Economy, accessibility to education among top issues for this West Island riding
© Photo Keith McAuliffe
With the exception of the now defunct Equality Party’ unlikely victory in 1989, the riding of Jacques-Cartier has long been a Liberal stronghold.
It’s allegiance to the Liberal Party of Quebec (QLP) is, in large part, due to the predominantly-English speaking populations in the municipalities of Baie D’Urfé, Beaconsfield, Pointe Claire, Ste. Anne de Bellevue, and Senneville.
Though the riding’s unemployment rate sits at 6.8 per cent as of 2011, four-tenths of a percentage less than the provincial average, women are more likely to be unemployed.
According to Elections Quebec 2011 statistics, the unemployment rate for women over the age of 15 is 7.2 per cent. The rate for men sits at 6.4 per cent.
As such, job creation initiatives will be key leading to the April 7 election.
And lastly, with a potential Parti Quebecois (PQ) majority hanging in the balance, and its proposed laws like Bill 14, which would prevent francophones and allophones the ability to send their children to English CEGEPs, could also play a key part in another Liberal win.
Twenty per cent of the population’s mother tongue is a language other than English or French. Yet, only nine percent of allophones actually speak their mother tongue at home compared to English, which is used by 69 per cent of the population.
As such, immigrants, who comprise 24 per cent of the riding, will play a key role election night.
The riding’s long-time Liberal representative is back for a seventh consecutive term. Geoff Kelley, the former native affairs minister under the previous Liberal government is running long-list of political newcomers.
He was recently apart of a CBC Daybreak radio show debate at the Beaconsfield Heritage Train Station where he argued with Jean-Francois Lisee, a PQ MNA, over the lacklustre economy and a possible referendum among other issues.
The West Island native will run against Jean-Francois Belley (QS), Laurence Desroches (PQ) and Denis Deguire (CAQ).
Belley was a social worker before joining the Quebec Solidaire ranks and most recently participated in a Table de Quartier round table discussion in an effort to grasp some of the issues the riding’s constituents face.
Meanwhile, Desroches is a daycare worker at CPE Whiteside Taylor in Baie D’Urfé after completing a communications degree at the University of Quebec at Montreal (UQAM). Her West Island roots are unknown as is the location of her electoral campaign office.
Lastly, Deguire is a retired hotel industry worker and current churchwarden of Ste. Anne Parish. Although a political unknown, the Ile Perrot native has been campaigning for votes in the Jacques-Cartier riding.