Montreal Gazette

South Shore ridings a key battlegrou­nd for the Bloc, Liberals

- KATELYN THOMAS katelyntho­mas

The Liberals went into Monday night's federal election hoping to win back seats they lost to the Bloc Québécois on the South Shore of Montreal in 2019, while the latter hoped to gain more ground in the area.

The six South Shore ridings have been split evenly between both parties since 2019, following a Liberal majority in the area in 2015 and an NDP majority in 2011.

In the La Prairie riding, Bloc Québécois MP Alain Therrien was seeking re-election after unseating Liberal Jean-claude Poissant in 2019, winning by more than 3,000 votes.

In 2020, Bloc Québécois Leader Yves-françois Blanchet demanded that NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh apologize to Therrien for calling him racist because he wouldn't support an NDP motion involving systemic racism in the RCMP. Singh at the time — and again during one of the federal leaders' debates ahead of the 2021 election — said Therrien made a dismissive gesture while refusing to support the motion. Singh was kicked out of the House for the day after he refused to apologize.

“Mr. Singh is a good person. I always thought that and I still think that,” Blanchet said at the time. “He somehow dropped the ball, and I hope he'll take it back.”

Singh continues to insist Therrien was being dismissive, pointing out that he was the only member of Parliament to refuse to support the motion.

On Monday, Therrien was up against Liberal candidate Caroline Desrochers, NDP candidate Victoria Hernandez, Conservati­ve candidate Lise des Greniers and Green candidate Barbara Joannette. Until recently, Liberal candidate Desrochers was the director of political and cultural affairs with the Canadian delegation in New York. She also defended Canadian business interests in the agricultur­al sector and the steel and aluminum industries.

Before entering federal politics, Therrien served as a Parti Québécois MNA for Sanguinet from 2012 to 2018.

In Brossard—st-lambert, Liberal MP Alexandra Mendès was seeking re-election after first being elected to the riding in 2015. She was previously elected, in 2008, as the member of Parliament for the former Brossard—la Prairie riding. Mendès was a strong advocate for the replacemen­t of the Champlain Bridge and also brought passport services to Brossard's Service Canada centre.

Mendès was running for re-election against Bloc Québécois candidate Marie-laurence Desgagné, New Democratic Party candidate Marc Audet and Conservati­ve Party candidate Marcos Alves. In 2019, Mendès beat runner-up Bloc Québécois candidate Marie-claude Diotte by more than 19,000 votes. This year's Bloc Québécois candidate for the riding, 22-year-old Desgagné, said she's hoping to represent the future generation of Quebec politics. This young newcomer is also the president of the Comité national des jeunes du Parti Québécois.

Bloc Québécois MP Xavier Barsalou-duval was seeking re-election in the Pierre Boucher—les Patriotes—verchères riding on Monday, a position he's held since 2015. In the 2019 election, he beat runner-up Liberal Simon Chalifoux by more than 13,000 votes.

Barsalou-duval — who, ahead of the election, said a vote for him is a vote to protect the French language — was running against Liberal candidate Louis-gabriel Girard, NDP candidate Martin Leprohon and Conservati­ve candidate Jérôme Painchaud.

In the riding of Longueuil— St-hubert, Bloc Québécois MP and former actor Denis Trudel was hoping to keep his spot in the House after unseating Pierre Nantel in 2019.

Nantel, initially part of the NDP, was dropped by the party in August 2019 following rumours that he was planning to run for another party in the upcoming election. It was later revealed he would be running for the Green Party. Trudel beat runner-up Liberal Réjean Hébert by more than 2,500 votes in 2019.

This time around, Trudel was running against Liberal candidate Florence Gagnon, NDP candidate Mildred Murray, Conservati­ve candidate Boukare Tall and Green candidate Simon King.

The 2019 race was a lot tighter in the South Shore's other two ridings of Châteaugua­y—lacolle and Longueuil—charles-lemoyne, where Liberal MPS Brenda Shanahan and Sherry Romanado were seeking re-election after being first elected in 2015. Both candidates received far fewer votes over their runners-up in the 2019 election than they did in 2015, with Shanahan earning just over 600 more votes than Bloc Québécois candidate Claudia Valdivia and Romanado earning a little more than 1,300 votes more than the Bloc's Cathy Lepage.

On Monday, Shanahan — a former banker and social worker with a particular interest in supporting families and protecting the environmen­t — was up against Bloc Québécois candidate Patrick O'hara, NDP candidate Hannah Wolker, Conservati­ve candidate Pierre Bournaki and Green candidate Frédéric Olivier for the Châteaugua­y—lacolle riding.

Romanado — who previously worked as the parliament­ary secretary to the Minister of Seniors and the Minister of Veteran Affairs — was up against Bloc Québécois candidate Nathalie Boisclair, NDP candidate Kalden Dhatsenpa, Conservati­ve candidate Isabelle Lalonde and Green candidate Nancy Cardin.

On Monday evening, projection­s suggested the Liberals would come out on top in Quebec as a whole, followed closely by the Bloc Québécois.

 ??  ?? Alexandra Mendès
Alexandra Mendès

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