Election review of selected ridings served by The Métropolitain

By Dan Delmar on October 16, 2008

Dhavernas: I’ll be back
Liberals nearly take back Outremont

It came down to the wire during Tuesday night’s federal election in the Outremont riding; rookie Liberal candidate Sébastien Dhavernas nearly unseated the NDP’s Thomas Mulcair.

Dhavernas held a slim lead over Mulcair, who won the riding last year during a by-election, before the NDP candidate pulled ahead shortly before midnight, finally winning by just over 2,000 votes.

“I will continue to be a militant for the Liberal Party,” Dhavernas told The Métropolitain. “We’ll have to see if the electors in Outremont will want me as a candidate once again.”

Dhavernas, 58, is an actor who recently portrayed former Premiere Robert Bourassa in the TV miniseries. Working in his favour was concern in Outremont’s Hassidic Jewish community over Mulcair’s support of fellow NDP candidate Samira Laouni, who placed fourth in the east end riding of Bourassa.

Laouni, a practicing Muslim who wears the traditional headscarf, told The Métropolitain that she supports a form of Sharia Law, that she has no opinion of Hezbollah as a terrorist organization and that she has never met an Islamist.

On his end, Dhavernas seems to have caught the political bug and is optimistic about his chances next time around. Roughly 30 supporters nervously watched the results come in at his Côte-des-Neiges Rd. office; one organizer saying that a serious lack of resources from the party cost Liberals the riding. Dhavernas admits that it could have just as easily gone their way.

“The party sent me the resources they had at their disposal once they saw I had a chance,” he said, adding that he couldn’t say whether a lack of financing or motivation at the party level was a factor. “But it’s certain that this was a winnable riding.”

Redemption for ex-Astronaut
Liberals’ Garneau beats NDP’s Dowson 2-1

Liberal Marc Garneau was not light years ahead of his closest rival but did win in his home riding of Westmount-Ville-Marie by a comfortable margin.

NDP candidate Anne Lagacé Dowson, a former CBC radio announcer, finished on Tuesday night with nearly 9,000 votes to Garneau’s 18,000-plus. Results for the Liberals turned out more or less the same in the riding since Lucienne Robillard won in 2006, while the NDP improved significantly, leaping over the Conservatives for second place and gaining about 2,500 votes.

Conservative Guy Dufort finished in third with 15 per cent while the Green Party’s Deputy Leader, Claude William Genest, finished a disappointing fifth, close behind a young political science student put up by the Bloc Québécois.

It was a particularly long and exhausting campaign for all candidates since Westmount-Ville-Marie was slated for a by-election just before the general election was called. This gave riding hopefuls 82 days to get their messages out. The Liberal party focused particular attention on this riding, sending stars like Bob Rae, Michael Ignatieff, Ken Dryden and others to help Garneau’s campaign.

An excited Garneau told The Métropolitain he was happy to redeem himself after a 2006 loss as a candidate in Vaudreuil-Soulanges. He admitted to having a few nervous moments when the NDP said their internal polls showed a neck-in-neck race, but “in the end,” Garneau said, “I knew Westmount-Ville-Marie was an area where people have strong Liberal values.”

Jennings untouchable

It was a tight three-way race in Notre-Dame-de-Grâce–Lachine on Tuesday night, but not for first place which went to Liberal incumbent Marlene Jennings.

She ended the evening nearly 30 percentage points ahead of her closest rivals, winning the riding for the fifth consecutive election. The real battle was to become the runner up: Conservative rookie Carmine Pontillo earned that title with just over 16 per cent of the vote. Closely behind was Bloc QuÈbÈcois candidate Eric Taillefer with just under 16 per cent and the NDP’s Peter Deslauriers with about 15 per cent.

Jennings was obviously pleased with the result in her riding, but also tried to put a positive spin on the outcome nationally for the Liberals.

“I’m delighted that Mr. Harper’s objectives in this election have all been squashed,” she said. “People are really pleased that he will not form a majority government.”


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