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Here's What It's Like To Campaign Against Justin Trudeau In His Own Montreal Riding

We spoke to 4 candidates from Papineau to find out what's it's like to campaign against the Prime Minister.
Staff Writer
We Spoke To The Montreal Candidates Running Against Trudeau In His Own Riding
  • MTL Blog interviewed four of the candidates from the Papineau riding about their thoughts on our current Liberal Prime Minister.
  • We're used to hearing the heads of each political party speak their mind about Trudeau, but we took this opportunity to find out what it's like to run in the same riding as him.

This is MTL Blog’s Election Interview Series.

Leading up to the federal election on October 21, we’re speaking to candidates from Canada’s major federal political parties, including the Conservative Party, the Green Party, the Liberal Party, the New Democratic Party, and the People’s Party of Canada.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will have to keep a close eye on his own riding in Montreal as he battles through the final hours of the campaign period. Trudeau is facing some stiff competition at a local level, with many of the candidates offering progressive ideas tailored to the unique needs of Papineau. 

Although none of the candidates have Trudeau's name recognition, they're all working hard on their local campaign to unseat the Prime Minister. It'll be no easy task, however.

Trudeau has held the riding since 2008 and if history is any indication, he'll most likely win again. Other than a Bloc Québécois detour in 2006, Papineau has been a Liberal stronghold since 1957. 

Everyone knows what Andrew Scheer and Elizabeth May have to say on the issues, but what about the Prime Minister's local competitors? We reached out to four candidates and asked them what it's like to campaign against Justin Trudeau. 

We asked the candidates four questions: 

  • How does one prepare for a local campaign against the sitting PM? 

  • What are the perceptions of PM Trudeau in his riding? 

  • How are young Montrealers in your riding reacting to his many controversies and do you believe that will change their vote? 

  • What's one policy that you will bring to Ottawa if you end up winning Papineau? 

Here's what they had to say. 

All responses have been edited for clarity.

READ ALSO: How & Where You Can Vote In Montreal

Sophie Veilleux, Conservative Candidate

Sophie Veilleux is a Papineau native who used to work in marketing for the pharmaceutical sector. She is a mother of two and is passionate about the environment. This is her first campaign.

"To us, this is not a campaign against someone, it's a campaign to deliver our positive conservative message to the people about our policies for them and the positive impact they'll have on their lives and those of their loved ones. It's a people-centred campaign," Veilleux tells MTL Blog.

"Serving people demands agility, consistency, empathy and hard work. The policies and messages I will be taking to Ottawa will evolve as the needs and requirements of people in my riding do."

"As of now, young families will be able to have more money to celebrate a new birth, as maternity and parental benefits will be tax-free under a Conservative government, among other measures that will enable people to get ahead."

READ ALSO: Where The Conservative Party Stands On Issues That Matter To Montrealers

Christine Paré, NDP Candidate

Christine Paré has been an advocate for socialism, affordable housing, feminism, and women's rights since she was a teenager. Originally from Burkina Faso, she's lived in Montreal's Parc-Ex for 17 years. This is her first campaign.

"I have an advantage because I live in the neighbourhood. I know the people and when I speak to them, they're enthusiastic to speak with me. We only see the Prime Minister when he's doing parades or events. I think Papineau citizens don't believe the Prime Minister cares about their issues," says Paré.

"There's a rental crisis happening in Papineau. It's happening to the people in his riding who elected him. They're losing their houses and are falling into poverty. The Prime Minister needs to help poor people and build affordable housing, which he hasn't done."

"Young Montrealers, especially at a local level, are very concerned about climate change, getting help with tuition, and fighting poverty and income inequality. I think they feel like Trudeau betrayed them because he approved the pipeline, helped millionaires in the fossil fuel industry, and broke his promise to fight climate change."

READ ALSO: The NDP Will Increase Taxes On The Super-Rich & End Pipelines

Juan Vazquez, Green Party Candidate 

Juan Vazquez was born in Mexico and now lives in Villeray. He and his family arrived in Canada as refugees when he was only 15 years old. He is part of the sustainable development team at the National Bank of Canada and has participated in the last five UN Conferences on Climate Change. This is his first campaign.

"It's an honour to run against the Prime Minister. It's a great opportunity for me to lead by example and try to innovate and do things differently. We have nothing to lose and everything to gain in this election. It'll be tough because Justin Trudeau is like a superstar. When you're doing door to door, a lot of people in the riding think you're representing Trudeau. He doesn't have to do a lot for people to vote for him," says Vazquez.

"Still, a lot of people are not happy with him in the riding because he broke his promises on the pipeline and ended up doing way less on climate change than he said he would do. I feel a lot of young people are coming to the Green Party because of that. Young people are in touch with the planet and want leaders who care. For example, an idea I would bring to Ottawa is to try to make Canadian parks waste-free."

"I think politicians need to change, we need to move to a low-carbon society, and this is a great opportunity for the Green Party to gain traction. With the resources that we have, we can run a different campaign than anyone else. We have to live more in harmony with everything that we do, economics, society — all of it, to help the planet."

READ ALSO: The Green Party Promises To Expand Public Transit In Quebec & Increase Immigration

Mark Sibthorpe, PPC Candidate 

Mark Sibthrope is a payment loyalty expert and grew up in the West Island. He used to support the NDP but says he grew disillusioned with the party's policies and joined the PPC. This is his first campaign.

"I chose to run because I'm sold on the PPC platform. The PPC team in Papineau is amazing and honestly, running against Justin Trudeau is a dream come true. I'm running because I'm very frustrated about the economy, the housing crisis, and the $30 billion cost per year for immigration," says Sibthorpe.

"In my experience, Papineau is a very diverse area. When I was out getting signatures, it seemed like 1 in 4 people were immigrants. It's just the reality of the district and it's a unique demographic. At the same time, there's a lot of vote-buying going on in the riding. Trudeau has a lot of support behind him and he has a lot of impact on the ground. He's present in the riding and is always present at the events. So, I don't think too many people are bothered by him."

"I don't believe in environmental alarmism, but I acknowledge there's a climate issue. If you want to talk about problems, water pollution is the number one issue in Canada."

READ ALSO: Here's Where Canada's Federal Parties Stand On Issues That Matter To Montrealers

Missed our other interviews? Check them out here:

Jagmeet Singh, New Democratic Party
Alexandre Boulerice, New Democratic Party
Steven Guilbeault, Liberal Party
Maxime Bernier, People's Party of Canada
David Tordjman, Conservative Party
Clement Badra, Green Party

The Canadian Federal election is happening on Monday, October 21st, 2019.

Voting for the first time? Want to know more about how our electoral system works? Check out our own guide on how to vote in Montreal!

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