Federal election fever gets underway early in Laval-Les Îles

Conservatives nominate Spyros Pettas, though no date yet set by PM Trudeau

Under mounting opposition pressure over the government’s handling of the COVID-19 crisis, will Prime Minister Justin Trudeau follow through on a threat he made during an interview in early January and call an election before the end of this year?

Whatever his decision, you can be almost certain something is brewing among political organizers in Ottawa when the opposition parties start getting their act into gear.

So it was, and with relatively little fanfare late last month, that the Conservative Party of Canada announced its candidate for the next election (whenever that turns out to be) in the perpetually Liberal stronghold of Laval-Les Îles.

Runs an armored car company

He is Spyridonas Pettas, the founder and an associate partner at Arca Logistics Solutions Inc., a West Island Montreal-based security and armored car company specialized in commercial cash transportation, ATM servicing and cash management products.

Spyros, as most people call him, will be running against incumbent Liberal Laval-Les Îles MP Fayçal El-Khoury. The next election would normally be scheduled for Oct. 16, 2023, unless the Prime Minister calls for one before the end of this year in an attempt to shore up his beleaguered minority government.

Pettas was introduced during a Zoom webcast press conference by Conservative Senator Leo Housakos and the Conservative Party’s Quebec Lieutenant, Chicoutimi-Le-Fjord Member of Parliament Richard Martel.

“I’ve gotten to know Spyros for some time now and he is an extraordinary person,” said Martel. “He has good judgment, he knows the issues in the riding, and he’s someone who shows a lot of leadership.”

‘Hard worker,’ says Housakos

“Spyros Pettas is someone I’ve known for a good number of years,” said Housakos. “As for his qualities apart from his educational background and dedication to the community, he is a man who is ready to work hard. He is ready to assume the responsibilities to bring the wants and needs of the people of Laval-Les Îles to Ottawa, but not the interests of Ottawa to Laval-Les Îles.”

Regarding the date of the next election, Conservative Senator Leo Housakos said that “clearly it’s in the hands of Prime Minister Trudeau.”

Housakos said he was proud to be able to say that Spyros Pettas had been an active member of the Hellenic Board of Trade of Greater Montreal.

“As such, Mr. Pettas has been involved in local business, in community issues, and I feel certain and reassured that he will work with all his heart and strength to represent Conservative values in this riding with a lot of energy,” Housakos said.

Pettas was born in Athens, Greece in 1968, but has been a Canadian since age one. He is a Concordia University graduate with a Bachelor of Commerce. In addition to his expertise in business management and security systems, he has also served as an instructor in the methods of safe handling of firearms by novice hunters.

Community involvement

Some of his more recent community work was with Batshaw Youth and Family Services, which offers psychosocial, rehabilitation and social integration services to families in need. He is the father of two children, who are now young adults and pursuing studies, including one who is a reservist in the Canadian Armed Forces.

“I will work very hard and closely collaborate with the delegates from the municipal and provincial governments in order to work with my riding and its members in finding solutions,” Pettas said in a statement.

“I will also be pursuing in every possible way to find ways that the federal government can implement investments for greater opportunities in the riding for businesses and individuals as well. Presently the biggest challenge we have is being able to secure and deliver as quickly as possible the COVID-19 vaccinations to all our members in our community.”

Speculating on a 2021 election

Regarding the timing of the election, Housakos had this to say: “Clearly it’s in the hands of Prime Minister Trudeau. I know it’s a minority parliament, but we’ve seen the NDP has been more than determined to support the government and continue to support their reckless behaviour.

‘Presently the biggest challenge we have is being able to secure and deliver as quickly as possible the COVID-19 vaccinations to all our members in our community,’ said Tory candidate Spyros Pettas

“Having said that, it’s been clear, from signals that Prime Minister Trudeau, despite the COVID crisis and despite this existential crisis in Canada, [leaves us] fearful that he will put his electoral pursuit and interests ahead of the interests of Canadians. We’re hopeful that he won’t and he’ll continue to focus on COVID and the relief that Canadians need in these challenging times. But he will determine when that election will be.”

On a separate issue, that being the recent resignation of Governor General Julie Payette (who was unilaterally appointed by Trudeau without formal consultation), and a scathing report on her conduct towards employees at Rideau Hall, Pettas had the following assessment.

Payette and Trudeau’s judgment

“I feel that for Canadians at large the decision of Justin Trudeau was not fair,” he said. “And also, the aspect of not following due process causes implications such as now this person will be stepping down. There are costs associated and the taxpayers will be burdened for a long time.”

For his part, Housakos said, “At the end of the day, we have a prime minister who decided to ignore the regal vetting process that [former Prime Minister] Harper had put into place, which led us to having our former Governor General selected as Mr. David Johnston who represented the institution with honor and integrity. “Mr. Trudeau bypassed that,” Housakos continued. “He decided unilaterally and in a partisan fashion to choose the outgoing Governor General that we just had. And clearly Mr. Trudeau’s judgement failed the country. It’s unfortunate that now we’re found in another humiliating situation.”