Quebecers largely defeated on Monday October 3 the right-wing coalition that has been in power for four years, according to local media, in this French-speaking Canadian province where debates have centered on the issue of immigration and Quebec’s identity re-elected.
More than 6 million voters were called to the polls to elect the 125 members of the Quebec Assembly. The Avenir Québec (CAQ) coalition, a heterogeneous right-wing nationalist party led by current Prime Minister François Legault, has reached a veritable tidal wave four years after taking power. With 41 percent of the vote and 89 seats, the nationalist formation founded in 2011 did better than in 2018.
The other parties were far behind, with the Liberal Party of Quebec (PLQ, center-left) in second place, which won 22 seats, the worst result for the party that ruled Quebec for almost fifteen years prior to 2018.Quebecers sent a powerful message‘ enthused François Legault in his speech at the end of the evening, which promised: ‘to be Prime Minister of all Quebecersafter a very divisive campaign.
“This is a historic victory‘ he continued, before evoking education and business as priorities in front of his supporters gathered on the red carpet of a Quebec theater. “We must continue to create prosperity in Quebec because that gives us the means. We have an exceptional opportunity to make Quebec a leader in the green economy“.
A “business” approach to politics
Four years ago, François Legault, former multi-millionaire businessman, came to power by winning his bet, a “third way“. Neither separatist nor federalist, the founder of the airline Air Transat calls for an approach “businessnationalist politics and values.
“I am pleased that my friend Prime Minister @francoislegault is receiving another strong mandate from Quebecers.” tweeted Doug Ford, Premier of Ontario, the neighboring province, in the evening. “Let’s continue to forge closer ties between our two provinces and strengthen our economic ties that create good-paying jobs.”he added.
Speaking to the press, Quebec Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Public Safety Geneviève Guilbault was delighted with the results. “People thought we handled the pandemic well”She said. “There was something thankless about just having to sort of take care of it. They want to give us the chance to continue a full four-year term.”She added.
But the results’ map shows a province heavily divided between Montreal, a large multicultural city, and the rest of the territory. The party in power has only one member on the territory of Metropolitan Québec, bastion of the Liberal Party and Québec solidaire (left).
Another highlight: For the first time, an Aboriginal MP is sitting in the Quebec National Assembly. Ruling party member Kateri Champagne Jourdain rejoiced to the press of “mark history” from Quebec.
The identity question moved the campaign
François Legault was scheduled to speak from Quebec City in the evening. Gathered at the Le Capitole theater, he was awaited by hundreds of supporters in evening dress, shaking the red carpet. Blue placards with the party slogan “let’s go on», everyone turned to the big TV screens showing the announcement of the victory of the party.
The issue of Quebec’s identity excited the campaign, with one party in power multiplying the sensational declarations. It would be “a bit suicidal” to welcome more newcomers given the decline of French, said François Legault, who has previously linked violence and immigration. His immigration minister, Jean Boulet, went so far as to say so “80% of immigrants don’t work, don’t speak French, or don’t adhere to the values of Quebec society”.
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Words that resonated particularly with the province’s aging population. For Alain Gravel, 55, the issue of immigration is as important as economic issues in the context of runaway inflation in Canada. “We know that many illegal immigrants come. We absolutely must find a way to close the gaps. between the United States and Canada, he told AFP after the vote. Immigration is also a real economic issue, given the glaring labor shortages facing the province of nearly 8.5 million people.
Before the final results were announced, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said to himself:can’t wait to keep working» with François Legault, who commemorates the construction site of «green economy“, from “the fight against climate change», and the question about «labor shortage“.
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