Avenir Laval opts to bet heavy on its largely multicultural slate

Overwhelming majority of the party’s 22 candidates have ethnic roots

Martin C. Barry

The outcome of the City of Laval’s upcoming municipal election could provide an interesting lesson in the power of demographics once the ballots are finally all tallied on the evening of Nov. 5.

Avenir Laval opts to bet heavy on its largely multicultural slate
Avenir Laval mayoral candidate Sonia Baudelot, right, is seen here with Sainte-Dorothée candidate Prabhjinder Nagra on Oct. 19 at party headquarters in Laval-Ouest.

The multicultural path

While the two leading contenders – the incumbent Mouvement Lavallois and the official opposition Action Laval – have struck a virtually even balance in each of their slates between Québécois and multicultural candidates, the Avenir Laval party has deliberately chosen to run twice as many ethnic and multicultural candidates.

In the meantime, the small but feisty Parti Laval is going in the other direction – presenting a roster made up of slightly more than twice as many Québécois candidates (15), compared to multicultural ones (7).

A standout from the pack

Although the Alliance des Conseillers Autonomes managed to strike an even balance in its presentation of candidates, with mayoralty hopeful Alain Lecompte and his co-candidate Cynthia Leblanc making up half the slate announced on their website, the ACA managed to release the names of just four candidates in all by the Oct. 6 candidacy registration deadline.

Standing clearly out from the pack, Avenir Laval appears to be following a strategy that emphasizes the increasingly diverse population in the City of Laval. Of the party’s 22 candidates, as many as 16 have multicultural roots. Only about a half-dozen of Avenir Laval’s runners appear to be longtime-rooted Québécois.

Liberals support AL

Since forming her party for the 2017 election, it’s been no secret that Avenir Laval mayoralty candidate Sonia Baudelot (who has volunteered and worked for years as a federal Liberal organizer) was able to draw important support from some prominent local members of the Liberals to her party.

In an interview with the Laval News on Oct. 19 during one of Avenir Laval’s last major gatherings of supporters before election day, Baudelot acknowledged that diversity is indeed part of her party’s strategy.

“We are the only party that has this much diversity, because we represent what Laval is,” she said. “We are going with what we are in Laval. In Laval, you have all kinds of communities. And if you look around at all the people who are here tonight, you can see what we are talking about because this is what Laval is.”

Taxes and security

In terms of election questions, Baudelot said two of the main issues the residents of Laval seem to be most preoccupied with going towards election day are property taxes and public security. “The taxes went sky-high and eventually this has to stop,” she maintained, while adding that Avenir Laval plans to put a tax freeze into place if elected. However, virtually every challenger running in the election is making the same promise.

“A tax freeze is important,” Baudelot continued. “That’s how you make people go back out and spend money in the economy. When you have to pay your property taxes, you have to pay the school tax, these things are all issues for us. We want to give back to the citizens. We want to renew Laval. We want to rebuild Laval and give back to the citizens of Laval. It’s time to think about the future and not the past. Time to move forward.”