SAINT-GEORGES-DE-BEAUCE, Que. — Beauce
Quebec’s Beauce region is a land of rolling hills, entrepreneurs and pick-up trucks south of Quebec City. The various towns along the Chaudiere River are grouped together to form the Beauce riding, which has been represented since 2006 by Maxime Bernier, once considered a favourite to win the Conservative party’s leadership race. But he lost in a bitter fight to Andrew Scheer and Bernier quit the party loudly in August 2018, calling the Tories “too intellectually and morally corrupt to be reformed.” He quickly formed his own political formation, the People’s Party of Canada, which has yet to gain significant support in the polls. The Conservatives have nominated former Beauce-area mayor, Richard Lehoux, to win the seat back and get their revenge against the mutinous bete noir. Polls suggest Bernier and Lehoux are in a statistical tie for first.
Population: 108,746 (Elections Canada)
Major communities: Towns of St-Georges, Ste-Marie, and Beauceville.
Incumbent: Maxime Bernier, leader of the People’s Part of Canada.
Main challengers: Conservative Richard Lehoux, former president of the Quebec federation of municipalities; Josiane Fortin for the Greens, an analyst with Quebec’s agricultural financing office; high school support worker Francois Jacques-Cote for the NDP; youth worker Guillaume Rodrigue for the Bloc Quebecois; businessman Adam Veilleux for the Liberals.
Election history: Bernier has won the riding by no less than 50 per cent of the vote in each election since 2006. In 2015, the Liberals came second with 22 per cent of the vote. Before Bernier’s crushing victories, the riding was represented following the 2004 election by Liberal Claude Drouin. Bernier’s father, Gilles, won the riding for the Progressive Conservatives in the 1984 and 1988 elections and once again as an Independent in 1993.
Fun fact: Back in the early settler days, Beauce farmers were called the “Jarrets Noirs” (muddy boots), by Quebec City residents who spotted the men trudging into town covered in mud from the long trek up the shores of the Chaudiere River to sell animals and produce. Beauce residents wear the name with pride to this day.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 16, 2019.
The Canadian Press