The Longueuil riding of Marie-Victorin, on the south shore of Montreal, has a new representative in Quebec City.
Polls in the provincial byelection closed at 8 p.m. on Monday with the Coalition Avenir Québec’s Shirley Dorismond the projected winner, taking 34.86 per cent of the vote with 144 of 146 polls reporting.
Dorismond finished just ahead of the Parti Québécois’ Pierre Nantel with 30.06 per cent, while Québec solidaire’s Shopika Vaithyanathasarma finished in third with 14.32 per cent, according to Élections Québec.
Premier François Legault and several cabinet minsters, including Christian Dubé, Simon Jolin-Barrette, Ian Lafrenière and Jean-François Roberge were at party headquarters at Pizzeria Milan to celebrate Dorismond’s victory.
“Welcome to the great CAQ family,” Legault said in his congratulatory speech.
Dorismond, who formerly served as vice-president of the Fédération interprofessionnelle de la santé du Québec (FIQ), the largest nurses’ union in the province, used her background in the health sector to promote her platform.
One of Dorismond’s main priorities is improving the province’s COVID-19 battered health system by putting patients first.
Dorismond’s win is a boon for the province’s health minister who recently tabled an ambitious health reform plan. Both Dubé and Legault reiterated what they’ve said before, that they need Dorismond in Quebec City to help execute the reform.
“It’s good news for the CAQ,” Dubé said Monday evening.
“We have to move away from a climate of confrontation and go towards a climate of conciliation,” he added, pointing to Dorismond’s union background as a crucial asset.
Legault said Dorismond’s victory was a vote of confidence for the party.
“Voters told us they trust us to reform the health-care system and to put money in the pockets of Quebecers,” he said.
“They also told us they don’t like extremes. They want change but it should be done in order and in a responsible way with the CAQ.”
In her victory speech, Dorismond thanked voters for putting their trust in her.
She also thanked her family for their encouragement and said she was eager to get to work.
“I’m excited to work with my colleagues but mostly Mr. Dubé,” she said. “I’m coming. I hope you’re ready because I am.”
Prior to Dorismond’s win, Marie-Victorin was a Parti Québécois stronghold for decades, although the CAQ came within about a few hundred votes of winning it back in 2018.
The seat was left vacant last fall when independent MNA Catherine Fournier, who was first elected under the PQ banner in a 2016 byelection, left provincial politics after she was elected mayor of Longueuil.
Élections Québec said voter turnout was 36.40 per cent with 45,636 registered electors.
Voters Global News spoke to on Monday outside a polling station at École Armand-Racicot said they cast their ballot not only to exercise their right to vote but out of a sense of civic duty.
“It’s a democracy and it’s important to make a choice if you want to critique the people,” said François Choinière.
“It’s always important to vote and do your part,” added Olivier Barrette in French.
“It’s a must for everybody,” Maurice Simard agreed.
But when it came to the issues that mattered to them and what they want to see from their new MNA, their answers differed.
“I’m old,” said Simard. “I have retired and I don’t have a perfect future for living because of that.”
Simard said he’s been waiting for a surgery for three years now, so health and more social services for seniors are his top priorities.
Barrette’s main areas of concern are the environment, Quebec independence and language.
Choinière, for his part, is hoping the new MNA will get along with the Fournier, the riding’s former MNA and the new mayor of Longueuil, so that they work together to expand the cycling network.
“I’m a cyclist, so I’d like good infrastructure,” he said.
Monday night’s winner, however, won’t have much time in which to prove themselves, with provincial elections just a few months away on Oct. 3.
— with files from Global News’ Gloria Henriquez, Felicia Parrillo