L’Écuyer victorious in the Pontiac 0
Quebecers elected a new separatist government and their first-ever female premier, but voters in the Pontiac remained firmly behind Liberal incumbent Charlotte L’Écuyer.
Once the polls closed Tuesday night, county residents had returned the three-term Member of the National Assembly (MNA) to Quebec City far outdistancing her closest rival, Andre Laframboise, who was running for the fledgling Coalition for Quebec’s Future (CAQ) by 11,566 votes. At least four out of five electoral districts in the Outaouais stuck with the Grits, re-electing all running incumbents in the region.
Across the province, Pauline Marois’ Parti Quebecois (PQ) secured only a minority mandate and left Liberal premier Jean Charest without a seat as his government will move to the opposition benches. Mr. Charest resigned from the party’s leadership Wednesday.
The PQ won 54 of the province’s 125 seats, nine short of a majority, but enough to form a slim minority government. The Liberals were close behind, winning 50 seats. The ten-month-old CAQ won 19 seats, including leader Francois Legault. Quebec Solidaire won two seats.
In a statement, Prime Minister Stephen Harper said in the interest of both Quebec and Canada, he plans to join forces with the Quebec government “to implement measures aimed at growing the Quebec economy, with each remaining within its respective jurisdictional boundaries.”
According to unofficial results Wednesday, Ms. L’Écuyer, 69, had collected 16,983 votes. Mr. Laframboise received 5,417 votes, followed by the PQ’s Genevieve Gendron-Nadeau, with 4,835 votes. Rounding out the results was Quebec Solidaire’s Charmain Levy, with 1,565 votes, and the Green Party’s Garry Belair, with 906.
Ms. L’Écuyer, who couldn’t be reached for comment Wednesday, is a trained social worker and the former general manager of the Pontiac Community Health Centre. Ms. L’Écuyer won her first election in 2003 replacing Robert Middlemiss. She was later named the parliamentary secretary to health minister Philippe Couillard.
She has subsequently held several other posts including vice-chairwoman of the committee on planning and the public domain; parliamentary assistant to the minister of agriculture, fisheries and food; the member of the steering committee, commonwealth women parliamentarians; and the member of the Quebec section, Parliamentary Confederation of the Americas. In 2008, she was re-elected with 12,397 votes or 65 per cent of the popular vote.
Sean Chase is a Daily Observer multimedia journalist