Monday, 30 July 2007

An Election Where the Environment and Peace May Be the Winners?

By noon on Saturday--just minutes after the by election was called-- posters for Thomas Mulcair were up along several of the main streets in my part of Montreal. Mulcair is the former maverick provincial environment minister who broke with the current Quebec government over some serious environmental questions, among them selling off a huge chunk of the Mt. Orford provincial park. He's now running for the New Democratic Party in the election to be held September 17.

There are some who say he has a good chance of being the second NDP candidate to be elected in Quebec (the last was another maverick, automobile whistle-blower Phil Edmonston,) even though the riding of Outremont (which includes large parts of the less well-off Côte-des-neiges and Mile End neighorhoods) has always gone Liberal, with one exception.

That exception came in 1988 when the Liberal incumbent Lucie Pépin and the NDP candidate Louise O'Neill split the left and left-centre vote, and a Mulroney Conservative Jean-Pierre Hogue won. I was quite involved in that campaign, and the outcome made me take a long break from active politics.

The Liberals have a good candidate in journalist Jocelyn Coulon, while the Conservatives are running former diplomat Gilles Duguay and the Bloc Québécois, university professor Jean-Paul Gilson. Not a group of light-weights, it would seem.

This is going to be a campaign to watch, as both Afghanistan and the environment will be high on the list of the candidates talking points. Haven't decided yet , though, if I'm just going to watch this time...

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