TROIS RIVIERES, Que. — Trois-Rivieres
The fact Conservative party Leader Andrew Scheer kicked off his election campaign in Trois-Rivieres says a lot about the riding’s importance to the Tories. Conservatives are hoping to add significantly to their 2015 seat total of 10 in Quebec, and this riding is key to that plan. Scheer’s Quebec lieutenant, Alain Rayes, recruited the former longtime mayor of Trois-Rivieres to try and take the seat away from the NDP’s Robert Aubin, who has represented the riding since the 2011 election. Levesque’s candidacy reflects the Tories’ election strategy in Quebec: nominating high-profile people with deep roots in the riding to run under the party’s colours. Levesque will be facing off against one of his former city councillors, Valerie Renaud-Martin with the Liberals, whom he described in 2018 as his protege. Trois-Rivieres will test whether the Conservative strategy in Quebec has paid off. The resurgent Bloc is also looking to capture the seat it held for years before the 2011 election.
Population: 110,515 (Elections Canada)
Major communities: the majority of the city of Trois-Rivieres, including the districts of Cap-de-la-Madeleine, Trois-Rivières and Trois-Rivières-Ouest.
Incumbent: Robert Aubin, NDP
Main challengers: Conservative party candidate and former mayor Yves Levesque; ex-teacher Louise Charbonneau with the Bloc Quebecois; city councillor Valerie Renaud-Martin with the Liberals; Marie Duplessis with the Green party.
Election history: Robert Aubin first won the riding with the NDP in 2011, during the so-called “orange wave” — when the party led by Jack Layton won most of Quebec’s electoral seats. The party lost the majority of their 2011 gains in the following election, in 2015, but Aubin was one of a handful of orange wave MPs who kept their seats. in 2015, Aubin won with 32 per cent of the vote, and the Liberals came in second with 30 per cent. Before 2011 the riding was a Bloc Quebecois stronghold.
Fun fact: The Our Lady of the Cape Shrine in Trois-Rivieres is recognized internationally and bills itself as the oldest church in Canada in which Mass is celebrated daily. Open for worship in 1720, the massive stone structure is the third-largest Marian Shrine in North America and attracts more than 400,000 visitors a year including pilgrims from around the world. The shrine will be 300 years old in 2020.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 16, 2019.
The Canadian Press