Mount Royal isn’t the only Montreal riding that’s too close to call, and NDP candidate Ryan Young in Lac-Saint-Louis believes he is well-positioned to score an historic upset in that Liberal stronghold.
Young, 43, has been an active city councillor in Ste-Anne-de Bellevue since 2009, with a solid track record on environmental protection. He teaches creative arts at John Abbott.
Young and Conservative candidate Éric Girard — a “star” candidate on leave from his position as senior vice-president of the National Bank of Canada — regard the declining numbers for Liberal MP Francis Scarpaleggia as an opportunity to unseat him.
Young is happy, for strategic reasons, that the Conservatives are running a star candidate, because “this pulls votes away from the Liberals.”
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“I think people are ready for somebody who is not connected to wealth and power. I am the only candidate who grew up in the riding.”
The riding is suburban, including Beaconsfield, Pointe Claire, Baie-d’Urfé, Kirkland, Ste-Anne-de-Bellevue, Senneville, and the western part of Pierrefonds-Roxboro. Voters there gave Liberal Clifford Lincoln comfortable majorities, but Scarpaleggia, who succeeded him in 2004, won by only 2,204 votes in 2011 against the NDP’s Alain Ackad.
Beyond the Orange Wave under Jack Layton that helped the NDP sweep Quebec, winning 58 of 75 seats in 2011, Young believes he can win under leader Tom Mulcair.
“The NDP is popular in Quebec; it’s not the same Liberal Party as under Pierre Trudeau,” he said. “People are looking seriously at the NDP when the Liberals are voting for something like C51 (the anti-terrorist act).
“I see my riding as a progressive riding and people see the NDP as having taken principled stands. They also see Tom Mulcair as someone who is a principled person, who has experience in government, compared with young and inexperienced Justin Trudeau.
“It’s a strange narrative when you think that Pierre Trudeau is someone who brought in our Charter of Rights and Freedoms and his son, when he doesn’t need to – the Conservatives are going to pass that bill anyway – decides to vote in support of that bill.
“Many observers across Canada, legal experts, say it’s a bad law and violates our Constitution and may not even withstand a court challenge.”
He is proud of what he’s accomplished with others in conserving and protecting the environment, including expanding the l’Anse à l’Orme nature park, introducing curbside compost pick-up, promoting traffic-calming measures, creating a dog park, and developing a community sustainability plan.
Young is honoured to have received the endorsement of environmentalist David Suzuki, who praises the candidate as “a person of very high ideals who has been willing to throw himself into trying to make the world a better place. We need young idealists like Ryan.”
Young says he “respects Francis” Scarpaleggia for the stands he’s taken on the environment.
“He’s on the green side of the Liberal party but he’s not a true progressive Liberal,” Young argued, since he was the only Quebec Liberal to support a motion in 2006 to re-open the same-sex marriage debate, which was defeated.
“I am the only progressive candidate in Lac-Saint-Louis. If voters want real change, they’ll elect me. What just happened in Alberta creates the climate for that to happen here.”