Chauveau: knocking on the door of the National Assembly, one bungalow at a time | Elections Quebec 2022

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Chauveau: knocking on the door of the National Assembly, one bungalow at a time | Élections Québec 2022

Éric Duhaime knocks on the door of Chauveau, where he wants to be elected on October 3 and thus entering the National Assembly.

On a chilly Sunday in September, a gleaming Ford Mustang convertible stops in the middle of a residential street in the Saint-Émile district, in north of Quebec. Its owner saw the conservative chef Éric Duhaime going door-to-door. The discussion is short, his vote is already acquired.

Without ceremony, Éric Duhaime thanks him and heads for the next bungalow.

Further away, an arm stretches outside an SUV in movement and a hand displaying the universal sign of rock and roll takes shape. Through the rolling noise, we can distinguish a well-felt “Let's go Éric.

The Conservative Party of Quebec (PCQ) obviously has support in this part of the capital. Among the green lawns, signs in the colors of the political party have been planted on private land.

Éric took the trouble to come and install the poster himself. before our house, says Martin, who interrupts the viewing of a football match on TV to answer questions from Radio-Canada. I've met him a few times. He is human, not a robot.

Election signs like this are visible in Chauveau, especially in the Saint-Émile district, in the northern suburbs of Quebec.

Martin knew Éric Duhaime on the radio, first on FM93 as a host and then as a regular guest on CHOI Radio X, notably at a certain Jeff Fillion.

This former construction worker finds himself in the speech of the Conservative leader. The state takes up too much of people's lives, he argues. There is too much bureaucracy, too many structures.

Fueled by the pandemic and the health measures imposed on Quebecers, this grumbling against a government deemed too intrusive has reinvigorated the PCQ, which has remained rather marginal these last years. Éric Duhaime made no secret of it, he wanted to channel this energy and transpose it into a political movement.

A year and a half after taking the helm of the party, he claims tens of thousands of new members.

Éric Duhaime manages to unite many political orphans under the conservative banner.

Beyond curfews, masks and vaccines, Martin already felt like he was being ignored by successive governments.

He takes the Quebec tramway as an example. I am totally against it. A place like here [Saint-Émile], we will be in no way served by that, he laments. Everyone is completely forgotten in there.

Vote against the tramway, vote for us, says Éric Duhaime when he goes to meet the citizens of Chauveau. If he were brought to power, he would impose a moratorium on this costly and useless project.

This thirst for more individual freedom also resonates with Sébastien, who had just to receive the visit of Mr. Duhaime at the passage of Radio-Canada. Less state intervention speaks to me. I'd rather be wrong and fail myself than be told what to do and suffer the consequences, the 30-something says from his door frame.

He doesn't necessarily have a strong opinion on the tramway or the third link between Quebec and Lévis. If a study showed its usefulness, why not, but that's not what motivates him to cast his ballot on October 3.

Sébastien will vote PCQ on the basis of this fundamental value which is the freedom to decide for himself and to make his way according to his own ambitions. I think people who work hard should be rewarded.

Éric Duhaime discusses with a voter met Sunday in the riding of Chauveau.

Although his choice is made, that does not prevent him from being critical of the party platform. He and his wife shared their questions with Éric Duhaime regarding his environmental policies. A nature lover, Sébastien remarks that conservationists will generally leave [the environment] aside.

The PCQ wants to exploit Quebec's hydrocarbons to finance the energy transition and relaunch GNL Quebec, which would involve the construction of a long gas pipeline from east to west of the province. I had questions about the pipelines and the protection of the lakes, explains Sébastien.

The choice of the riding of Chauveau as a gateway to the x27;National Assembly is not insignificant for Éric Duhaime and the PCQ.

His predecessor Adrien Pouliot, chef from 2013 to 2021, had tried to get elected there in 2018. He finished fifth, far behind caquiste Sylvain Lévesque. With nearly 9% of the vote, it was still the best Conservative performance in the province.

Four years later, the Conservatives are neck and neck in the voting intentions and warm the seat of Mr. Lévesque.

Adrien Pouliot is not surprised to see Éric Duhaime succeed where he failed , that is to say, to offer a real chance of having a Conservative MP elected.

Adrien Pouliot, on the right, led the PCQ from 2013 to 2021. He was alongside Éric Duhaime last week to present the financial framework of the party.

On the one hand, according to him, the new leader benefits from a media visibility much higher than what I could have to bring.

On the other hand, he believes that the conservative base has always been present in Chauveau. Especially, I think, in Saint-Émile. That's pretty typical of the target clientele. People have the impression of paying a lot of taxes, but that they do not have the services in return, argues Mr. Pouliot in an interview.

“I always thought that the people of Chauveau, the people of Quebec, were center-right, but didn't know necessarily that the Conservative Party exists. »

— Adrien Pouliot, political adviser and former leader of the Conservative Party of Quebec

So it's no coincidence that the Conservative base camp is right in the heart of the neighborhood. This is also where the Conservatives started their election campaign. In Saint-Émile where we know we have a very receptive audience.

He had seen it during the election campaign. After trying his luck in Montmorency in 2014, the welcome was particularly warm in Chauveau, recalls Adrien Pouliot. There are many people who recognized me. They said they heard me at CHOI on Monsieur [Dominic] Mrais's show or Monsieur [Jeff] Fillion's show.

The headquarters of the curators is well established in the heart of the Saint-Émile district, in Chauveau.

Mr. Pouliot defines this target clientele as the middle class but not necessarily wealthy. He candidly admits that conservatives do not necessarily seek the vote of academics. The party is more aimed at families with two children, earning the median salary, blue collar, technician or professional training, he lists. There's a lot of that in the county.

Chauveau is not just a suburb of Quebec. It also includes municipalities such as Lac-Beauport, Stoneham and Lac-Delage. Éric Duhaime has not personally set foot there since the start of the election campaign.

The socio-demographic profile there is different, agrees Adrien Pouliot.

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