Wednesday, May 30

Barbot Looks Forward to Taking on a Trudeau

Bloc Québécois MP Vivian Barbot exudes defiance when asked whether she is worried that a candidate with a famous surname has thrown his hat into the race to represent her Montreal-area riding of Papineau in the next election.

"There's such a thing as a candidate, but it's another thing to win a constituency," she says of Justin Trudeau, who will contest the Papineau seat currently held by Ms. Barbot on a Liberal party ticket.

"We had Mr. Pettigrew, now we have a name and we will see what the name means."

Former minister of foreign affairs Pierre Pettigrew was the incumbent Liberal MP who represented Papineau for10 years, until Ms. Barbot defeated him in last year's general election. So like the kid who's just discovered that the school bully is–after all–susceptible to defeat, it seems Ms. Barbot is ready for the next challenge.

The odds seemed stacked against Ms. Barbot when the Bloc asked her to contest the Papineau seat. First, Mr. Pettigrew had held the seat for 10 years. Secondly, the riding had been a Liberal stronghold since 1953. Also, since 1949, none of Quebec's separatist parties had ever fielded a candidate in the riding to run federally. Lastly, although she says she was in the race to win, I suspect no one within her party actually thought she could win the seat. Papineau is a poor neighbourhood with a multicultural mix of new immigrants and French-Canadians. Ms. Barbot, who garnered 40 per cent of the vote compared to Mr. Pettigrew's 38 per cent, credits her victory to the fact that the Liberals had done little for the residents of the riding.

LINK: Embassy

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