Some call it a fight for fair representation – proposed changes to the electoral boundaries would eliminate two current Montreal ridings. It will especially impact the Montreal downtown and LGBTQ community.
The MNA in one of those ridings and is not going down without a fight.
“Since I can’t remember when, the Member of National Assembly has been a voice of the no-voice people,” said Manon Massé.
The Quebec Solidaire MNA was elected in 2014 in Saint-Marie-Saint-Jacques, in the heart of downtown Montreal.
“We have the LGBTQ community,” Massé said. “Why? Because we have the village in our riding. Let’s say, the homeless people. We have a big concentration of homeless people.”
Her riding, along with Jacques Chagnon’s Westmount St. Louis riding is at risk of being eliminated when the government modifies the electoral boundaries and creates a whole new riding.
That’s bad news for Massé personally. Quebec Solidaire only has two MNA’s in the National Assembly – after leader Francoise David retired last month. Now she has another challenge: holding onto her seat, a seat that soon, might not even exist.
“The mix – the Saint-Marie-Saint-Jacques Westmount mix give a perfect opportunity for the Liberals,” Massé said.
The proposal to get rid of these two ridings was not in the chief electoral officer’s original proposal. He said he’s open to hearing more consultations, but the law currently prohibits him from doing so.
“He says it wouldn’t impede the implementation of the rest of the changes for next year’s election, so we think that’s the way to go,” said Parti Quebecois leader, Jean-Francois Lisée.
But the Liberals don’t. Now two citizens of Saint-Marie-Saint-Jacques have taken the issue to court. The government says other jurisdictions, namely Ottawa, only have one consultation process too.
“Each time a report comes, if someone who is affected now, who wasn’t affected then is going to say, ‘Well I haven’t had an opportunity to speak,” said Rita de Santis, Reform of Democratic Institutions Minister.