Decision Quebec: winners and losers

Par Dan Delmar le 18 décembre 2008


After an election where the story was not so much who voted for whom, but who did not vote at all, Premier Jean Charest may find himself taking on a familiar role; that of Captain Canada, ready to fight a resurgent sovereignist movement.

Voter turnout was ìcatastrophic:î A mere 57 per cent of Quebecers bothered to head down to the polls. ìThe most accessible election in Quebec history gave the worst possible turnout,î said Denis Dion, a spokesperson for the chief electoral officer.

The result was predictable: A slim majority government for Charest after the collapse of the Action DÈmocratique du QuÈbec (with leader Mario Dumont resigning) and the rise of Part QuÈbecois from the political waste bin. There were small surprises along the way, most notably in the Mercier riding, where voters shunned the big three. It is there that The MÈtropolitain begins a breakdown of our local results.



The rise of a fourth party in the province (a second sovereignist party) is largely due to voter fatigue and a lack of motivation. The PQ’s Daniel Turp failed to get his supporters out to the polls and, as a result, the incumbent finished a close second to Amir Khadir, the co-spokesperson (a more politically correct term for party leader) of Québec Solidaire.

He’ll be a solitary MNA in the National Assembly; the only to not be a member of the Liberal party, the PQ or the ADQ. Khadir is a microbiologist and a peace activist who ran for the Bloc QuÈbecois federally in 2000.

Turp, an old-guard separatist, had been Mercier’s MNA since 2003. He previously spent one term as an MP for the Bloc. He ironically singed a document called the Manifeste pour un QuÈbec solidaire in 2005 and called for a constitution for the province.

Raw Numbers 

Total votes (2007)            Total votes (2008)

Khadir: 8,303                   Khadir: 8,861 (+558)

Turp: 9,426                       Turp: 7,989 (–1,437)



New Liberal MNA Kathleen Weil was given an expectedly strong show of support in on Monday night, but could not get as many voters out as her predecessor.

Weil won NDG, previously held by Russell Copeman, with 68 per cent of the vote, followed by the Green Party’s Peter McQueen at 14 per cent. Both parties saw substantial declines in voter turnout over the 2007 election. All parties finished the night with fewer votes in NDG, except for the Marxist-Leninists’ Linda Sullivan.

Weil is a former staffer and legal counsel with the now-defunct Anglo rights party Alliance Quebec and more recently was the head of the Greater Montreal Foundation, which administers an endowment fund supporting local healthcare, social service, educational and cultural organizations.

Raw Numbers

Total votes (2007)            Total votes (2008)

Copeman: 14,825             Weil: 11,485 (–3,340)

McQueen: 3,839               McQueen: 2,430 (–1,409)

Sullivan: 70                       Sullivan: 124 (+54)

Ballots cast: 24,044          Ballots cast: 16,891 (–7,153)


Residents of Outremont said ìouiî to the economy by re-electing Economic Development Minister Raymond Bachand.

He’s held the riding since a 2005 by-election, taking over from Yves Séguin. Bachand is the former CEO of the Fonds de solidarité des travailleurs du Québec (FTQ) and has sat on the executives of many Quebec corporations and chartable organizations.

Bachand won the riding with 54 per cent of the vote over the PQ’s Sophie Fréchette with 25 per cent. The low voter turnout seen province-wide was also evident in Outremont; he was down 1,290 votes over last year. The ADQ’s Christian Collard plummeted and couldn’t break the 1,000 vote mark.

Raw Numbers

Total votes (2007)            Total votes (2008)

Bachand: 11,861               Bachand: 10,571 (–1,290)

Laaroussi (PQ): 5,928      Fréchette: 4,919 (–1,009)

Harvey (ADQ) 2,236        Collard (ADQ): 577 (–1,659)

Ballots cast: 25,220          Ballots cast: 19,499 (–5,721)




A former local community worker who actually lives in the riding she represents, Liberal Marguerite Blais was re-elected, edging out her PQ rival.

Blais, the minister responsible for Seniors, finished with 46 per cent of the vote to Frédéric Isaya’s 37 per cent, in what was a two-way race. The ADQ, QS and Green Party candidates obtained less than 1,500 votes each.


Raw Numbers

Total votes (2007)                            Total votes (2008)

Blais: 11,915                               Blais: 10,552 (–1,363)

Philpot (PQ): 9,172                      Isaya: 8,535 (–637)

Beauregard (ADQ): 5,422              Mbany (ADQ): 1,326 (–4,096)




Voters in this riding have elected the PQ for 30 years, and the legacy continues as MNA Martin Lemay beat his Liberal opponent by 18 percentage points.

This is Lemay’s second term representing Sainte-Marie-Saint-Jacques. He made the jump from municipal politics over one year ago, after resigning as the Mayor of Montreal’s Ville Marie borough.

Feminist/activist Manon Massé of QS finished in third. All candidates saw their vote totals drop over last year’s election, except Serge Lachapelle, a Marxist-Leninist.

Raw Numbers

Total votes (2007)            Total votes (2008)

Lemay: 10,501                   Lemay: 9,135 (–1,366)

Dussault (PLQ): 6,021     Prud’Homme (PLQ): 5,536 (–485)

Massé: 3,596                     Massé: 3,009 (–587)

Lachapelle: 92                   Lachapelle: 207 (+115)



Liberal veteran Henri-François Gautrin returns for his sixth mandate representing Verdun after defeating his PQ rival by 12 percentage points.

Gautrin, a native of France, topped Richard Langlais for the second straight election – both saw slight reductions in their total vote counts. The rejection of the ADQ is particularly obvious in this riding; the third party received just over a quarter of the votes it had last year.

The incumbent is a backbencher who briefly held the Governmental Services portfolio, from 2006 to 2007. Earlier in his career, he was the leader of the Nouveau Parti démocratique du Québec, from 1973 to 1979.

Raw Numbers

Total votes (2007)            Total votes (2008)

Gautrin: 12,204                 Gautrin: 11,223 (–981)

Langlais: 8,688                  Langlais: 8,314 (–374)

Tremblay (ADQ): 5,239  Côté (ADQ): 1,411 (–3,828)



Jacques Chagnon considers himself a lucky man after winning his seventh straight election, making him the fourth most senior member in the National Assembly.

He won nearly 75 per cent of the vote, beating the Parti Québécois’ Daniella Johnson-Meneghini, who finished with 10 per cent; the Green Party slipped from second to third place. It represents a higher percentage than his 66 per cent result after last year’s vote, but over 2,000 fewer ballots were cast for the incumbent Liberal.

“I’m sorry about that,” Chagnon said, reacting to the low voter turnout, “but there’s nothing I can do. I’m powerless.”

A former Public Security Minister, he was the Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly during the last session and said he awaits Premier Jean Charest’s decision on cabinet posts, but noted that his dream job would be a promotion to Speaker.

Raw Numbers

Total votes (2007)            Total votes (2008)

Chagnon: 13,311            Chagnon: 11,041 (–2,270)

Daoust (PVQ): 2,517       Johnson-Meneghini (PQ): 1,525 (–154)

Laroche (PQ): 1,679        Daoust (PVQ): 1,090 (–1,427)


With files from Jessica Murphy and the Canadian Press.



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