The votes have been counted, and Parti Québécois Leader Pauline Marois has been thrown from the Quebec premier’s office after just 18 months. Liberal Leader Philippe Couillard, a former neurosurgeon and the only party leader who hadn’t been through an election before, is now the premier-designate.
In the 125-seat National Assembly, the Liberals won 70 seats (up from the 50 they won in 2012), the PQ won 30 seats (down from 54), the Coalition Avenir Québec won 22 (up from 18) and Quebec Solidaire picked up an extra seat to reach a total of three. (Check out our riding-by-riding results page)
On the popular vote front, the Liberals won the support of 41.5 per cent of Quebeckers, with the PQ getting 25.4 per cent, the CAQ 23.1 per cent and QS 7.6 per cent. It was the lowest support the PQ had gotten in an election since 1970.
These results were remarkably close to what the pollsters were calling last week, polling analyst Éric Grenier writes in an article for subscribers. Have they moved past the big misses in Alberta and B.C.?
When Ms. Marois triggered an election, the PQ were riding high in the polls and a majority government seemed to be in reach. If there’s one moment that encapsulates the big shift in support, it’s probably Pierre Karl Péladeau’s raised fist.
How the result is playing in Ottawa
It’s something the federal Liberals, NDP and Conservatives can all agree on: they’re glad the Parti Québécois didn’t win.
“The results clearly demonstrate that Quebeckers have rejected the idea of a referendum and want a government that will be focused on the economy and job creation,” Prime Minister Stephen Harper said.
“The NDP has taken note of the people’s desire to end the old quarrels, and the new premier can count on us to promote Quebec’s interests in Ottawa, as part of our effort to build a more just and prosperous Canada for all,” NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair said.
“As I have said since last summer, I had the utmost confidence that Quebec voters would reject the negative, divisive politics of Ms. Marois’ proposed plan,” Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau said.
As Campbell Clark notes in a column for Globe and Mail subscribers, Mr. Couillard might actually present a real challenge for Mr. Harper in federal-provincial relations.
What people are saying
From Ottawa, Jeffrey Simpson explains why Mr. Harper is breathing a sigh of relief.
From Montreal, Sophie Cousineau explains how the PQ defeated itself.
On that point, columnist Lawrence Martin says this is just part of sovereigntists’ history of blunders.
Former Ontario premier and federal Liberal interim leader Bob Rae warns Mr. Couillard that governing Quebec won’t be easy.
Writing in the Toronto Star, Chantal Hébert wonders if the PQ will be the party of a single generation.
In the Montreal Gazette, Don Macpherson says the result will seriously test the PQ.
In the National Post, Andrew Coyne says the result is, in essence, Quebeckers finally signing on to the Constitution.
— Chris Hannay, digital politics editor (@channay on Twitter)