By: Lee Berthiaume, The Canadian Press
OTTAWA - Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has called a byelection for the Quebec riding of Chicoutimi-Le Fjord, only days after pledging $60 million in federal funding for an aluminum-smelting project in the area.
Voters there will head to the polls on June 18 to elect a new member of Parliament, after first-term Liberal MP Denis Lemieux announced his resignation due to family reasons late last year.
Federal parties have been waiting for the byelection as the riding has changed hands several times and was hotly contested in the last election, as Lemieux narrowly beat out incumbent NDP MP Dany Morin by 600 votes.
That equated to a 1.37 per cent margin of victory.
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The Conservatives have nominated popular junior hockey coach Richard Martel to carry their flag in the byelection, whom Deltell described as the right person to reverse the Tories' fortunes in the riding after placing fourth in 2015.
The Liberals have nominated local businesswoman Lina Boivin, while trade unionist Eric Dubois will represent the NDP.
Former NDP national director Karl Belanger said the byelection has special importance for New Democrats, given that the party held the seat before, but has struggled to make any waves in Quebec since the last federal election.
"There is a need for a good showing by the federal NDP if we are to be taken seriously in the next federal election," Belanger told The Canadian Press on Sunday.
"It's a seat we held. So symbolically, we need to regain some of our electoral footing. It seems unlikely for the Liberals to lose given the poll numbers and the fact that they held the seat, but you have to be competitive."