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:: ElectionWatch 2006

ElectionWatch: Bloc looks to wipe out Grits in Western and Northern Quebec 

[PoliticsWatch posted 3:00 p.m. November 28, 2005]

Bloc MP Monique Guay looks to win her fifth election in the Quebec riding of Riviere-du-Nord. 

As the 2006 federal election draws closer, PoliticsWatch will examine the races in all 308 ridings across the country. In the sixth instalment, PoliticsWatch looks at the nine ridings in Western and Northern Quebec.     

Western and Northern Quebec

Seats: 10

2004 Seat Results: BQ 7 (+3); Liberal 3 (-2); NDP 0; Con 0

The Bloc Quebecois made major gains in this region in the last election and look to make more in 2006. This is one of the more fluid regions of the province, with many ridings having elected MPs from the Liberal, Bloc, PCs and Social Credit over the past 30 years. The Liberals have three seats here, but two appear to be up for grabs in this election, including the Liberal stronghold of Gatineau, which hasn't had a non-Liberal MP since 1984. The Conservatives won seven seats here in the 1984. The only seat the Conservatives appear to have a shot at 21 years later is Pontiac, where Lawrence Cannon is running. One riding that will be staying Liberal is Hull-Aylmer, which has voted Liberal in every election dating back to 1917.

Bloc 

Solid Seats: 5

Dream Seat Scenario: BQ 9 (+2); Lib 1 (-2); Con 0; NDP 0

See Liberal nightmare scenario

Nightmare Seat Scenario: Lib 5 (+2); BQ 5 (-2); Con 0; NDP 0

See Liberal dream scenario.


Liberals

Solid Seats: 1

Dream Seat Scenario: Lib 5 (+2); BQ 5 (-2); Con 0; NDP 0

The Liberals take back Abitibi - Baie James - Nunavik - Eeyou and pull off an upset in Abitibi - Temiscamingue. 

Nightmare Seat Scenario: BQ 9 (+2); Lib 1 (-2); Con 0; NDP 0

The Bloc wins the Liberal stronghold of Gatineau for the first time ever and David Smith is defeated in Pontiac. 

Conservatives 

Solid Seats: 0

Dream Scenario: BQ 7; Lib 2 (-1); Con 1 (+1); NDP 0

Lawrence Cannon wins in Pontiac. 

Nightmare Scenario: BQ 7; Lib 3; NDP 0; Con 0

Pretty much the same results as the last four federal elections. 

The Big Picture: The Liberals were left with just one seat here after the 1984 campaign and that is a strong possibility this time around. If voter dissatisfaction expressed in Quebec opinion polls holds through in the election, then the Liberals could lose two of its three seats here. It's hard to believe the Conservatives won seven ridings here in 1984. They received eight per cent or less of the vote in nine of the 10 ridings in 2004. The best showing was in Pontiac, with 22 per cent. That is where one of their star candidates is running in 2006.

Ridings to Watch (3)

Francois Boivin is one of the higher profile rookie Liberal MPs. 

Gatineau

This riding has been a Liberal stronghold since 1921. Conservative MP Claudy Mailly is the answer the following trivia question: Name the only non-Liberal to win here in the last 84 years. Mailly won the riding for the Tories during Brian Mulroney's record majority in 1984. In 2004, Liberal MP Francois Boivin held on to this Liberal stronghold by 830 votes. Richard Nadeau, the BQ candidate that almost won in 2004, gets the nod again for the party in 2006.

Analysis: Liberal Stronghold the Bloc could steal

Abitibi - Baie James - Nunavik -- Eeyou

From 1962 to 1979, this riding voted Social Credit in seven federal elections. Since then it has changed hands five different times. The 2004 election was a close one with the Bloc's Yvon Levesques winning the riding by just 577 votes over Liberal MP Guy St. Julien. This time the Liberals are sending candidate Armand Caouette. For Caouette it will be the third uniform he is wearing in this riding. He won the riding for Social Credit in 1979 and was defeated as a Progressive Conservative in 1997. 

Analysis: Swing riding, almost unpredictable.

Lawrence Cannon represents the Conservatives' best hope in Western Quebec. 

Pontiac

If the Conservatives are going to win ridings in Quebec this is one of two they have high hopes for. Former provincial cabinet minister Lawrence Cannon will take on Liberal MP David Smith, who won the riding with 38 per cent of the vote. The Conservative candidate in the last election, Judith Grant, finished third and won 22 per cent of the votes in the riding. This riding voted Conservative in the two federal elections Brian Mulroney won in the 1980s. 

Analysis: Swing riding the Conservatives want to steal

Not a Sure Thing (1)

Abitibi - Temiscamingue

This west Quebec riding has elected four different parties to the House of Commons over the past 37 years. It was once the riding for Social Credit leader Real Caouette, who died while he was a sitting MP in 1976. The Bloc Quebecois won in three consecutive federal elections beginning in 1993, but lost the seat in a byelection in 2003. The Bloc came back in full force in the 2004 election with candidate Marc Lemay winning 58 per cent of the votes. As of November 28, the Liberals have not nominated a candidate in this riding. 

Analysis: Swing riding with a recent tradition of voting Bloc

Solid Ridings (6)

Hull Alymer

This riding was created in 1917 and has voted Liberal in every election since then. The Liberals will look to win their 27th straight election in this riding in 2006. The campaign will be a rematch between Liberal MP Marcel Proulx and Bloc candidate Alain Charette. The Bloc came within 5,000 votes of breaking through in this riding in 2004. 

Analysis: Liberal riding since 1917

Terrebonne -- Blainville

This riding was held by Liberal Senator Francis Fox in the Trudeau era, by Monique Landry in the Mulroney era and has been a Bloc Quebecois stronghold ever since. In the 2004 election, Bloc MP Diane Bourgeois won the riding with 68 per cent of the vote, 22,000 votes ahead of the Liberal challenger. 

Analysis: Bloc Stronghold

Riviere-du-Nord

This riding was Liberal, went to the Tories during the Mulroney era, but has been solidly Bloc since 1993. Bloc MP Monique Guay will seek a fifth-consecutive election victory in January. She won the riding with 66 per cent of the vote in the 2004 campaign, 20,000 votes ahead of the Liberal challenger. The Liberals have not nominated a candidate as of November 28. 

Analysis: Bloc Stronghold

Rivierre-des-Milles-Iles

Bloc MP Gilles Perron won this riding for a third time in the 2004 election with 61 per cent of the vote and a margin of victory of 16,000 over the Liberal challenger. 

Analysis: Bloc Stronghold

Argenteuil - Papineau - Mirabel

This riding voted Liberal during the Trudeau era, Conservative during the Mulroney era and has been Bloc since 1993. BQ MP Mario Laframboise looks to win his third election. The Liberals came within 500 votes of winning the riding in 2000, but in 2004 Laframboise won by a margin of 15,000 votes with 57 per cent of the vote. 

Analysis: Swing riding that has voted Bloc in the last four elections

Laurentides - Labelle

The Bloc won this new district in 2004 when Johanne Deschamps won 58 per cent of the vote with a 14,000 vote margin over the Liberals. The Liberals have not nominated a candidate here as of November 28. 

Analysis: About as strong a showing the Bloc can make in this part of Quebec

:: PoliticsWatch Election Archive

> ElectionWatch 2006 

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