At least seven candidates have launched campaigns to represent the Huntingdon riding at the National Assembly after the dust has settled following the province’s 43rd general election. Polls suggest the Coalition Avenir Québec (CAQ) has a commanding lead and is likely on track to form a majority government, while the Liberals are trailing in second with Québec Solidaire nipping at their heels.
Several key issues, such as inflation and the high cost of living, healthcare, and the environment dominated the first week of aggressive campaigning by all the main parties. Local candidates now have less than 25 days to convince Huntingdon voters to go to the polls.
Outgoing Huntingdon MNA Claire IsaBelle announced in April that she would not be seeking re-election, leaving the door open to successor Carole Mallette within the CAQ. Also in the running are Jean-Claude Poissant for the Québec Liberal Party (PLQ), Emmanuelle Perras of Québec Solidaire (QS), François Gagnon of the Quebec Conservative Party, Nathan Leblanc of the Parti Québecois, José Bro of the Quebec Green Party, and Raymond Frizzell of the Canadian Party of Quebec.
Candidates to face off
A debate between local candidates will take place on September 20 at the community hall in Saint-Chrysostome (400 rang St-Antoine). Organized by the Corporation de développement Communautaire du Haut-Saint-Laurent (CDC), in collaboration with the CDC des Jardins de Napierville, the Chambre de commerce et d’industrie Beauharnois-Valleyfield-Haut-Saint-Laurent, and the Union des producteurs agricoles, the debate will start in person at 7:30 p.m. with an option to participate virtually as well. As of press time, the candidates who have confirmed their participation include Gagnon (Conservative), Mallette (CAQ), Perras (QS), and Poissant (PLQ).
At the national level, an English-language debate organized by a consortium of English-language broadcast media organizations was cancelled after CAQ leader François Legault and PQ head Paul St-Pierre Plamondon refused to participate. As a result, the only debate between the leaders of the five main parties will take place exclusively in French on September 22, starting at 8 p.m.
Some other important dates to remember include advance voting days scheduled for September 25 and 26 from 9:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. across the province. Five additional voting days will also be held at the office of the returning officer on September 23, 24, 27, 28, and 29. The main office is located at 397 rue Saint-Jacques in Napierville, while satellite offices have been established at 117 rue St-Joseph in Sainte-Martine, and at 13 York Street in Huntingdon.
In 2018, residents from the 28 municipalities that make up the vast riding recorded a participation rate of 67.6 per cent. This year, September 29 is the deadline for potential voters to ensure their names are included on the list of electors. Changes to voter registration information can also be done in person at the returning officer’s office. Election day is October 3.