Quebec re-elects the right-wing coalition in place since 2018
Steph Deschamps / October 4, 2022
Quebecers on Monday largely re-elected the right-wing coalition that has been in power for the past four years, according to local media in this French-speaking Canadian province where the issue of immigration and Quebec's identity have been at the heart of the debates.
More than 6 million voters were called to the polls to elect the 125 members of the Quebec Assembly. Polls closed at 8:00 p.m.
According to initial estimates, the Coalition Avenir Québec (CAQ), a right-wing nationalist party led by current Premier François Legault, would win some 50% of the vote.
This nationalist party, founded in 2011, could do better than in 2018, when it took 74 seats with just over 37% of the vote.
Other parties far behind
Behind the other parties, the Quebec Liberal Party (QLP, centre-left) was far behind with less than 15% of the vote, which would be the worst results for the party that led Quebec for nearly 15 years before 2018.
Four years ago, François Legault, a former multi-millionaire businessman, came to power by successfully imposing a "third way.
Neither a pro-independence nor a federalist, the founder of the airline Air Transat claims a "business" approach to politics and nationalist values.
"I'm thrilled to see my friend, Premier @francoislegault receive another strong mandate from Quebecers," Doug Ford, Premier of neighbouring Ontario, tweeted in the evening.
"Let's continue to build deeper ties between our two provinces and strengthen our economic ties that create good paying jobs," he added.
Quebec's Deputy Premier and Minister of Public Security, Geneviève Guilbault, was pleased with the results before the press. "People thought the pandemic was well managed," she said.
"There was something ungrateful in the fact of having been forced to deal with this alone. They want to give us a chance, a full four-year mandate to continue," she added.
François Legault was to speak in the evening from Quebec City.
Gathered in the theater Le Capitole, hundreds of supporters were waiting for him in evening clothes shaking on the red carpet, noted a journalist from AFP.
Holding blue signs with the party's slogan "Let's keep going", everyone was looking at the large television screens on which the party's victory was being announced.
The question of Quebec's identity has agitated the campaign, with the party in power making a number of striking statements.
It would be "a bit suicidal" to accept more newcomers given the decline of French, said François Legault, who had previously associated violence and immigration.
His immigration minister, Jean Boulet, went so far as to say that "80% of immigrants do not work, do not speak French or do not adhere to the values of Quebec society.
These comments were echoed by the province's aging population. For Alain Gravel, 55, the issue of immigration is important, as are economic issues in a context of galloping inflation in Canada.
We know that there are many illegal immigrants coming. It is essential to find a way to close the gaps" between the United States and Canada, he told AFP after voting.
With the glaring labor shortage facing the province of nearly 8.5 million people, the issue of immigration is also a real economic issue.