Scheer, Ouel­let pitch par­ties ahead of Lac-St-Jean by­elec­tion

Montreal Gazette - - CITY -

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.

Jag­meet Singh

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