Ottawa

Nathalie Des Rosiers nominated for provincial Liberals for upcoming Ottawa-Vanier byelection

University of Ottawa law school dean Nathalie Des Rosiers is taking the Liberal Party torch from Madeleine Meilleur as nominee for the upcoming Ottawa-Vanier provincial byelection.

Will face PC's André Marin, NDP's Claude Bisson in riding that last elected non-Liberal in 1967

Nathalie Des Rosiers (centre) poses with former Ottawa-Vanier MPP Madeleine Meilleur (second from right) after being nominated for the upcoming Ottawa-Vanier provincial byelection. (Andrew Foote/CBC)

Nathalie Des Rosiers is taking the Liberal Party torch from Madeleine Meilleur as nominee for the upcoming Ottawa-Vanier provincial byelection.

The University of Ottawa law school dean earned more of the 419 votes cast than school board trustee Lucille Collard and Ligue des Africains du Canada co-founder Persévérence Mayer in a nomination meeting held Saturday at École secondaire publique De La Salle in Lowertown.

She will now run in a byelection triggered when longtime MPP Madeleine Meilleur announced she was stepping down in June.

"I care a lot about access to justice, I care a lot about bail reform, I care a lot about healthcare costs, the environment," Des Rosiers told reporters after her win.

"We want to ensure a right to housing, support for students and tuition fees, support for low-income families in terms of access to education."

Nathalie Des Rosiers gives a speech after winning the Liberal nomination for the upcoming Ottawa-Vanier provincial byelection. (CBC)

Meilleur, who said she stayed neutral during the process, said she was "so happy" to have Des Rosiers as the candidate in her former riding.

"She's a smart woman," Meilleur said. "I have worked with her in the past when I was a minister, she is a great person to get people to work together."

The byelection has to be called on or before Jan. 4, 2017. Premier Kathleen Wynne told Radio-Canada to stay tuned when asked Friday when that would happen.

Meilleur hinted during her speech that the byelection would happen before Christmas.

Race between 'well-known candidates'

The Progressive Conservative nominee is former Ontario ombudsman André Marin, who has said he joined the race because of the province's high hydro prices.

"He's raised the issue but he hasn't given the solution as to what he would do," Des Rosiers said.

"It's nice to shout but we need to have real solutions."

Marin was out canvassing on Saturday, tweeting the party is "working hard to turn back the clock." The last non-Liberal to win a seat in the riding was in 1967. He also congratulated Des Rosiers on Twitter.

Former RCMP executive Claude Bisson, whose brother Gilles is a northern Ontario NDP MPP, is running for the New Democrats.

The Green Party has not nominated a candidate yet.

"It's going to be a good byelection because we have well-known candidates," said Meilleur, who was first elected in Ottawa-Vanier in 2003. "We know how Marin is, he likes to stimulate the conversation with his comments, but Nathalie will bring a different perspective, a different approach, a different tone to the campaign." 

Joining Meilleur in the front row during the nomination speeches for the byelection was Rideau-Vanier Coun. Mathieu Fleury, who gave a speech nominating Collard before the candidates spoke.

Former federal cabinet minister and former University of Ottawa president Allan Rock was also up front sporting a Des Rosiers sticker.

There will also have to be a byelection in the federal riding of Ottawa-Vanier on or before Feb. 19, 2017, after the death of longtime Liberal MP Mauril Bélanger in August.

Some who wanted to vote couldn't

Lucille Collard talks to reporters after the Ottawa-Vanier nomination meeting. (CBC)

As the votes were being counted, Collard and some of her supporters criticized party rules, which stopped around 105 of the supporters she signed up for Liberal memberships to vote.

The party said Saturday those membership fees were sent to the local riding office, not the party, which is against party rules and meant those people couldn't vote.

Collard said she wished she could have been told so she could fix it in time, but the party said all candidates were told the rules late last month when the nomination process officially began.

After the results were announced Collard said she was happy for Des Rosiers and it was important to keep working together as a Liberal family to win the byelection.

Des Rosiers said it was sad when people want to vote cannot, but the rules were the same for all candidates.

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