Post-Mortem of the Quebec elections
As predicted by pollsters, the Coalition Avenir Québec (CAQ) won a convincing majority, electing 90 of the 125 members of the Quebec National Assembly. The Quebec Liberal Party (QLP) is the official opposition with 21 seats, concentrated in the Montreal area. Québec Solidaire (QS) won 11 ridings, the Parti Québécois (PQ) won 3 ridings and the Conservative Party of Québec (PCQ) failed to win a seat. The approximate turnout for the election was 66.1%.
Coalition Avenir Québec
Premier François Legault can be satisfied with the results of his campaign. His team was elected in all the regions of Quebec. The CAQ won 41% of the popular vote, far ahead of other parties. The party was competitive virtually everywhere in Quebec.
Some tough battles were won, such as in the ridings of Beauce-Nord (possible recount), Beauce-Sud and Chauveau, in the Quebec City area, against the Conservative Party of Quebec. The CAQ also made notable gains, such as in the riding of Rouyn-Noranda-Témiscamingue with the election of Daniel Bernard, despite the saga surrounding the Horne Foundry, as well as in Laval, where it now holds 4 of the 6 seats instead of just one in 2018.
Despite this clear victory, the CAQ was unable to elect star candidate Caroline St-Hilaire in Sherbrooke against Québec Solidaire, a former Bloc Québécois MP and former mayor of Longueuil. Voters in Montreal are still rejecting the party, as only two ridings in the east of Montreal are caquist. The two Solidaire ridings in Quebec City have been retained.
The CAQ can boast of having constantly progressed since its first election in 2012. In its first election, 27% of the population voted for it, while in 2022 it is 41%. Only a few ridings had voted more than 50% for the CAQ in 2012, while it was in 23 ridings in 2018 and 33 ridings in 2022. 79 ridings were won with more than 40% of the vote in 2022.
Quebec Liberal Party
The Quebec Liberal Party led by Dominique Anglade performed as expected due to the concentration of its vote in Montreal. Its core group of Anglophone and Allophone voters in Montreal remained loyal.
But the party faces immense organizational and financial challenges in order to remain competitive in the long term. The party had to take out two mortgages to run the last election campaign. The number of members and volunteers has dropped drastically and recruiting candidates from outside Montreal has been difficult. Political finance reform is hurting the party: in 2008 the party raised $9.2 million under Jean Charest, while its annual public funding is now expected to drop by about 40% compared to the last four years. In 2013 the cap on individual donations was lowered from $1,000 to $100, while each vote raised by the party earns it $1.71. The QLP won 14.4% of the vote, compared to 24.8% in 2018.
The QLP can pride itself on still being the official opposition and has several quality elected officials despite the departure of many of them at the end of the last legislature. Among the newly elected candidates, Fred Beauchemin in Marguerite-Bourgeoys was general manager and head of capital markets at Scotiabank. Madwa-Nika Cadet in Bourassa-Sauvé has worked at the World Bank and major law firms. Brigitte Garceau in Robert-Baldwin was a partner in a large law firm and specializes in family law.
Since the arrival of the CAQ in 2012, the QLP has lost its grip on many ridings. No longer holding a monopoly on federalism in Quebec with the fall of the Quebec independence issue, the party has gone from being a contender to power to an opposition party. In the past, many Liberal ridings voted more than 70% for the party, sometimes even 80%. This time, its strongholds were won by 60% or less of the vote, with the PCQ taking significant support. The QLP has reached an all-time low in terms of elected officials.
Québec Solidaire lost one seat but gained two more, for a total of 11 seats in 2022 compared to 10 in 2018. QS’s MNAs are all located in urban hubs, namely Montreal, Quebec City and Sherbrooke.
The party continues to make progress in the east end of Montreal, taking the ridings of Maurice-Richard and Verdun from the PLQ. It surprised by retaining the riding of Sherbrooke against a star candidate from the CAQ, which had switched in the last three elections. But the defeat in Rouyn-Noranda-Témiscamingue is all the more surprising since the saga surrounding the Horne Foundry favoured the left-wing party, which put the environment at the forefront.
This is the first time that QS has lost a seat in its history. Québec solidaire maintained its previous seats in Montreal (its base) as well as in Quebec City, in the lower part of the city, where mobility issues (3rd link) as well as nickel standards (the environment) were key issues for voters.
QS federated the youth vote, who largely prefer this party to its opponents. Leader Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois ran a good campaign, but the party’s proposals did not reach as many voters as the party had hoped. All in all, QS performed where it was expected. It was not enough to form the official opposition, despite getting 15.42% support, compared to 16.1% in 2018.
The Parti Québécois is not dead. Especially with the election of its leader Paul Saint-Pierre Plamondon, in the riding of Camille-Laurin, in the east of Montreal. In eastern Quebec, MNAs Pascal Bérubé and Joël Arseneau were re-elected, who offered excellent parliamentary performances in 2018. This will make it easier for the party to maintain some media visibility over the next four years. The PQ went from 10 to 3 seats, performing as predicted by the polls.
Since 2012, the situation of the PQ has deteriorated. The popular vote began to decline in 1998, but the PQ was still in the race to form the government. In 2012, the PQ won 32% of the vote, including 46 ridings with more than 40% of the vote, while in 2022 it won 14.2% and only Matane-Matapédia had more than 40% for the party. Never has the PQ won so few seats and so little support since its founding in 1970. The party is calling for a reform of the voting system, as are QS and the PCQ, so that the popular vote is best reflected in terms of seats in the National Assembly.
Conservative Party of Quebec
The Parti Conservateur du Québec, despite its strong presence on social media, was unable to expand beyond its electoral base to win a riding. It offered a decent performance with 12.92% of the votes, compared to about 1.5% in 2018. It obtained 25% of the vote in the Quebec City area and performed well in the west of Montreal.
The PCQ needed a key to open the door of the National Assembly in order to occupy the media space for a long time. Despite the concentration of its vote in Quebec City, its leader Éric Duhaime in Chauveau as well as the candidates in Beauce-Nord (possible recount) and Beauce-Sud were unable to gain enough support to do so.
An increase in turnout was observed in some conservative-leaning ridings, a sign that the party has reached out to anti-system voters who did not traditionally turn out to vote. The party will have to remain relevant for the next four years without a voice in the people’s house. It will benefit from a strong and previously inexperienced activist base and public funding comparable to other opposition parties. The PCQ received almost the same number of votes as the other opposition parties.
- Premier François Legault becomes the first party leader to win two consecutive majorities in 34 years.
- The last time a party won more than 90 seats was in 1989, when Robert Bourassa’s Liberals won 92 seats.
- 58 of the 125 seats were won by women, a record.
- First election of an aboriginal woman in history, Kateri Champagne Jourdain, in Duplessis (CAQ).
- The PQ’s Pascal Bérubé won the highest popular vote (67.4%), followed by the PLQ’s Gregory Kelley (62.5%) and the CAQ’s Andrée Laforest (62.2%).