Marquette: A Liberal stronghold

Anthony Abbondanza
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The economy is Quebec's top priority for this West Island riding

Marquette has long been a Liberal stronghold since its inception as a provincial riding in 1980.

Consisted of Dorval, Dorval Island and Lachine, Marquette is one of the smaller ridings west of Montreal with a population of 59,820.

Issues

With a young electoral base - 40 per cent are within the 15-44 age group - and an unemployment rate of 7.4 per cent as of 2011, just four-tenths of percentage point below the provincial average, the economy is by far the most pressing concern for this West Island riding.

Even more concerning is the jobless rate among men in the riding. According to Elections Quebec statistics, the jobless rate among men sits at 8.4 per cent - higher than the averages of Quebec (7.8), Ontario (7.5), Manitoba (5.3), Saskatchewan (3.9), Alberta (4.3), and British Columbia (6.4).       

Quebec's average takes into account the 26,000 jobs lost last month, according to Statistics Canada.

In addition, like other West Island ridings, the allophone vote may be key.

Although it hosts a predominantly French-speaking community (just over 50 per cent), 20 per cent of Marquette's population language at birth is neither French nor English. Yet only 11 per cent of this segment speaks its native language at home, whereas the rate of the use of English at home rises to 37 per cent.

As such, news of language laws and rights could also play a key a role in the April 7 election.

Who's running?

Running for the seventh consecutive time is Francois Ouimet. The Liberal was first elected in Marquette in 1994, beating the Parti Quebecois' (PQ) Robert Farineau by 5,728 votes.

This election, Ouimet is facing Elisabeth Fortin (PQ), Marc Theriault (Coalition Avenir Quebec), and Marie-France Raymond-Dufour (Quebec Solidaire).

Fortin is a social science major of CEGEP Jean-de-Brebeuf and the leader of a student separatist group at the school. It's her first election.

Meanwhile, Theriault is also a political newcomer. He's currently a sales manager and technician at a photography company.

Raymond-Dufour is a CEGEP and university professor, campaigning for measures to reduce family and house-related costs.

Organizations: Parti Quebecois, Elections Quebec, Statistics Canada

Geographic location: Quebec, West Island, Montreal Ontario Manitoba Saskatchewan Alberta British Columbia

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