New West Island Liberal candidates unveiled

Two thirds of Couillard’s Economic Team to run in Nelligan, Robert-Baldwin

By Kevin Woodhouse 

The Quebec Liberal Party announced three candidates last week that leader Philippe Couillard introduced as part of his new economic team to help bolster the province’s free falling economy. Two of Couillard’s new team, Carlos Leitão and Martin Coiteux, were introduced Sunday afternoon at Jacques Cartier Liberal incumbent Geoffrey Kelley’s campaign offices in Beaurepaire.

Leitão is replacing Pierre Marsan in Robert Baldwin and Coiteux, who lives in Kirkland, has been set to replace Yoande James who held the post for a decade before retiring from politics recently. Jacques Daoust, who has worked previously with the Laurentian and National banks, will be running in Verdun.

“This is the first time that all four of the candidates have been together,” Kelley told the assembled where he and Marquette incumbent Francois Ouimet will be taking part in their seventh election campaign since becoming MNAs.

“In the West Island, we have worked in the past as a team and will continue to do so because four voices are stronger than one in the National Assembly,” said Kelley.

Leitão has resided in the West Island for the last 40 years, previously in Dollard des Ormeaux and Beaconsfield before calling Dorval home. Before making the jump into politics, he worked as the economic spokesperson for Laurentian Bank Securities after a lengthy stint with the Royal Bank. In 2008, Bloomberg News declared Leitão to be the second best economist in the world.

“When asked why I would leave a fairly comfortable job to jump into the Brave New World of politics, I thought it time to move on from giving advice to try and help our current state of the Quebec economy that will be in real trouble if it doesn’t change,” Leitão said.

The senior economist said that he had been reflecting on entering politics since October and after the PQ issued its Charter of Values, a policy Leitão cited as ” the politics of exclusion and division, this was an important trigger for me to join with the Liberal party.”

Coiteux echoed those sentiments saying that “the PQ are determined to destroy the Quebec economy by driving a wedge through what made our province’s competitive edge, our great cultural diversity that makes us better.” 

Coiteux had worked at the Bank of Canada for the last two years as well as teaching at HEC Montreal. He moved to Kirkland “four years ago for the love of a woman and we are now raising our five children in a blended family. This is our place and our home and one of the reasons I am running is that I want my children to be able to realize their dreams in the West Island and Quebec.”

But with the PQ’s handling of the economy, Coiteux is concerned too many Quebecers “are losing confidence in the future. The Quebec Liberals want to govern this province while the PQ want to de-stabilize it.”

The Suburban asked both new candidates if they can avoid the perennial nagging feeling many West Island voters have about their Liberal entrusted votes a fairly safe assumption that can be taken for granted once elected.

“We will take nothing for granted,” Leitão told The Suburban. “The West Island does have a tradition of voting Liberal but as new candidates, we will have to earn that trust and make ourselves known.

“We want to be a strong voice in the National Assembly for West Island citizens’ rights,” Leitão said. “And as an allophone, I feel right at home in the riding of Robert Baldwin, an incredible and diverse community.”

“I am here to work for the citizens of Nelligan” Coiteux told The Suburban. “I am stepping forward to increase the quality of life for all.

“Private investment has crashed in the last 18 months as the PQ has dropped the ball on economic policy,” said Coiteux. “In the last year, while Ontario saw and increase of 80,000 new full time jobs, Quebec lost 50,000. All the PQ wants is a majority for the next referendum, not to improve our lives.”

Leitão agrees that attracting private investment can stem the loss of full time work but that requires confidence in the business community, not unstable politics.

“All economic engines in Quebec are way down,” said Coiteux. “The province needs a kick start and one way would be to increase money for infrastructure projects.”

When asked if the new candidates would be touring the province as part of Couillard’s economic team, both Leitão and Coiteux noted that their priorities were in their own ridings.

The four candidates concluded the introductory session stating that a follow up conference highlighting local issues will be taking place soon.
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