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Voter turnout low in Liberal strongholds across West Island

Weak voter turnout on the West Island in Historic Quebec election
Tue, Oct 2: West Islanders did not rush to the polls on Monday to cast their ballots. Voter turnout in some West Island ridings was low compared to previous elections. As Billy Shields reports, the low numbers did not change how people voted.

Quebec’s provincial election on Monday had the lowest voter turnout since 2012 — especially in Liberal strongholds across the West Island.

A major contributing factor may have been the lack of discussion about sovereignty during the election campaign.

READ MORE: Quebec Liberals sweep West Island amid crushing defeat

“This was the first election in over a generation where there was no threat of a referendum,” said Sébastien Dallaire, the vice president of IPSOS.

Liberal MNA David Birnbaum, who was re-elected in D’Arcy McGee, said the the issue on voters’ minds was “not the dramatic one about the future of the country.”

“And perhaps that allowed some voters to be complacent,” Birnbaum said.

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Young voters in the West Island told Global News they felt the Liberal party did not offer enough issues that interested them.

“They’re going to have to go greener, they’re going to have to go more for the familiesand the middle class,” said Tia Bergeron, a university student.

All four West Island ridings saw voter turnout drops of at least 10 per cent. In the riding of Robert-Baldwin, it plummeted by 20 per cent.

Nicolas Chatel-Launay ran for Québec Solidaire in the Jacques-Cartier riding.

READ MORE: François Legault leads Coalition Avenir Québec to majority 

By his own admission, he said his party has work to do to attract voters there.

He points out voters strayed away from the ruling Liberals because of austerity and a lack of viable options.

“In the last 15 years the Liberals have done quite a bit of cutting in health and education,” he said.

“That has affected Anglophones as much as anyone else in Quebec.”