I have known Larry Smith for a number of years and could not help being impressed with his charisma and great oratory skills. As commissioner of the Canadian Football League, president of the Montreal Alouettes and publisher of the Montreal Gazette, he always seemed to have the right words to say. It was therefore no surprise to see him handpicked by Prime Minister Stephen Harper to become one of his star candidates in this election, entering the political field a few months ago as an appointed Senator.
At first glance, Smith looked like a viable threat to incumbent Lac St. Louis Liberal MP Francis Scarpaleggia in this election. However, he has been under fire for some comments he made on the campaign trail. First he said French does not need protection in Quebec. More recently, he commented that it is "normal" that more of Ottawa's money should go to Conservative ridings, as opposed to those held by opposition MPs.
I believe the media have been unfairly critical of him. Was he really wrong with either of his comments? I suppose it depends upon whom you speak with. Should he have actually said these things on the record? Perhaps not. In any case, none of this should scare away voters in Lac St. Louis. If he is elected, he will be far more high profile than Scarpaleggia and as a certain high profile cabinet minister the riding will indeed be the beneficiary.