The Coalition Avenir Québec (CAQ) may have found its best English spokesperson anywhere in Noah Sidel, the ever so enthusiastic candidate in the April 7 election (the day he turns 33) for the riding of Notre-Dame-de-Grâce (NDG). Full disclosure: I have know Noah for some 15 years and seen his determination at every task he undertakes.
Sidel has spent most of his life in NDG and is well known for his involvement in sports and as a writer for local weekly newspapers. While his main opponent is incumbent Liberal Member of the National Assembly Kathleen Weil, a former provincial cabinet minister, Sidel truly believes he can score an upset.
The CAQ is headed by former Parti Québecois cabinet minister François Legault. He renounced sovereignty and created this new party prior to the last election in 2012. The CAQ won 19 seats in the last vote and were the main reason why the PQ only came into office with a minority government. While the polls are not being kind to them this time around, Sidel said people should think otherwise when they head to the ballot box.
“If we go down, then you are looking at a majority PQ government,” said Sidel.
The holder of a BA in journalism from Concordia University, Sidel has been working as freelance journalist since 2004. From 2004 to 2010, he was also part of the Montreal Alouettes communications and marketing team managing the team’s social media network and crafting the team’s digital marketing program. He currently serves as the vice president of operations & marketing with National Dispatch Services, a bilingual Montreal-based, family-owned maintenance specialization enterprise that employs a dozen people. Not only did he grow up in NDG, but he owns a home there today with his wife Johanna Miller and their two young children.
“Noah is a young father who has had an impressive career to date,” commented Legault. “I am certain he will contribute strongly to our mission of lowering the tax burden on Quebec’s families. I wish him the best of success and I look forward to working with Noah to re-launch the economy of Quebec.”
Sidel, a card carrying member of the federal Liberals, said that he has been a card carrying member of the CAQ for over two years. Last summer he sat down with the party president and heard their call to reach out to the anglophone community. “I knew right then that it was people like me, young anglo federalists, who needed to step up,” he remarked. “I ended up having Mr. Legault over to my house. It was a wonderful experience.”
At the time Sidel’s daughter was two and his wife was pregnant (she gave birth two months ago). “It did not seem to be the best timing for me to run,” he said. “Yet my wife stepped up and told me, ‘you better do this. You can make a difference.’ I could not have possibly asked for a more supportive wife.”
Sidel is one of two Jewish CAQ candidates, with West Islander Valerie Assouline being the other. “I think the Jewish community can be confident to support the CAQ because we stand for stability. “It is time we get away from the old Liberal-PQ situation. Our party is called a Coalition for a reason because we represent everyone.”
On the controversial Charter of Values, Sidel supports the CAQ position that the charter is necessary, but that the PQ ban on wearing religious symbols, such as Islamic veils, the kippa, religious turbans and large crucifixes, is “too radical.” Sidel sees nothing wrong with a ban of religious symbols limited to public sector personnel in positions of authority, namely judges, police and prison officers and teachers. “Personally,” he says, “secularism is not something I am comfortable with. The CAQ’s position is responsible."