June 24, 2015 12:55 pm
Updated: February 10, 2016 3:28 pm

High-profile candidates face off for NDP nomination in NDG

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WATCH ABOVE: Things are heating up as candidates in NDG-Westmount vie for the NDP nomination in the 2015 federal elections. Global’s Tim Sargeant reports.

MONTREAL – As the Canadian federal elections approach, it seems the Orange Wave is already taking over parts of Montreal.

So far, eight candidates have thrown their hats in the ring for the NDP nomination in Notre-Dame-de-Grâce-Westmount.

Sue Montgomery

Sue Montgomery

John Mahoney/THE GAZETTE

Sue Montgomery is no stranger to the media.

READ MORE: Thousands take to social media to share their stories #BeenRapedNeverReported

As a former justice reporter for the Montreal Gazette, she has been surrounded by cameras and politicians for over 30 years.

Montgomery found herself on the other side of the mic — and the camera — after creating the hashtag #beenrapedneverreported.

WATCH: Sue Montgomery speaks out on women’s rights

The movement encouraged thousands of men and women to break their silence and share their painful stories — many for the first time.

“Women have found their voice again and I see it as a second wave of feminism,” she said.

Now, Montgomery wants to represent Notre-Dame-de-Grâce-Westmount, where she’s lived for 20 years.

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“What I’d like to do now is move it from a discussion to action — to look at our justice system, our resources and try to change things to deal with an epidemic that affects both men and women,” she said.

Montgomery said the NDP actually approached her – perfect timing considering she was debating what her next step would be after leaving the Gazette in February.

“I saw what I didn’t like and thought maybe I can have a chance to change things,” she told Global News.

“Like the lack of transparency, the lack of accountability. As a journalist I know it’s impossible to get any information from this [current] government.”

QUOTE: “I figure if I can land in the middle of the earthquake in Haiti, I can do this. I know I’m going to have to fight for this but I want to play nice. I don’t want it to be nasty.”

Peter McQueen

Peter McQueen

Montreal city councillor, Peter McQueen was first elected to municipal office in 2009.

He was re-elected in 2013.

READ MORE: Access an issue as new Vendôme-MUHC tunnel opens

McQueen had previously run in NDG for the Green Party of Quebec in the 2007 and 2008 provincial elections, receiving the highest number of votes for any Green party candidate.

READ MORE: City councillor lobbies for easier access to MUHC

An NDG-er born and raised, McQueen stepped forward to run for the NDP nomination because, he said, he fully understands what the riding needs. He said he has proven that by lobbying for better cycling rights, public transit and social housing.

WATCH: Peter McQueen lobbies for better access and transport

McQueen told Global News he was unable to comment yet on his run for federal politics because he has to speak to the NDP first.

James Hughes

James Hughes

Graham Boeckh Foundation

Currently the president of the private mental health Graham Boeckh Foundation, James Hughes is the former head of the Old Brewery Mission.

READ MORE: Protesting squatters evicted from vacant lot in Montreal

He left the shelter to serve as New Brunswick’s Deputy Minister of the Department of Social Development (2008-09).

“I want to continue to serve, to be a public servant with a party that stands for compassion,” he told Global News.

Hughes founded Youth Employment Services (YES), which just celebrated its 20th anniversary.

WATCH: Youth employment struggles over the years

Having lived in NDG for years with his wife and children, Hughes pointed out there’s a real need for Quebec representation in the federal government.

“We have a very solid set of values that I think translates into effective and very progressive social policy,” he said.

“[$7 a day] childcare is just one example, but we want to do much better in terms of social housing, transport.”

READ MORE: Quebec to scrap “housing first” homeless program in Montreal

He pointed out that he’s worked for years to promote better access to quality housing, daycare, transportation and healthcare for Montrealers — and he’s not ready to stop any time soon.

“The federal government can be a real force for good and we need to do much better across the country,” he said.

QUOTE: “I’m just going to work hard, put my name and my reputation out there and make the case that I’m the best candidate. I’ve been down the dark hole of change – and I have a flash-light.”

Julien Feldman

Julien Feldman.

Julien Feldman

A commissioner at the English Montreal School Board (EMSB), Julien Feldman is a former journalist and co-founder of the Montreal Mirror.

“When I was a teen, I worked on election campaigns because my mother was an NDP activist,” Feldman told Global News of his long-standing support for the party, adding that he was the riding’s former NDP association president.

He was elected as a commissioner to the EMSB in 2007 and was reelected in 2014.

READ MORE: Just Kids: How lack of affordable, accessible child care hurts the economy

“A lot of families don’t have access to bilingual education or French immersion education,” he said.

“I expanded and opened up a number of schools to make bilingual education accessible to families and that’s the hallmark of my career as a school board politician.”

WATCH: Childcare is a big issue in Quebec

He currently works in the renewable and efficient energy sector.

In terms of federal politics, Feldman said he wants to be the spokesperson for universal daycare.

READ MORE: Quebec daycare workers rally against sliding-scale fee model

“The NDP needs a champion in Ottawa that understands, that’s been a part [of childcare education] in terms of developing that within the public school system. I’m that person. I have that expertise.”

QUOTE: “I think that I’m one of the leading experts among elected people in Quebec on the issue of children’s rights within the public system.”

Why are they running?

Rounding out the list of potential candidates are Michel Welt, Kiley Philp and Salim Bouguermouh.

Update: Nicolas Thibodeau had previously declared himself a candidate, but dropped out of the race on Wednesday, July 30 to put his support behind Sue Montgomery.

Each candidate cited their dissatisfaction with the present Conservative government in Ottawa – from Bill C51, the government’s controversial new anti-terrorism law, all the way to funding for public transit and social housing.

WATCH: Federal party leaders campaigned ahead of elections

They also pointed the finger at federal Liberal leader Justin Trudeau for lacking leadership qualities.

If successful, the NDP candidate will try to unseat incumbent Liberal Marc Garneau.

rachel.lau@globalnews.ca

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