Outremont By-Election: NDP and Liberal McGill Share Thoughts

Students at McGill have been helping with campaign efforts throughout the imminent Outremont by-election; members of both NDP and Liberal McGill are manning phones and knocking on doors. In an interview with the Daily, Co-Presidents of NDP McGill and Concordia, as well as VP Communications of Liberal McGill, shared their thoughts on the upcoming race.

Daniel Minden, VP Communications of Liberal McGill is optimistic about Rachel Bendayan’s campaign, because of her past run in 2015. Outremont has belonged to the NDP since Thomas Mulcair’s 2007 victory. Minden says the Liberals are keen to regain the riding. Before Mulcair’s election, Outremont was historically held by the Liberals. Co-Presidents Annie Yeo, Ryan Simonyik, and Celeste Cassidy of NDP Concordia and McGill believe it is going to be a tight race between the two candidates. Drawing on her phone canvassing experience leading up the election, Yeo noted that responses from Outremont residents were largely 50/50 in support for each party.

Yeo, Simonyik, and Cassidy are pleased with Sánchez’s campaign. They appreciate her commitment to environmental issues, including her past work for the Climate Action Network, and other environmental organizations. Yeo also noted Sánchez’s interest in local issues, speaking to her dedication to community centred matters like the state of sidewalks, or improving social services for seniors.

Minden also spoke about his appreciation of Bendayan’s familiarity with the neighbourhood and local issues. Noting her work as Chief of Staff to the Federal Minister of Small Business and Tourism, he spoke to Bendayan’s professional and political experience.

Cassidy shared some criticism of Sánchez, pointing out the candidate’s past reluctance to vocalize support on free post-secondary tuition measures. As of last year, the NDP has added free tuition to their platform, and Cassidy looks forward to seeing more involvement from Sánchez on these issues.

Earlier this week, Julia Sánchez, and NDP MP for Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie Alexandre Boulerice, challenged Rachel Bendayan and the Liberal party via Facebook to do more with regards to the environment. In contrast, Sánchez has put forward a “Transition” plan to eliminate oil subsidies, raise Green House Gass reduction targets, and for the project to be developed on a national level.

Cassidy, and the other co-presidents, expressed her approval of the plan, particularly Sánchez’s intentions for a investment in green jobs, emphasizing the importance of addressing concerns over lost jobs with radical action on climate change.

Minden agreed that environmental issues are an important yet controversial topic, but stands by the government’s support in the construction of pipelines. He believes that the projects will bring needed Canadian resources to global markets. Reports by the Overseas Development Institute show Canada to be a top contributor to oil and gas subsidies, and has been called on for more transparency, ranking last in commitment to ending support to oil and gas production of G7 countries last year.

With the federal election approaching this fall, Minden, Yeo, Cassidy, and Simonyik all assert the larger importance of this by-election. Cassidy believes winning Outremont could show Quebec that the NDP is valuable and capable of creating change in the province. Minden is also enthusiastic about the possibility of the Liberals winning, stating that it could strengthen their base in Quebec ahead of the election to come.