Will he or won’t he run for the Quebec Liberal Party leadership?

Former Montreal mayor and ex-federal Liberal cabinet minister Denis Coderre, left, who is seen here with Chomedey PLQ MNA Sona Lakhoyan Olivier, is due to make an announcement in Quebec City on June 21 on whether he’ll be running to be leader of the Quebec Liberal Party. (Photo: Martin C. Barry, Laval News)

All eyes were on Denis Coderre in Laval last week – despite low poll results

With former Montreal mayor Denis Coderre soon to announce whether he’ll be running for the leadership of the Quebec Liberal Party, some prominent PLQers were tight-lipped during a social gathering in Laval last week, when they were asked which way they’re leaning at this early stage of the leadership race.

The cocktail fundraiser at the Château Royal in Chomedey, held for the PLQ’s six riding associations in the Laval region, drew 130 supporters.

PLQ’s last two Laval seats

The Quebec Liberals, who at one time held all six of Laval’s Quebec National Assembly seats, were decimated in the 2022 election by the Coalition Avenir Québec.

Only Virginie Dufour and Sona Lakhoyan Olivier managed to hold onto the ridings of Mille-Îles and Chomedey respectively for the Liberals. However, in spite of their record-low showings in recent political opinion polls, the Quebec Liberals are still the official opposition in the provincial parliament.

Poll favours Marc Tanguay

According to a Léger-TVA-Journal de Montréal poll that was released a few days after the Laval gathering, the frontrunner for the PLQ leadership is interim-leader Marc Tanguay – who has previously stated he doesn’t want the job.

From the left, former Mille-Îles Liberal MNA Francine Charbonneau, former PLQ interim-leader Pierre Arcand, former Vimont PLQ MNA Jean Rousselle, current PLQ Mille-Îles MNA Virginie Dufour, current PLQ interim-leader Marc Tanguay, current Chomedey PLQ MNA Sona Lakhoyan Olivier and public affairs consultant Antoine Dionne-Charest. (Photo: Martin C. Barry, Laval News)

Ironically, Coderre, who was basking discreetly in the limelight for much of the evening, owing to his prominent profile as a former federal Liberal cabinet minister, suffered a precipitous drop in the poll. Coderre received just 12 per cent support, a staggering 18 points behind Tanguay.

Will announce on June 21

In spite of his usually gregarious nature, Coderre has managed to remain coy over whether he will actually run for the PLQ’s top position. Although Coderre told reporters recently that he has made up his mind, he will only reveal his decision after returning from a trip to Europe. He wasn’t any more forthcoming during the event in Laval, saying only that he’d be making a major statement on June 21.

From the left, for PLQ interim-leader Pierre Arcand, former Vimont PLQ MNA Jean Rousselle and public affairs consultant Antoine Dionne-Charest who presides the party’s central political committee, spent part of the gathering leading a discussion on the economic orientations of Quebec. (Photo: Martin C. Barry, Laval News)

“This is a good start,” Chomedey Liberal MNA Sona Lakhoyan Olivier said in an interview with The Laval News, while maintaining the gathering was a sign of a resurgence in the PLQ’s fortunes. “I feel there’s this energy. We’re working very hard at the National Assembly and it’s showing results.” She predicted a Liberal win in the 2026 Quebec provincial elections.

Spotlight’s on Coderre

Regarding Coderre, she acknowledged he “does grab attention” because “he has no many years in politics,” so, “of course it’s only natural he would be interested” in the Quebec Liberal leadership.

Left, Chomedey PLQ MNA Sona Lakhoyan Olivier and Mille-Îles PLQ MNA Virginie Dufour spoke during the gathering. (Photo: Martin C. Barry, Laval News)

But other than that, she wasn’t taking any position, noting there’s a long time to go before the formal leadership selection process begins.

Virginie Dufour said she too had almost nothing to say, at least for the time being, on potential PLQ leadership candidates. She said she wanted to see “the whole menu” before speaking. “Officially, nobody has announced their candidacy – not even Denis Coderre,” she said.