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:: ElectionWatch 2006

ElectionWatch: West Montreal is the heart of the Quebec Liberals 

[PoliticsWatch posted 3:00 p.m. November 23, 2005]

Prime Minister Paul Martin has represented the people of the West Montreal riding of Lasalle -- Emard since 1988. 

As the 2006 federal election draws closer, PoliticsWatch will examine the races in all 308 ridings across the country. In the fifth instalment, PoliticsWatch looks at the nine ridings in West Montreal.    

West Montreal

Seats: 9

2004 Seat Results: Lib 9; BQ 0; NDP 0; Con 0

Call it Liberal-land. This is the heart of the Quebec Liberal caucus. This area has been swept by the Liberals in the last four elections and in nine of the last 11 federal elections dating back to former prime minister Pierre Trudeau's first majority in 1968. The Conservatives won four of the nine seats here in the 1984 and 1988 elections, including Lasalle - Emard in 1984, which was taken back by Paul Martin in 1988 Some interesting Liberal ridings are here. Mount Royal, now held by Justice Minister Irwin Cotler, was the former seat for Trudeau. It's gone Liberal in every election dating back to 1940. The Bloc is knocking on the door and could win its first seat ever in this part of Montreal. In the 2004 election, Heritage Minister Liza Frulla won the Jeanne -- Le Ber riding by just 72 votes against the Bloc. Other than that and perhaps Transport Minister Jean Lapierre's Outremont riding, the Liberals are locks in these ridings. 

Liberals

Solid Seats: 7

Dream Seat Scenario: Lib 9; BQ 0; Con 0; NDP 0

Liza Frulla holds off the Bloc in Jean - Le Ber. 

Nightmare Seat Scenario: Lib 7 (-2); BQ 2 (+2); Con 0; NDP 0

The Bloc defeats Frulla and Jean Lapierre resulting in the separatists make inroads in the heart of the Quebec Liberal empire. 

Bloc 

Solid Seats: 0

Dream Seat Scenario: Lib 7 (-2); BQ 2 (+2); Con 0; NDP 0

See Liberal nightmare scenario

Nightmare Seat Scenario: Lib 10; BQ 0: NDP 0; Con 0

See Liberal dream scenario.

The Big Picture: No one is expecting the Liberals to be wiped out here, but it's interesting to note how poorly the Conservatives are doing considering they won four seats here in 1988. In those four ridings in 2004 they were: fourth in both Jeanne - Le Ber and Outremont with 6 per cent of the vote; third in Pierrefonds - Dollard with 11 per cent of the vote; and a distant second in Lac Saint-Louis with 12 per cent of the vote. 

Ridings to Watch (1)

Heritage Minister Liza Frulla looks to hold on in Jeanne -- Le Ber. 

Jeanne - Le Ber

Heritage Minister Liza Frulla came within 72 votes of losing this Liberal stronghold in the last federal election. This riding in its various inceptions has voted in a Liberal candidate in 17 of the 20 past federal elections since 1940. The PCs won the riding during the Mulroney era and in 1958. While Frulla's near defeat at the hand of the Bloc was seen as something of a sign of displeasure with the Liberals in Quebec because of Adscam, the truth is the Bloc came within 500 votes of winning the riding in 1993. Thierry St. Cyr, the BQ candidate who almost defeated Frulla, will run again in 2006. 

Analysis: Liberal stronghold the BQ could win.

Not a Sure Thing (1)

Outremont

This riding has voted for a Liberal candidate in 24 of 25 elections dating back to 1921. Transport Minister Jean Lapierre held off a strong showing by the Bloc in the 2004 election and won the riding by 3,000 votes with 41 per cent support. The Bloc have a stronger candidate running this time out, Jacques Leonard, a former PQ cabinet minister. This riding is a bit of an oddity as the Conservatives won it in 1988, but surprisingly did not win in it in 1984 when Mulroney had his record majority, including a majority of the ridings in Quebec. 

Analysis: Liberal stronghold the Bloc could steal

Solid Ridings (7)

Justice Minister Irwin Cotler holds a riding that has been electing nothing but Liberals since 1940.

Mount Royal

This is the riding was once the home of Pierre Trudeau. It has voted Liberal in 20 federal elections dating back to 1940. Over the past 40 years, just three people have held the riding. Trudeau (65-80), former senator Sheila Finestone and Justice Minister Irwin Cotler. Cotler won the 2004 election in this riding with a whopping 75 per cent of the vote, 24,000 votes ahead of the Conservatives. 

Analysis: One of the safest Liberal ridings in the country. 

Westmount - Ville-Marie

Liberal Minister Lucienne Robillard looks to win her fourth federal election in a riding that has voted Liberal in 19 of the last 20 federal elections. The Conservatives eked out a victory here in 1952. In the 2004 election, Robillard won 55 per cent of the vote, 16,000 votes ahead of the Bloc candidate. 

Analysis: Liberal stronghold

Notre Dame de Grace - Lachine

This riding has gone Liberal in 14 straight elections dating back to 1962. Liberal MP Warren Allmand won this riding in nine of those elections from 1965 to 1993. Liberal MP Marlene Jennings has been the MP here since 1997. She won 53 per cent of the vote in the riding in the 2004 election. 

Analysis: Liberal Stronghold

Saint-Laurent - Cartierville

This is Environment Minister Stephane Dion's riding which has voted Liberal in every election since 1988. Dion is looking for his fourth election victory. He won the riding in 2004 with 67 per cent of the vote, 21,000 votes ahead of the second place BQ candidate. 

Analysis: Liberal stronghold

LaSalle -- Emard

Fundamentally, this is a riding that has gone Liberal in 10 of the past 11 elections since 1968. Prime Minister Paul Martin has been the MP here since he defeated PC MP Claude Lanthier in 1988. Martin won that election by 2,000 votes and had seen his margin of victory increase in the next four elections. That was until he became PM in 2004 when his margin of victory dropped to 11,000 from 21,000 the previous election. Nonetheless, Martin finished with 57 per cent of the votes in the riding. The Conservatives are running insurance salesman Georges Bastien in this election. The Bloc, which finished second in 2004, and the NDP have not nominated candidates as of November 21. The NDP had Rebecca Blaikie, the daughter of MP Bill Blaikie, run for them in the last election. 

Analysis: PM's riding

Pierrefonds - Dollard

Liberal MP Bernard Patry will seek his fifth-consecutive election victory in this riding in the next election. Patry is the heavy favourite having won 64 per cent of the vote in the last election. The Liberals have won 15 of the last 17 elections in this riding dating back to 1953. PC MP Gerry Weiner won this riding for the Mulroney Tories in both the 1984 and 1988 elections. But the Conservative candidate in the last election finished third with just 11 per cent of the vote. 

Analysis: Liberal Stronghold

Lac Saint Louis

A staunchly federalist riding, it's one of the few ridings in Quebec where the Conservatives finished ahead of the Bloc. But it was a distant second. In the 2004 election, Liberal MP Francis Scarpaleggia won 64 per cent of the votes and finished 26,000 votes ahead of the Conservatives. This riding has been won by the Liberals in 19 of the past 24 federal elections dating back to 1917. Bob Layton, the late father of NDP Leader Jack Layton, won the riding for the Conservatives in 1984 and 1988. This is one of 16 Quebec ridings where the Conservatives have not nominated a candidate as of November 21.

Analysis: Liberal stronghold

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