Quebec Liberals win resounding majority

04.08.14

It’s a majority government for Philippe Couillard and the Quebec Liberal Party!

It’s been a really ugly 18 months, and an even uglier campaign. But tonight, my faith in the people of this province I call home was restored.

It’s hard to believe that scarcely five weeks ago, the PQ called this election and was projected to coast to an easy majority. How things change in the course of a campaign.

The PQ’s strategy of demonizing the “other” and running on the Charter of Values backfired. Some people finally started to realize that you don’t promote feminism by bullying women and telling them what they can or cannot wear. The big gaffes, though, could all be summed up by three little letters: PKP. His infamous fist-pump, and the subsequent referendum talk, cost the PQ a lot of votes. Their move to the right cost them a lot more on the left. And in the final days of the campaign, they were left scrambling. Tonight, they achieved their worst result in 44 years, since their maiden election in 1970.

Hopefully, this delivers a resounding message to the PQ and to anyone else who wants to play these ugly games of wedge politics: Don’t.

So now we have a Liberal majority, which is perhaps the lesser of the evils rather than a genuinely good thing. But despite my issues with them, this is the best possible result for Quebec. The Charter and Bill 14 are dead. The Liberals won’t be forced to buy support from the likes of the CAQ by promising concessions on language or identity in order to govern. We won’t be living under the constant threat of a referendum. And, best of all, we’ll have a good 4-5 years without an election, so we can actually focus on rebuilding.

More good news:

  • Pauline Marois lost her seat and stepped down as PQ leader. Odds-on favourites for her successor? Drainville, Lisée, or Péladeau?
  • Also defeated for the PQ: Diane de Courcy, Martine Desjardins, Leo Bureau-Blouin, and (thankfully) Louise Mailloux.
  • Former Liberal Fatima Houda-Pepin was defeated as an independent by the Liberal candidate in her riding, which means her obvious plans to cross the floor to the PQ will be thwarted.
  • In a beautiful piece of poetic justice, Quebecor media mogul Pierre-Karl Peladeau narrowly won his seat in Saint-Jerome, and now will have to sit in opposition in a majority Liberal government.
  • And in my home riding of Sainte-Marie-Saint-Jacques, not only was the incumbant PQ candidate Daniel Breton defeated, but he’s actually in *third* place right now. Manon Massé for Quebec Solidaire is in the lead, but she hasn’t been declared elected yet as she is only ahead of the Liberal candidate by 69 votes. Yes, the Liberals, who were projected to come a distant third and hardly even bothered to campaign here. This riding has been Pequiste since 1989. Everyone said I was nuts for hoping for a Liberal victory, but the Liberals actually won 600 more votes than the PQ. It just goes to show, you never know!

Tomorrow, there will be work to do. The Liberals have to rebuild the trust of Quebecers despite corruption allegations. They have to work to heal the deep rifts that this ugly campaign left, while tackling the important issues including the economy, healthcare, education, infrastructure and the environment. Some of us will agree with their policies and some of us will disagree. And there are no easy answers to the big questions.

But tonight, let us breathe a collective sigh of relief, and celebrate

Merci, Québec.

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