Jennings goes down to NDP challenger Morin

Sarah Leavitt
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Former Liberal fortress safe for Grits no more

An orange tsunami, not a wave, has hit Quebec. Among the casualties in the New Democratic Party’s surge as the official opposition party to Stephen Harper’s majority Conservative government was Marlene Jennings. The Liberal incumbent who held the NDG-Lachine riding since 1997 lost to 26-year-old NDP candidate Isabelle Morin.

At 10 p.m., with votes trickling in, it became increasingly clear that Morin was taking a lead. Jennings watched CBC on a projector against the wall in her office on Westminster Avenue in Montreal West with supporters holding their breath alongside her. As the results continued to appear on the screen, many of the friends muttered “oh my god,” shocked that the Jennings stronghold was no more.

Meanwhile, the young French teacher Morin was watching with bated breath at the NDP rally held at the Rialto Theatre in the heart of the Plateau. Surrounded by fellow candidates, Morin admitted she was overwhelmed by all the support she had received.

“When I was doing door-to-door and meeting all my constituents, I was repeatedly told that I should not be surprised if I won tonight,” she said. “They needed change and we were the party to give them that. I know that Jennings had a lot of experience but I am young and I have a lot of energy. I do not doubt that I can do as good a job as she did.”

At 11 p.m., when it became apparent that Morin had won, Jennings addressed her volunteers.

“I wish to congratulate (Morin),” she said. “I want thank everybody in my riding for having supported me for 14 years.”

Conservative candidate Matthew Conway spent his election night at Tavern Magnan in Lachine amongst his campaign volunteers and supporters. He placed third in the vote.

“I’m not surprised, people wanted change,” he said. “They saw that their interests were not taken care of under the previous representative. The orange crush swept up parts of Montreal.”

Both Green Party candidate Jessica Gal and Bloc Québécois candidate Gabrielle Ladouceur-Despin opted to wait for election results with their respective parties and fellow candidates. Gal could be found alongside Green Party deputy leader and former Montreal Canadiens Georges Laraque at Pub Quartier Latin on Ontario Road while Despin celebrated with party leader Gilles Duceppe at Theatre Telus on St. Denis.  

Organizations: New Democratic Party, CBC, Rialto Theatre Green Party Bloc Québécois Montreal Canadiens Georges Laraque Theatre Telus

Geographic location: Montreal West, Quebec, Westminster Avenue Ontario Road

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Recent comments

  • MFP
    May 08, 2011 - 08:49

    Well I would really like to read some of the exchanges that took place 14 years ago when Marlene Jennings won HER first mandate in NDG-Lachine. I'm guessing she had to beat some 'incumbent'. I wonder if people were as weary of HER lack of experience, HER youthful enthusiasm, or even some potential allegiance to a less than right-wing, obscure group promoting some cause somewhere in Quebec. I'm sorry but promoting the French language is not equal to being a seperatist. Just so that you know, the riding is NDG-Lachine but includes DORVAL! Ms. Jennings was not even able to get the riding name changed!! How come I never got a recorded message from Marlene Jennings's office......?? You're welcome a bunch.... If the worse than can happen is to 'have 4 years of no representation' then I can live with that since it'll just be like the last 4 years!

  • Joe Shmoe
    May 07, 2011 - 21:54

    The Canadian landscape has changed and voters have become even more unaware than ever before. Marlene, I find it extremely sad that you have been replaced by such an inexperienced candidate. A conservative majority to top it off !! Ignatieff not even elected in his riding!!!!?? I am shocked and appalled at voters choices, what is the reactionary message that canadians are trying to give?I have no idea because none of it makes sense. Is there any hope for the future, or will my children grow up in a backward wannabe american dictatorial society.

  • Susan Dykhuis
    May 04, 2011 - 12:54

    I would like to be kind-hearted enough to congratulate Ms. Morin but I don't tell lies. To Hon. Marlene Jennings: I am so sorry and absolutely appalled with the voters in our Riding of NDG-Lachine who did not do their homework before casting a protest vote. The consequence of that action means that in the next four years no representation for our Riding. NDG-Lachine now has a rookie MP who won't speak with the Press, who is not bilingual and to top it all off, in 2009 Ms. Morin was elected to the Mouvement Estrien pour le Francais. This Mouvement opposes all political initiatives toward bilingualism in Quebec. That is alarming. Is Ms. Morin capable of representing all of the people in her riding? What is her experience in politics? Is Ms. Morin a closet Separatist who needs to "come out"? To my fellow voters in NDG-Lachine who cast a protest vote against the Liberals, thanks a bunch for putting every one of us in this Riding into a situation of no representation for the next four years.

  • Allan
    May 04, 2011 - 11:57

    "When I was doing door-to-door and meeting ALL my constituents..." You never met me!!!

  • Alana ronald
    May 04, 2011 - 10:07

    I lived in NDG, approxiamately as long as Jennings was in office. I saw Montreal's oldest library, The Fraser-Hickson, die under her watch, corresponding with a sharp decline in services, including a school that helped children in need shut, with pools and other communtiy resources. I saw a great increase in crime, landlord abuse of tenants, etc, with only form letter response from her office. In particular, I was momentarily heartened when she took an interest in Phyllis Carter's illegal incarceration at an all candidate's meeting prior to the last election, and heard her promise to bring justice for Ms. Carter. She did not. Furthermore, one of her staff unwittingly sent an email that Ms. Carter, an ill senior, had "nothing better to do than complain all the time", something for which this staffer should have been let go, but was not. After being told my her staff that I was to "butt out" , my emails and calls on behalf of Ms. Carter were not accepted. The next time I heard from Ms. Jennings was her recorded voice in repeated calls asking for my support before this election. I commended her for introducing a bill for animal rights and protection in Quebec, but my other experience persuades ,me I was not alone and that she did not get returned to Parliament is only fitting. Sincerely, Alana Ronald

  • Murray Levine
    May 04, 2011 - 08:31

    Marlene Jennings was only one of two Montreal region MPs that encouraged La Presse to emulate The Gazette Christmas Fund when invited to do so in 1999. (The other was Paul Martin.) That was the first of five times when I asked Ms. Jennings to support something, for the benefit of humanity, that she did. At the same time my requests went ignored by others. Her loss in the House of Commons will be a major one. Isabelle Morin has major shoes to fill and my deepest concern is that she (like others) will have exceedingly small feet.

  • Marlene Jennings
    May 04, 2011 - 08:08

    If I may, as the former MP for NDG-Lachine (and Dorval), I would like to reiterate some of my comments made when I acknowledged Ms. Morin's victory. I said then and still believe that I am one of the luckiest people in Canada as the electors of this riding bestowed upon me for close to 14 years, the gift of representing them and all Canadians as their MP in Parliament. I am and remain grateful and humbled by this truly wondrous experience and thank all residents of this great riding. I wish Ms. Morin success in her new role as the MP with the responsibilities this important position brings. Sincerely, Marlene Jennings