SAGUENAY, Que. — Federal leaders converged on Quebec’s Saguenay region Thursday, hoping to sway voters four days before a byelection in the area.
“What I’m seeing is people coming together,” said Prime Minister Justin Trudeau as he campaigned with Liberal candidate Lina Boivin.
“There is a sense of unity across Quebec and across the country.”
In a region that depends heavily on the aluminum industry, Trudeau stressed the importance of having an MP in the government ranks during a period of trade uncertainty between Canada and the United States.
Farmers in the region about 200 kilometres north of Quebec City are also worried about possible concessions that would undermine their cherished supply management system.
Monday’s byelection in Chicoutimi-Le Fjord riding is being held because of the decision by Liberal MP Denis Lemieux to step down for family reasons.
Also campaigning Thursday was Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer, who focused on the Liberals’ track record on the legalization of marijuana as well as their management of border issues.
“There is a feeling everywhere in Quebec that the Liberal government has not delivered on its promises,” Scheer said.
An opinion poll suggests Conservative candidate Richard Martel, who coached the Chicoutimi Sagueneens of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League for 10 years, has a substantial lead over Boivin.
“Our Quebec caucus has done a lot of work to connect with Quebecers,” Scheer said.
“We’re in the third period. There are a few minutes left and we’re working very hard right up until the end.”
Bloc Quebecois interim leader Mario Beaulieu was also in the riding Thursday and expressed cautious optimism after the recent turmoil within the party over Martine Ouellet’s former leadership.
“We have a reunified Bloc in the riding and we’ll be very efficient in the rest of the campaign,” Beaulieu said.
Stephane Bouchard, The Canadian Press