Four McGill students elected to Parliament

MONTREAL (CUP) — Three current McGill students and one recent McGill graduate were elected members of Parliament in the May 2 federal election.

The students, Charmaine Borg, Matthew Dubé, Mylène Freeman and Laurin Liu, were all NDP candidates in Quebec ridings.

With 102 seats in the new Parliament, Jack Layton’s NDP will form the official Opposition to Stephen Harper’s Conservative government, which won a majority with 167 seats.

Borg, who won the Terrebonne—Blainville riding in southern Quebec with 49.4 per cent of the vote, is a political science student at McGill and labour relations officer for the Association of McGill University Support Employees (AMUSE), which represents around 2,500 part-time employees at the university. The closest candidate, Diane Bourgeois of the Bloc Québécois, received 30.8 per cent of the vote, according to Elections Canada’s preliminary results.

Dubé, a political science major and history minor at McGill, won the Chambly—Borduas riding with a projected 42.7 per cent of the vote. Dubé, president of NDP McGill, beat out Bloc candidate Yves Lessard by nearly 10,500 votes.

Freeman, a McGill graduate, won the Argenteuil—Papineau—Mirabel riding with 44.2 per cent of the vote. Second-place candidate Mario Laframboise of the Bloc, received 28.9 per cent of the vote.

Liu received a preliminary 49.2 per cent of the vote and won the Rivière-des-Mille-Îles riding north of Laval, beating second-place Bloc candidate Luc Desnoyers by more than 10,700 votes. Liu, who is completing a major in cultural studies and a minor in Islamic studies, is a McGill Daily staffer as well as a board member for McGill’s CKUT radio station, a position to which she was re-elected for the next academic year.

The NDP nearly tripled their number of seats in the election, attributable in large part to an upsurge in popularity in Quebec, where they captured 58 of the province’s 75 ridings.

The explosion in popularity seems to have come at the expense of the Bloc, who slumped to just four seats in Parliament, all in Quebec. Bloc leader Gilles Duceppe lost his own riding of Laurier—Sainte-Marie to NDP candidate Hélène Laverdière by over ten per cent of the vote, and has announced his resignation as leader of the party. Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff also lost his riding, Etobicoke—Lakeshore in Toronto, to Conservative candidate Bernard Trottier by about five per cent of the vote. Ignatieff announced on May 3 he will quit as leader of the party, which was reduced to 34 seats from 77 in the House of Commons.