone who reflects the same values they share," said Libman, who was the mayor of Côte Saint-Luc from 1998 to 2005.
To take the riding away from the Liberals, Libman will have to beat Anthony Housefather, the current mayor of Côte Saint-Luc and an old political rival.
Housefather worked on Libman's campaign when he was with the Equality Party.
The two parted ways over the Montreal merger-demerger issue.
"I sat with Anthony Housefather on council for many years. I know him very well. I know how he operates. I know his strengths and weaknesses...I believe I can beat him," Libman said.
Housefather said he hopes the campaign won't get nasty.
"Either candidate who attacks below the belt will lose votes in this riding because I don't believe attacking someone is going to go over well in this riding."
Christian Bourque, the executive vice-president of Leger Marketing, says both men have name recognition in the riding — but Libman's may come with a price.
"A lot of people didn't forget the Equality Party and that divide within the anglophone community at that time," Bourque said.
Libman co-founded the party in 1988 to protest the then-Liberal government's decision to ban English commercial signs.
Some voters say it makes no difference who runs for the seat.
"I think regardless of who is going to run in the seat, they will vote for the government. That's our system, which in a way is unfortunate. You're not necessarily voting for the man in that district, you're voting for the prime minister," said Montreal voter Gay Elkas.
Housefather said he's not taking the Liberals success in the riding for granted.
The federal election will be held on Oct. 19.