François Legault’s Coalition Avenir Québec wins another majority government

Click to play video: 'Quebec election 2022: ‘We got a clear message – keep going!’ Legault says of ‘historic victory’'
Quebec election 2022: ‘We got a clear message – keep going!’ Legault says of ‘historic victory’
François Legault‘s Coalition Avenir Québec will form the next government in Quebec after cruising to a commanding majority for a second time, with an even stronger mandate for the next four years. In describing a “historic victory” in his speech, Legault said, “We got a clear message – keep going!” – Oct 4, 2022

François Legault‘s Coalition Avenir Québec will form the next government in Quebec after cruising to a commanding majority for a second time, with an even stronger mandate for the next four years.

Global News projected the victory Monday night after a five-week election campaign that saw party leaders crisscross the province in hopes of appealing to voters and their base of supporters.

Legault’s party jumped to an early lead, with the call coming in around the 15-minute mark after polls closed on election night. As of midnight, the CAQ was leading or elected in around 89 ridings — a significant rise from the party’s standing of 76 seats before parliament broke for the summer. In Quebec, a party needs 63 seats to form a majority.

“Wow, wow, wow,” Legault began his victory speech after slowly making his way through the crowd in Quebec City, hugging supporters. “Thank you.”

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Legault, the incumbent premier and leader of the CAQ, was seen celebrating with family shortly after he was re-elected. He was well ahead in the polls for most of the campaign ⁠— with other major parties at a distant second. Support for the party barely budged despite Legault having faced a tough sprint, including being roundly criticized for his comments on immigration on more than one occasion.

Standing on stage Monday night, he pledged for his government to be both focused on the economy and the environment. Legault said he wants the province’s health system to be more efficient and humane, and that he will invest more in education.

“The message we received tonight is to continue but an election divides, but I think there are many things in Quebec that unites us, not divides us,” he said, promising to represent Quebecers from all walks of life.

Legault and the CAQ first made history in 2018 after becoming the first new party to take power in the province since 1976, ousting the Liberals in a stunning defeat. At the time, Legault offered up an alternative to Quebec’s longstanding two-party rule, which pitted federalist against sovereigntist leanings for almost 50 years.

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A businessman by trade and former Parti Québécois cabinet minister, Legault has drummed up support in his nationalist approach to leading the province, which includes contentious laws to bolster the French language and religious neutrality, while also closing out the possibility of a referendum on sovereignty.

Click to play video: 'Quebec election 2022: ‘Huge honour,’ says new CAQ member Drainville'
Quebec election 2022: ‘Huge honour,’ says new CAQ member Drainville

In this campaign, Legault was seeking a second mandate as premier ⁠— and promised continuity rather than change in the province. In two party leader debates, his rivals challenged him on his government’s handling of climate change, the rising costs of living and the COVID-19 pandemic.

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As leader, he pledged to cut income taxes as well as issue cheques to Quebecers to combat rising inflation, maintain immigration levels at 50,000 people per year and boost benefits for seniors.

Montreal Mayor Valérie Plante congratulated Legault and his team on social media.

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“We look forward to continuing the work to meet the priorities of Montrealers and municipalities: ecological transition, housing, mobility and safety,” she said.

Liberals hold on as Official Opposition, PSPP wins seat

Despite a close race, Quebec Liberal Leader Dominique Anglade is set to hold on to her seat in the Saint-Henri–Sainte-Anne riding in Montreal. The party will also remain the Official Opposition in Quebec’s national assembly.

The Liberals were elected or leading in 23 ridings by the end of the night. But the showing in Monday’s provincial election was no comeback for the Liberals, whose percentage of the popular vote fell to less than two-thirds of what it was in 2018.

“This is a kind of relief,” outgoing Liberal MNA Christine St-Pierre told Global News from the party’s headquarters.

Flanked by her family, Anglade stood on stage and told supporters that her party was given a clear mandate with the role of opposition. It’s more important than ever to come together as Quebecers, she said.

Click to play video: 'Quebec election 2022: ‘Represent all Quebeckers from all stripes,’ Anglade proclaims'
Quebec election 2022: ‘Represent all Quebeckers from all stripes,’ Anglade proclaims

She pledged to make sure the voices of all Quebecers of all origins are heard in the legislature over the next few days, months and years.

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“Our door, my door, will always, always be open.”

Parti Québécois Leader Paul St-Pierre Plamondon has won his first-ever seat in the legislature in the Montreal riding of Camille-Laurin, Global News projects. Facing an uphill battle and with his party initially lagging far behind their rivals, he recently said he was “campaigning on hope.” By midnight, the party had won about three seats, according to the latest projections.

“It’s an immense feeling of pride,” an emotional St-Pierre Plamondon told a sea of supporters, as they waved Quebec flags and chanted his name. Sovereignty is still on the table, he added.

Parti Quebecois Leader Paul St-Pierre Plamondon speaks to supporters following his loss in the provincial election to a majority CAQ government in Boucherville, Que., Monday, Oct. 3, 2022. Evan Buhler/The Canadian Press

Québec solidaire co-spokespeople Manon Massé and Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois were both re-elected in their Montreal-based ridings but it was a disappointing night for the left-leaning party, which hoped to vault past the Liberals as Official Opposition.

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By the end of the night, the party appeared to have the same number of seats it had prior to the campaign. In his speech, Nadeau-Dubois congratulated Legault on his re-election, but said he would be there to challenge him in his next mandate and urged him to act decisively on climate change, saying it’s a fight that can’t wait.

Conservative Party of Quebec Leader Éric Duhaime is projected to lose the riding of Chauveau north of Quebec City, according to Global News. Duhaime and his party has gained traction with Quebecers over its strong opposition to COVID-19 public health measures but so far, that anger has not yet translated into seats.

In a speech to a crowd of cheering supporters, Duhaime said his party had a fraction of the resources of its opponents but managed to go from about 1.5 per cent of the popular vote in 2018 to 13 per cent this time ⁠— in line with early polling results by Elections Quebec.

When the provincial legislature broke for the summer, Legault’s party had 76 seats out of 125. The Quebec Liberals had 27, Québec solidaire had 10 and the Parti Québécois had seven. The Conservative Party of Quebec held one seat while Independents accounted for four.

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⁠— with files from Global News’ Olivia O’Malley, Karla Renic and The Canadian Press

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