Four main candidates race to the finish ahead of Monday byelection in Montreal

MONTREAL — The byelection in a fiercely contested riding near downtown Montreal is heating up ahead of Monday's vote.

The race to represent the riding of Saint-Henri–Sainte-Anne is pitting Quebec Liberal Party candidate Christopher Baenninger against Québec Solidaire's Guillaume Cliche-Rivard, with the two running neck and neck in the polls.

Baenninger, a social entrepreneur, says housing is the top concern in the riding, which has more than 200 boarded-up dwellings and more subsidized housing units than any other part of the province.

But Cliche-Rivard, an immigration lawyer, says Liberals remain partly responsible for the local housing crisis, citing the "austerity" of the previous Liberal government.

The governing Coalition Avenir Québec is running Victor Pelletier, president of the party's youth wing, while the Parti Québécois candidate is Andréanne Fiola, who also ran for the party in October.

Once a bastion of Liberal support held by the party since the riding's creation in 1994, it is now up for grabs after Dominique Anglade stepped down as party leader and resigned the seat late last year.

Opposition parties have said almost none of the $2.2 billion earmarked for Quebec social housing under a 10-year federal-provincial deal has been spent. The CAQ minister responsible for housing said last week it will all be doled out by 2028.

Polls are set to open at 9:30 a.m. Monday and to close at 8 p.m.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 12, 2023.

The Canadian Press