Frank Baylis, Anthony Housefather, Anju Dhillon win Liberal nominations

Frank Baylis

Frank Baylis wins Liberal nomination in Pierrefonds-Dollard-des-Ormeaux

Frank Baylis

Frank Baylis

For many, including established Liberals, it was a big surprise. Over 600 party members packed the auditorium of Pierrefonds Comprehensive High last month to elect Frank Baylis as their candidate for the federal election, expected in October 2015.

Baylis, a Beaconsfield resident, is an electrical engineer and a successful entrepreneur. He is president of Baylis Medical, which develops high-tech medical devices and employs 175 people across Canada. He also co-founded a tax consulting business.

He defeated lawyer Brigitte Garceau, who specializes in family law at a major firm and has been an active Liberal for 20 years. The other candidates were Jordan Gentile and Arif Naek, who delivered part of his speech in Hindi.

Alternating effortlessly from French to English, Baylis spoke of his English father and Barbadian-born mother, a nurse denied a job “because of the colour of her skin.

“My mom did not throw a rock through the window, and didn’t spray graffiti on the walls of the place that denied her a job. “She found a young Jewish lawyer and together they sued those who denied her a job. It took over ten years — it was appealed and appealed — but she ultimately won that court case.”

“Long before the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, my mother’s case was the first in Canada to establish that no longer would you be denied a job because of the colour of your skin,” he said to broad applause.

Sounding the basic liberal mantra, Baylis said he’s running because “economic opportunity and social equality is the way forward for our nation.”

Jordan Gentile spoke of the need to rebuild after the disastrous result in 2011 when the Liberals under former leader Michael Ignatieff dropped to 34 from 77 seats.

Garceau, who urged support to help increase the percentage of women in the House of Commons, had high-profile endorsements from such veteran Liberals as Lucienne Robillard and Francis Fox.

The riding, traditionally Liberal, voted twice in 1984 and 1988 for Progressive Conservative Gerry Weiner, but returned to the Liberal fold with the election in 1993 and subsequent re-election of Bernard Patry, until the NDP Orange Wave of 2011 that made teacher Lysane Blanchette-Lamothe the MP.

Anthony Housefather wins Liberal nomination in Mount-RoyalAnthony Housefather and his team broke a record for freestyle mixed relay swimming in January. (Photo by Irwin Block)

Anthony Housefather and his team broke a record for freestyle mixed relay swimming in January. (Photo by Irwin Block)

Côte St. Luc Mayor Anthony Housefather has been nominated as the Liberal candidate in Mount Royal riding, setting the stage for an epic battle to replace outgoing MP Irwin Cotler in the federal election expected next year.

Housefather defeated Jonathan Goldbloom, a public relations specialist with deep roots in federal and provincial Liberal parties.

With Cotler departing, the Conservatives, who have increased their vote share in the riding over past elections, have targeted Mount Royal as winnable.

Having entered the race in September, Goldbloom, who was raised and lives in Westmount, could not match the numbers Housefather had drawn to the party since he began campaigning in March.

The riding is about 35 percent Jewish, and both candidates pitched to the community.

Goldbloom, in his speech in a Snowdon auditorium Nov. 30, pledged “to be a strong voice for Israel and its right to peaceful co-existence.”

Reading from a text and standing behind a lectern, he also mentioned his pedigree as the grandson of pioneer pediatrician Alton Goldbloom, and son of former d’Arcy McGee MNA Victor Goldbloom and social worker Sheila Goldbloom.

With mic in hand and without notes, Housefather stood on the podium and in a forceful and fluid speech, promoted himself as the best choice for MP and campaigner in the battle to come.

“I’ve won six elections in this riding in three different municipalities, three for council and three for mayor. I led the fight in three demerger referendums.”

In a swipe at former Equality Party leader Robert Libman, Housefather recalled that “the guy who led the other side in these demerger referendums is the same guy who wants to be the Conservative candidate.

“I’ve beaten him three times and I can beat him again.”

The riding is “the cornerstone of Montreal Island’s Jewish community,” Housefather said, and its MP has a duty to “fight against intolerance, xenophobia, and anti-Semitism, and to support the people of Israel.”

Mentioning the strong area Filipino community in the area, Housefather offered his support for the integration of all immigrant groups.

The Conservatives have yet to announce when they intend to hold a nomination convention.

Anju Dhillon wins Liberal nomination in Dorval-Lachine-LaSalle

Anju Dhillon

Anju Dhillon

The newly delineated federal riding of Dorval-Lachine-LaSalle will be a testing ground for the Liberal candidate, Anju Dhillon, chosen to stand for the party in next year’s election.

More than 2,000 members gathered last month and elected the young, Montreal-born lawyer, preferring her to Alain Berinstain.

A 17-year employee of the Canadian Space Agency, where he directed its Planetary Exploration and Space Astronomy division, Berinstain failed to win in spite of high-level endorsements from Westmount MP/astronaut Marc Garneau, and Désirée McGraw, past president of the Notre Dame de Grâce-Lachine riding association.

According to Global BC journalist Justin McIlroy, who transposed the 2011 election results, the new riding boundaries strengthen NDP incumbents in Dorval-Lachine-LaSalle, Notre-Dame-de-Grâce-Westmount, and LaSalle-Verdun.

However, this analysis is of little value in predicting future outcomes, because there are so many variables. They include the Justin Trudeau factor, the relative popularity of the NDP leader Thomas Mulcair compared with that of the late Jack Layton, whether the Conservatives make any gains, and the effectiveness of local candidates on the campaign trail.

In 2011, the NDP’s Isabelle Morin defeated veteran Liberal Marlene Jennings in Notre Dame de Grâce-Lachine. Hélène LeBlanc won LaSalle-Émard outpolling Lise Zarac in Paul Martin’s old riding. Lysane Blanchette-Lamothe won in Pierrefonds-Dollard.

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