Election goodies arrive

Marc Lalonde
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Moreau announcement designed to combat ‘NDP effect’

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After the May 2, 2011 NDP sweep of Quebec, nothing is safe anymore, which is likely why Quebec Transport Minister Pierre Moreau (who was formally relieved of that title when Jean Charest dissolved the sitting government last week and will send Quebecers to the ballot box on Sept. 4, as had been widely speculated) announced the commitment of $60 million for a new urban boulevard that will join Highway 40 and Gouin Boulevard west of St. Charles Boulevard – a road Pierrefonds-Roxboro borough mayor Monique Worth has been working on getting since she first won the job in 2001.

It will obviously make the lives of commuters in that part of the West Island, which is not easily accessible by major thoroughfares, a lot easier and may translate to votes.

It’s a smart move, and one that bears mentioning, because it marks the first time the government has moved in to sweeten the pre-election pot in theWestIslandsince the 2003 one-issue (de-merger) provincial election. Even then, the promise was ‘you’ll get your cities back,’ which, of course, didn’t happen exactly the way anyone hoped.

Now, the Liberals appear to be concerned with the out-of-nowhere factor that was highlighted when nationalist ridings all across the province sent NDP candidates toOttawa– some sight unseen – on a capricious whim last year. That’s democracy for you.

When the Charbonneau commission on corruption in the province’s construction industry starts sitting again, whoever has formed the government – and it’s anybody’s guess who that will be – will have to face whatever comes around from the witnesses who testify.

It will be no picnic for whoever is still around to face the music, but in theWestIsland, the race appears to have splintered for the first time. While Liberals Geoff Kelley, Pierre Marsan, Francois Ouimet and Yolande James collectively launched their campaign in Pointe Claire last week and reminded voters that only one party represents federalists in the province, the Coalition Avenir Quebecois (CAQ) candidates -- including Jacques Cartier candidate Paola Hawa, a current sitting Ste. Anne de Bellevue town councillor -- are actively campaigning in the area, something neither Jean Charest nor the PQ have done here in recent elections.

What will shake out is anybody’s guess, but the smart money is on a Liberal minority, with the PQ and CAQ splitting votes in the regions and with Quebec Solidaire siphoning off the left-wing pro-student vote inMontrealfrom the PQ, it may mean the end of Pauline Marois’ political career. Her party’s nous-versus-les-autres positioning may turn some away from the PQ, but with nationalist rhetoric on the rise across the province, it’s possible the regions will decide Marois’ desire to bang pots while wearing a red square best reflects the values Quebecers want in a government – but to do that, she’ll have to do what her PQ predecessors have already learned: Jean Charest is at his best on the campaign trail.

Organizations: NDP, PQ, Quebec Transport Charbonneau commission Avenir Quebecois

Geographic location: Quebec, Gouin Boulevard, West Island Pointe Claire Jacques Cartier

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