Emmanuella Lambropoulos stuns Liberals to win nomination to replace Stephane Dion

Teacher to run for Liberals in byelection

MONTREAL — A 26-year-old high school teacher virtually unknown to politics bested a former provincial cabinet minister Wednesday to win the Liberal party nomination for the April federal by-election in Montreal’s Saint-Laurent riding.

Emmanuella Lambropoulos and her team couldn’t hold back their surprise at beating the woman considered to be the Liberal party favourite, Yolande James.

“I’m really shocked,” Lambropoulos told reporters after her win. “I didn’t give up. Door to door. As soon as I knew I wanted this I worked really hard.”

Lambropoulos captured 1,353 votes from party members who voted under a ranked ballot system.

Her supporters credited the fact she lives in the Saint-Laurent borough and wasn’t parachuted in by the Liberal party as the main reason she came away with the victory.

“We came from the bottom up,” said Petro Vouloukos, 22, who helped Lambropoulos secure her win. “We were the grassroots. Not from the top up like Mrs. James.”

James, a former immigration minister in Jean Charest’s Quebec cabinet between 2007 and 2010 had recently left her position as a political commentator for Radio-Canada to run for the nomination.

Former foreign affairs minister Stephane Dion held the riding since 1996 and it has been Liberal for decades.

The seat is considered safe for the party and Wednesday’s winner is likely to become the MP for the riding after the byelection on April 3.

James, who was considered the heavy favourite, skipped out of a reception hall after learning she came in last out of three candidates.

Lambropoulos’ win is not without controversy as the man considered to be one of, if not the strongest candidate, was not allowed to run for the Liberal nomination.

Alan DeSousa, the well-known mayor of Saint-Laurent for the past 15 years, was not told why he was rejected as a candidate.

Many Liberal party members who voted Wednesday told The Canadian Press they were disappointed DeSousa wasn’t on the ballot and said they would have voted for him.

“Many people were upset,” said Vouloukos about DeSousa not being allowed to run and the party seemingly favouring James. “I think people being upset had an effect on the outcome but the most important thing is that she was able to mobilize the grassroots.”

Lambropoulos was the only of the three candidates to live in the riding.

Second place was Marwah Rizqy, a tax lawyer who ran unsuccessfully for the Liberals in another Montreal riding in the 2015 federal election.

Lambropoulos father, Athanasios, said her campaign started out with just him and her.

“Our goal was to hit the road and get memberships,” he said. “We weren’t seen by the press; we were invisible.”

Her mom, Matina, said “Our headquarters was grandma’s living room.”

On Monday, the NDP selected Mathieu Auclair to carry their banner in the Saint-Laurent riding, while the Tories picked Jimmy Yu, who came in second place in the 2015 election behind Dion with 20 per cent of the vote.

The Bloc Quebecois chose Wiliam Fayad to represent the party during the byelection.

Four other byelections — two in Ontario and two in Alberta — will also be held that day. Both Ontario seats are also considered safe for the Liberals, while the Conservatives are expected to retain the two ridings in Alberta.

The Liberals currently have 180 seats in the 338-seat Commons. The Conservatives hold 97, the NDP has 44, there are 10 Bloc Quebecois members, one Green party member and one independent.

Dion quit politics recently and was later named ambassador to the European Union and Germany.



Giuseppe Valiante, The Canadian Press

Just Posted

VIDEO: Hankering for a piece of Star Wars?

A massive Star Wars memorabilia collection is going on the auction block in Langley.

South Surrey shots-fired accused due back in court Jan. 2

Cameron Barton arrested Sept. 25 in White Rock

Cloverdale’s Thunder Colts hockey team raises thousands for Burn Fund

Barbeque event brings in $3,400, donations accepted until Friday, Dec. 15

Langley realtor uses Monopoly tournament to add to refugee group’s community chest

A fundraising tournament could be the start of an annual tradition.

Painful Truth: The best bad ideas for next year’s columns

To provoke discussion, you have to first provoke.

VIDEO: Recovering addict shares art and story to motivate others

A Langley City man spends time each day painting in McBurney Plaza.

Sagmoen neighbours recall alleged hammer attack

Woman was screaming outside Maple Ridge townhouse in 2013

UPDATED: Train collides with car in Maple Ridge

Mother and child both uninjured, track cleared at 11 a.m.

Accused B.C. drug smuggler to be extradited

Supreme Court of Canada upholds extradition order for accused Shuswap drug smuggler, Colin Martin

One convicted, two cleared in 2014 deaths of men in B.C.’s Cariboo

Andrew Jongbloets convicted of manslaughter in deaths of Matthew Hennigar, 23 and Kalvin Andy, 22

VIDEO: Pedestrian struck by vehicle caught on security camera

Incident points to danger on the roads not only in low light but also in bright sunshine

Firefighter dies, thousands more take on California blaze

This is second death linked to the Thomas fire, northwest of Los Angeles

Moose calves rescued in northern B.C. are ‘golden nuggets:’ researcher

Calves discovered near Prince George in late May. Mother had been killed by a car

Missing Alberta man could be headed to Victoria

Police in Alberta say Vernon “Allan” Pickard has not been heard from since late November

Most Read