The co-winner of the Green Party of Canada leadership race, Jonathan Pedneault, will be a candidate in the upcoming by-election in the riding of Notre-Dame-de-Grâce–Westmount, left vacant by the departure of Marc Garneau.
“It’s not an election that will determine the government, so this is a good opportunity for the people of NDG-Westmount to let people know that environmental issues are important,” said Jonathan Pedneault in an interview with the Duty.
The 33-year-old, from Longueuil, teamed up with one of the two elected Greens, former leader Elizabeth May, in the race for the leadership of the fifth party in the Commons. Their winning proposal was to share the role of leader. This must first be accepted by the party’s executive, called the “Federal Council”, at the earliest this fall.
This internal Green Party of Canada body was at the forefront of a major internal conflict involving ex-leader Annamie Paul, who was defeated in the 2021 election before leaving politics. “We are doing a lot of work internally to stabilize the situation,” now explains the Quebec deputy chief.
Jonathan Pedneault is now trying to get elected in Notre-Dame-de-Grâce–Westmount, a stronghold of the Liberal Party of Canada. In the 2021 election campaign, the Green Party garnered 1,835 votes, or 4% of the vote. He came in behind the Bloc Québécois (5.3%), the Conservative Party of Canada (14%), the New Democratic Party (19.2%), and former astronaut Marc Garneau of the Liberal Party of Canada ( PLC), which won the race with nearly 54% of the vote.
According to Mr. Pedneault, circumstances have changed since the agreement between the PLC and the NDP to govern until 2025. “We are now the only national progressive opposition party,” he said, adding that he believed he could perform well in the by-election.
The issue of French
The future Green candidate does not want to say if he supports Liberal Bill C-13. The reform of the Official Languages Act is the subject of a recent agreement between Quebec and Ottawa, which must be submitted. This bill must grant protections equivalent to French in the workplace to those provided for in the Quebec Charter of the French language. Liberal activists from Notre-Dame-de-Grâce–Westmount made their dissatisfaction known about this at the PLC convention in early May.
The outgoing MP and former Minister of Foreign Affairs, Marc Garneau, spoke in parliamentary committee to come to the defense of Anglophones in Quebec. Like him, Green candidate Jonathan Pedneault criticizes the references in C-13 to the Quebec Charter of the French language. This was changed last year by Quebec’s “Bill 96”, which used the notwithstanding clause, and which is very unpopular with the Anglo-Quebec community.
For its part, the Liberal Party of Canada is holding a nomination vote in that riding on Monday. The prospective candidate is Anna Gainey, former president of the Liberal Party of Canada and close to Justin Trudeau. She confronts Fred Headon, an employment lawyer at Air Canada.
Neither the Bloc Québécois, the New Democratic Party or the Conservative Party of Canada have nominated a candidate for this by-election for the moment.
The by-election in Notre-Dame-de-Grâce–Westmount will take place at the same time as three other by-elections across the country on June 19, such as in Portage-Lisgar, where former Quebec minister Maxime Bernier is running for the People’s Party of Canada.