Bill 14, transportation among top issues in the West Island riding
One of the larger ridings in the province by number of voters, Nelligan contains the city of Kirkland, Île Bizard–Ste. Geneviève, and parts of Pierrefonds-Roxboro.
The riding has a population of 80,510 of which 56,909 are registered voters. And, about 73 per cent of which turned up to vote in 2012, though with the CAQ’s emergence, departing Liberal MNA Yolande James mustered only 66 per cent of the vote as opposed to 72 per cent in 2008.
With the April 7 vote touted as perhaps one of the more important elections in recent memory, voter turnout is expected to rise once more.
The riding’s demographics are quite similar to its neighbouring counterparts: an eclectic mix of languages and ethnicities.
About 52 and 37.5 per cent of the population speaks English and French, respectively. Interestingly though, 33.5 per cent are classified as speaking a language other than the aforementioned as their mother tongue.
Since 52 per cent of the population is classified as English-speaking, it’s evident the allophone segment of the riding is learning English over French –thus making language rights and access to English CEGEPs a focal point of the many issues within Nelligan.
Introduced to the National Assembly in early 2013, Bill 14 is the Parti Quebecois’s attempt to amend Bill 101, which would prevent francophones’ and allophones’ ability to send their children to English CEGEPS.
Like the riding of Robert-Baldwin, public transportation is also a worrisome issue. About 75 per cent of the ridings work force uses a car as the main mode of transport. With the Turcot Interchange project expected to be completed by 2016, residents can expect more traffic than ever on Highway 20 and 40.
To date, four candidates are running in the riding: Martin Coiteux (Liberal), Louis-David Benard (PQ), Albert Bitton (CAQ), and Francois Landry (Option National).
Coiteux is a noted economist and former Bank of Canada senior consultant. He told The Chronicle his main focus will be to revive a stagnated Quebec economy, which lost 26,000 jobs in February, as well as lose prospective domestic investments from foreign businesses during the PQ`s latest mandate.
Benard is currently an intern at the St. Jerome legal aid centre. The law graduate from the University of Montreal grew up on the West Island, and even worked at the Lakeshore General Hospital as a clerk in the archives department.
The PQ candidate could not be reached.
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