Well known for his community involvement, Patrick O’Hara has made the leap into politics and will run as the Bloc Québécois candidate in the riding of Châteauguay-Lacolle during the next federal election.
His candidacy was confirmed during a virtual nomination meeting held on Wednesday, February 24. Bloc MP representing La Prairie and Parliamentary Leader of the Bloc Québécois Alain Therrien was delighted at Mr. O’Hara joining his team’s ranks. “I lived in Châteauguay for six years and people already knew Patrick back then. He’s someone who gets involved and takes action. He sold 300 membership cards in two months in the middle of a pandemic!” Mr. Therrien stressed.
The Leader of the Bloc Québécois, Yves-François Blanchet, also saluted the Léry resident’s arrival within his party. He knew him from years ago when “Pat O’Hara” as Mr. Blanchet calls him, managed the Cage aux Sports restaurant in Saint-Constant. “Even back then Pat O’Hara was about public service. It’s fascinating to see his commitment within the community,” Mr. Blanchet commented.
Patrick O’Hara has organized several fundraising campaigns for the Fondation Anna-Laberge and likes to be involved in numerous causes including the Fondation Gisèle-Faubert, les Gouverneurs de l’espoir and la Rencontre Châteauguoise.
Mr. Blanchet also emphasized that he appreciated having an anglophone with Irish heritage who wants to defend the French language within his ranks. Mr. O’Hara was born in British Columbia and was adopted by an Ontarian family who settled on a farm in Montréal’s North Shore.
Mr. O’Hara, who worked for Thibert in Mercier for a dozen years, says that he was often called upon to defend and represent Quebec as part of his role as Vice-President of Business Development. “Representing Quebec within the rest of Canada and throughout North America made me quickly realize that Quebec was distinct from the rest of Canada. Our culture is different, our language is too, even our way of negotiating is different,” he explained in an interview.
Getting Involved for His Community
Mr. O’Hara decided to make the leap into politics during the pandemic. “I calculated that I had done over 1000 events, like spaghetti suppers, golf tournaments for organizations over the years. I have always liked to help out. When I left Thibert, which is a company with a strong social commitment, I realized that I really missed being involved in that way,” explained the now National Director of a Tire Company. The candidate said he was impressed by Yves-François Blanchet’s performance in the 2019 leaders’ debate.
“I want to be the one who is on the ground defending the interests of my community in Ottawa rather than representing Ottawa’s interests in my riding, as is currently the case with the Liberals,” he stated.
While federal jurisdictions may sometimes seem far removed from citizens’ daily lives, he thinks the pandemic has changed things. “We can see it, the vaccine is federal, borders are too. If the federal government had closed the borders earlier, we wouldn’t be dealing with the variant now,” he alleged.
A Tight Race Between the Bloc and LPC in 2019
The riding of Châteauguay-Lacolle is currently represented by Liberal MP Brenda Shanahan. It is the Châteauguay resident’s second mandate. She won the 2019 election with a 639-vote lead on Bloc Québécois candidate Claudia Valdivia. Ms. Shanahan will once again be part of Justin Trudeau’s team in the next.