Scheer, Ouellet pitch parties ahead of Lac-St-Jean byelection
Federal Conservative ST-FELICIEN Party Leader Andrew Scheer wants Lac-Saint-Jean voters to send a clear message to Justin Trudeau: “We do not agree with the legalization of marijuana, we do not agree with new taxes on small businesses, we do not agree with illegal border crossings, we do not agree with much bigger deficits than what the Liberals promised,” Scheer said at a news conference Thursday.
It was the first day of a three-day visit to the region to support Conservative candidate Rémy Leclerc, who is trying to maintain the seat held by ex-minister Denis Lebel, for whom he worked. A byelection to replace Lebel will be held Oct. 23.
“What I’m hearing on the ground is a lot of grumbling toward the government,” Leclerc said.
If elected, Leclerc, who as an outreach worker for many years saw the consequences of drug addiction, will try to make the Trudeau government backtrack on the legalization of recreational cannabis, which the Conservatives believe is strongly opposed in the region.
“We sense a reversal coming on the Morneau tax reform, he reversed his stance on electoral reform and as far as the legalization of marijuana is concerned, we will put up strong opposition in the House and with senators,” he said in an interview.
The Lac-Saint-Jean riding was left vacant after Lebel stepped down in June. The Conservatives are trying hard to hold on to the seat while the Liberals, NDP and Bloc Québécois all believe they have a chance of winning the byelection.
Bloc Québécois Leader Martine Ouellet was also in the region to support her candidate, Marc Maltais, a union leader known in Alma for his defence of Rio Tinto Alcan workers during the 2012 lockout.
The electoral campaign intensified this week with the visit of three out of four party leaders, starting with NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is expected to visit the riding sometime next week to buttress the campaign of Liberal candidate Richard Hébert.
In the 2015 federal election, the Bloc Québécois and Liberal Party each received 18.4 per cent of votes in the riding, well behind Lebel’s 33.3 per cent and NDP challenger Gisèle Dallaire’s 28.5 per cent of the vote.