Liberals, including Pierre Trudeau, have held Mount Royal since 1940. We see the famous black-and-white photo of Trudeau, sporting a beatific look, admiring and smelling a rose that he holds in his left hand. His hair is still dark, though in comb-over fashion.

Liberals, including P:ierre Trudeau, have held Mount Royal since 1940.
Photo Credit: cbc.ca

Long a Liberal bastion, Mount Royal could be up for grabs in October vote

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It’s been Liberal since 1940. Former prime minister Pierre Trudeau held it for 19 years. But Montreal’s Mount Royal riding may be in play on Oct. 19 when Canadian voters go to the polls.

Conservatives are hoping that Irwin Cotler's exit from politics will open the door for them in Mount Royal. We see Cotler dressed in a blue overcoat and grey suit on a winter's day on Parliament Hill. He holds a coffee in his right hand and a newspaper in the other hand. It's a full-length shot, something resembling a vacation photo.
Conservatives are hoping that Irwin Cotler’s exit from politics will open the door for them in Mount Royal. © cbc.ca

Conservative leader Stephen Harper wants it badly enough that it was the first riding he visited after the election was called on Aug. 2.

Voters in Mount Royal last elected a Conservative in 1935, but it was the only place in Montreal where the Conservatives finished better than third place in 2011 general election.

It’s been represented by Irwin Cotler, a former Justice Minister under Paul Martin, since 1999, but Cotler won by fewer than 2,300 votes in 2011 against Conservative candidate Saulie Zajdel, who has since been arrested on fraud charges related to his work on municipal council.

Mount Royal sits at the geographic heart of Montreal and borders Liberal leader Justin Trudeau’s Papineau riding and NDP leader Tom Mulcair’s Outremont riding.

Conservative candidate Robert Libman, left, and Liberal nominee Anthony Housefather are both long-time activists in the English rights movement in Quebec. Both are seen in closeup answering questions. Libeman wears a tie and glasses. His hair is well-oiled. Housefather is without a tie in a dark suit. While Libman's eyebrows are down, Housefather's are arched.
Tory candidate Robert Libman, left, and Liberal nominee Anthony Housfather are both long-time English rights activists. © cbc.ca

The top contenders for the seat are both long-time activists in the English rights movement in Quebec, Robert Libman, an architect, and Anthony Housefeather, a corporate lawyer, who is the current mayor of the town of Cote St. Luc, a position Libman held before him.

NDP candidate Mario Jacinto Rimbao. He has a lovely smile and a goatee and is dressed in a classy dark suit and tie.
NDP candidate Mario Jacinto Rimbao. © Courtesy: Mario Jacinto Rimbao

The NDP candidate is Mario Jacinto Rimbao, a fleet operator and a longtime basketball coach and volunteer in the riding’s substantial Filipino community.

If Rambao can pull enough votes from the Liberals, it could open the door for the Tories, who have long sought a beachhead in Montreal.

Free-lance journalist Adam Kovac knows the riding well. He grew up there and his family still lives there.

He spoke to RCI by phone from his home in Montreal.

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