Parties fail to make gains in Quebec — as some races remain tight, but most look like 2019

·5 min read
Parties fail to make gains in Quebec — as some races remain tight, but most look like 2019
Bloc Québécois leader Yves-Francois Blanchet looks down as he speaks to supporters on federal election night in Montreal, Tuesday, September 21, 2021. (Graham Hughes/The Canadian Press - image credit)
Bloc Québécois leader Yves-Francois Blanchet looks down as he speaks to supporters on federal election night in Montreal, Tuesday, September 21, 2021. (Graham Hughes/The Canadian Press - image credit)

Despite some races remaining too close to call, the electoral map in Quebec is nearly the same as it was after the 2019 federal election.

The Liberals lost some ground in the province, while the Bloc Québécois appear to be on the verge of making small gains. However, the party will fall short of the 40 seats leader Yves-François Blanchet bet on, even after a boost from a controversial question in the English-language leaders' debate.

The NDP kept its only seat in Quebec and the Conservatives held onto the ridings they won in 2019.

The Liberal party, which is projected to win a minority government in Canada, was on track to win 33 seats by mid-day Tuesday.

The Bloc Québécois could grab as many as 34 seats, with the Conservatives expected to finish with at least 10 ridings in the province — the same total as in 2019.

The Trois-Rivières riding remains a toss-up at this time, as the Bloc's René Villemure held a narrow, 48-vote lead over the Conservatives' Yves Lévesque. There are 2,372 mailed-in ballots to count.

Villemure replaced Bloc incumbent Louise Charbonneau in the riding after she pulled out of the race, citing personal reasons.

The race had tightened in the province in recent weeks since the Bloc enjoyed a bump in popularity after a slow start. The party experienced a dramatic comeback under Blanchet in 2019, winning 32 seats after being reduced to 10 in the 2015 elections.

But the party wasn't able to make the gains Blanchet had hoped.

Graham Hughes/The Canadian Press
Graham Hughes/The Canadian Press

In a speech just after midnight Tuesday, Blanchet criticized Liberal leader Justin Trudeau for calling the election, saying "there were no winners and no losers … just a bunch of people whose barbecues were interrupted and who can't help but ask now, 'What was this all about?'"

The Conservatives' failure to make gains in the province signalled a rejection of Premier François Legault's endorsement of Erin O'Toole. Legault had taken a public stance against Trudeau calling on Quebecers to "beware of three parties: the Liberal Party, the NDP and the Green Party."

Legault said he believed O'Toole would give Quebec more autonomy when it came to managing its health-care system.

On Tuesday morning, Legault took to social media to congratulate Trudeau on his victory.

"I will work with him to advance the interests of Quebec," Legault wrote on Twitter.

Liberal candidates who held cabinet positions at dissolution were able to keep their ridings, including Marc Garneau in Notre-Dame-de-Grâce—Westmount, François-Philippe Champagne in Saint-Maurice—Champlain, Marc Miller in Ville-Marie—Le Sud-Ouest—Île-des-Sœurs, Diane Lebouthillier in Gaspésie—Les Îles-de-la-Madeleine and Marie-Claude Bibeau in Compton—Stanstead.

Boulerice keeps small NDP presence in Quebec

Another star incumbent in Quebec, NDP candidate Alexandre Boulerice, retained his riding of Rosemont—La-Petite-Patrie in Montreal. Boulerice has held the seat for the past three elections, since the so-called orange wave in 2011.

For much of the evening, former NDP MP Ruth Ellen Brosseau led in Berthier-Maskinongé, but Bloc incumbent Yves Perron eventually retained his seat, winning by more than 1,500 votes.

Jonathan Hayward/The Canadian Press
Jonathan Hayward/The Canadian Press

NDP leader Jagmeet Singh addressed Quebecers in his speech, saying, "Whatever the amount of MPs in our caucus, I want to assure you that we will continue to fight for you."

Singh said the NDP had fought to increase pandemic subsidy programs that benefited millions of people in Quebec.

Some new faces in parliament

The Bloc failed to make inroads in the Gaspé, though it grabbed a new seat on the South Shore, and another candidate is locked in a virtual tie for a seat in the Eastern Townships.

Newcomer Bloc candidate Patrick O'Hara won the riding of Châteauguay-Lacolle against Liberal incumbent Brenda Shanahan.

As of Tuesday morning, the Bloc's Marilou Alarie led Liberal candidate Pascale St-Onge in the Brome-Missisquoi riding by fewer than 100 votes. There are 1,985 mailed-in ballots to count.

Both candidates are attempting to be elected as MPs for the first time.

Other new faces elected by Quebecers include Dominique Vien, former liberal provincial labour minister, who was elected for the Conservatives in Bellechasse-Les Etchemins-Lévis, and Liberal Sophie Chatel in Pontiac.

Maxime Bernier, the leader of the People's Party of Canada and a former Conservative MP, lost in his Beauce riding for the second time in a row since forming the party in 2018.

9 injured at one Montreal polling station

Across most of Quebec, polling stations closed at 9:30 p.m., but long lines remained at some Montreal locations.

Voter Sylvain Lacasse told Radio-Canada he gave up his right to vote in the Laurier—Sainte-Marie riding after passing by the station twice during the day and seeing the wait was at least two hours.

"Ridiculous. I turned back," he said.

Elections Canada warned that long lines were likely due to the COVID-19 protocols in place.

Jean-Claude Taliana/Radio-Canada
Jean-Claude Taliana/Radio-Canada

One polling station in Montreal was the site of a serious accident, with several people injured after a woman lost control of her vehicle in the parking lot of Sunshine Academy, located on Sunshine Street in Dollard-des-Ormeaux.

Montreal police spokesperson Const. Caroline Chèvrefils said the incident was accidental and the injuries are minor.

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