Quebec Premier Francois Legault has been re-elected – with his Coalition Avenir Quebec (CAQ) party winning a second majority in the province’s National Assembly.
Radio Canada called the election in Legault’s favour at 8:10pm, projecting both his re-election and a second majority.
The CAQ won 90 seats, a gain of 16 seats from 2018. The Quebec Liberals placed second in terms of seat count with 21 seats, a loss of 10 from 2018. However, the Liberals placed fourth in the popular vote.
Meanwhile, the left-wing Quebec Solidaire party won 11 seats, up one from 2018. The seperatist Parti Quebecois party won only three seats, amounting to a loss of seven.
The disparity between popular vote share and seats won can be attributed to the first past the post voting system in which the candidate with the most votes in an individual riding wins, irrespective of margin.
While the Conservative Party of Quebec performed well in the popular vote, it failed to win a seat – with its leader Eric Duhaime being defeated in the riding of Chauveau where he had hoped to unseat the incumbent CAQ member of the national assembly.
The PCQ received 12.92%, up from the 1.46% it received in the 2018 provincial election.
In his speech Monday night, Duhaime said that his party’s popular vote gains signal a moral victory, stating “all the other opposition parties lost votes; we’re the only opposition party rising tonight.”
He also announced his intentions to stay on as Conservative leader, telling his supporters “I’ll need you even more in the next four years.”
Duhaime compared politics to hockey, saying the 2022 campaign was the first phase or period. “Politics is like our national sport, like hockey. There are three periods. The first period ends for us tonight. The first period was to make sure that we became a big party, that we became part of the big league.”
“We’ve done that masterfully.”
Meanwhile, Legault said in his victory speech that “Quebecers had a very clear message: let’s continue!”
The nationalist premier also claimed that “when I say Quebecers form a great nation I mean all Quebecers from all regions, of all ages, of all origins. I’m going to be the premier of all Quebcers.”
Legault’s win comes after a 36-day campaign where the CAQ maintained strong leads in the polls.
Legault’s CAQ campaigned on the slogan “Continuons” (Let’s continue) and promised Quebec voters tax cuts and government checks, healthcare reforms that include private options, building new housing, limiting immigration, greenhouse gas reductions, as well as investments in infrastructure and education.
The Premier was not exempt from criticism and protest during the campaign, after a controversial first term where he implemented policies some deemed divisive.
The Legault government passed Bill 96, a French language law which critics claim will negatively impact Anglophones and Allophones, and Bill 21, a secularism law which some say infringes on religious freedoms.
The CAQ also faced criticism for their handling of the COVID-19 pandemic.
They imposed some of the most punitive restrictions in the western world, along with some of the strictest vaccine mandates in North America. Despite these measures, Quebec has the highest Covid death count in Canada.
Days before the election, a Radio Canada investigation also revealed that McKinsey & Company, a global consulting firm with ties to Pfizer, the WHO, the WEF and the Bill & Melinda Gates foundation, played an important role in Quebec’s pandemic response.
Opposition to the CAQ’s handling of Covid also contributed to the rise of the Quebec Conservatives.
However, Legault has earned praise for being one of the few politicians in Canada to tackle wokeness. Earlier this year, his government introduced a bill to protect academic freedom – which allows professors to use any words while teaching, including language that some may find offensive.
The voter turnout for the election was 66%, the same as 2018.