Conservative leader Éric Duhaime is due to announce on Tuesday that he is running in Chauveau, a riding north of Quebec that the Coalition avenir Québec (CAQ) won with an overwhelming majority four years ago.
Posted at 12:15 p.m.
The Press was able to confirm on Monday information first reported by the Quebec newspaper. The leader of the Conservative Party of Quebec (PCQ) has set his sights on Chauveau, a stronghold of the right, election after election. The riding includes neighborhoods in northern Quebec and municipalities such as Stoneham and Lac-Beauport.
Éric Duhaime is to make the announcement on Tuesday evening at a large PCQ rally to be held at the Paul-Émile-Beaulieu Community Center. Reached Monday morning, Mr. Duhaime did not want to confirm or invalidate the information. “I want to save the news for the activists who will be there,” he said.
Éric Duhaime will therefore try to steal the seat of caquiste Sylvain Lévesque. The two men know each other, since they both worked at the same time on the waves of FM93.
Last February, Mr. Lévesque minimized the rise of the PCQ in the polls, boosted by Mr. Duhaime’s anti-containment speech.
“We are six months away from the elections. A little patience is normal. People are angry, there is frustration expressed. It doesn’t worry me at all,” he said at the time to the National Assembly.
A reporter asked him if he was afraid of losing his seat. ” Not at all. I have a very positive assessment,” assured Sylvain Lévesque.
According to our information, Chauveau is the constituency where the PCQ has “by far” the most members. This is also where the former leader, Adrien Pouliot, obtained the best results for his party (8.6% in 2018).
Chauveau had also twice elected members of the now defunct Action Démocratique du Québec. Federal Conservative MP Gérard Deltell had won the favor of voters three times in a row, first for the ADQ, then for the CAQ.
“It was fertile ground for the ADQ and now for the CAQ. But at the same time, Chauveau is not dogmatic in his choices, ”recalls Philippe Dubois, doctoral student in political science at Laval University and a wise observer of the political scene of the capital.
“Liberal Véronyque Tremblay managed to make a breakthrough in 2015. Yes, there are right-wing voters. But we can see that they are able to follow the wind and that can help Éric Duhaime if the wind is on his side. »
Éric Duhaime was also contemplating the idea of presenting himself in Chutes-de-la-Chaudière, on the South Shore of Quebec. But the decision of the outgoing deputy to represent himself would have cooled his enthusiasm. Marc Picard has been elected continuously since 2003, first under the colors of the ADQ, then now the CAQ.
Sanitary measures and tramway
The PCQ has never had deputies elected. Éric Duhaime, a former political adviser to the Bloc Québécois, the Canadian Alliance and the ADQ who became a radio host, was elected leader of the small party last April.
His speech against health measures seems to have seduced part of the electorate. According to poll aggregator Québec 125, the PCQ garners 13% of voting intentions, tied with Québec solidaire, behind the PLQ (19%) and far behind the CAQ (42%).
According to Philippe Dubois, Éric Duhaime could bet on his opposition to the tramway to stand out from his opponents in the Quebec region.
“In the electoral campaign, Éric Duhaime will have to vary the speech. He will not be able to speak only of sanitary measures, he believes. In the Quebec region, questioning the tramway project would allow him to have an original discourse, as with health measures. »
Next October’s election will be Éric Duhaime’s second attempt to get elected. In 2003, he finished third with 21.7% of the vote in the riding of Deux-Montagnes, under the banner of the ADQ.