Local Liberal candidates run to curb stagnating economy

Anthony Abbondanza
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We almost had a recession last year,” says Nelligan riding candidate

From left to right: Geoff Kelley, Carlos Leitao, Martin Coiteux, and Francois Ouimet.

Carlos Leitao is leaving his comfortable role as chief economist at the Laurentian Bank to curb a stagnating Quebec economy.

He, along with Liberal candidates Geoff Kelley, Francois Ouimet, and Martin Coiteux, met with local reporters on Sunday, days after the Parti Quebecois called a snap provincial election, set for April 7.

“At some point in life, one needs to move on from giving advice and step in the other side and influence the way things are going,” said Leitao, who’s trying to replace the departing Liberal MNA Pierre Marsan in the riding of Robert-Baldwin. “The current state of the economy worries me a lot. If we continue this way, we’ll be in trouble.

A West Islander for the better part of 40 years, Leitao expressed the urgent need to build the appropriate conditions in the private sector to boost the economy.

“We need to create enough confidence in the private sector. The key is private investment…Government needs to create conditions appropriate for the private sector,” the Dorval resident said.

Leitao added that Quebec’s place within Canada is vital in establishing that confidence.

Coiteux, who is part of the Liberal’s economic dream team alongside Leitao and Jacques Daoust, who’s running in Verdun, made note of Quebec’s near brush with an economic recession.

Quebec lost 26,000 jobs in September and now boasts an unemployment rate of 7.8 per cent –eight-tenths of a percentage point above the national average.

And, the ‘Charter of Values of Quebec’ debate didn’t help, either.

“I saw people losing confidence in the future. When people lose confidence in the future, it shows up at the dinner table.”

Coiteux left his senior consultancy role at the Bank of Canada for the world of politics, in part, because of the charter’s effect on his family. The noted economist and long-time professor at HEC Montreal said he worried his five children, one of which attends John Abbott College, “did not see a future here in Quebec” and that many parents likely feel the same way, too.

“As a father, I want them to realize their dreams here in Quebec…I’m worried many us our asking this. This is the main reason why I’m running.”

Coiteux will try to replace the departing Yolande James, who’s leaving a promising political career to raise her 10-month-old son, James, in the Nelligan riding.

Coiteux will face the PQ’s Louis-David Benard, an intern at a St-Jerome legal aid agency. The West Island native recently worked for the Lakeshore General Hospital (2009-2013) in the archives department.

The PQ has yet to announce candidates for the Jacques-Cartier and Robert-Baldwin ridings.

Meanwhile Coalition Avenir Quebec’s (CAQ) Jamie Allen and Denis Deguire will run in Robert-Baldwin and Jacques-Cartier, respectively.

Allen is a projects manager at CAE Montreal, an aviation training company, whereas Deguire recently retired from a career in the hotel industry.

Joining Deguire in the Jacques-Cartier race is Jean-Francois Belley under the Quebec Solidaire banner.

The PQ’s Elisabeth Fortin will try to unseat long-time MNA Ouiment in Marquette.

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Organizations: John Abbott College, Parti Quebecois, Laurentian Bank Bank of Canada HEC Montreal Lakeshore General Hospital CAE Montreal

Geographic location: Quebec, Jacques-Cartier, Dorval Canada Verdun West Island Marquette

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