Pauline Marois delivers final speech as Quebec premier
Marois will remain as PQ leader until June 7
Pauline Marois delivered a tearful final speech as premier in the National Assembly this afternoon, saying she is proud of what was accomplished by the Parti Québécois government over its past 18 months in power.
Marois began her speech by asking for officials to not allow the transition to distract from the needs of people affected by flooding across the province.
"I asked all departments to actively prepare the premier [designate] to act quickly, so that the transition does not complicate the situation. My heart goes out to these people," said Marois.
Marois said she believed her government's greatest accomplishments were fighting against corruption and giving Quebecers control of their institutions.
"We gave the flexibility and the time required for police and Charbonneau Commission to do their jobs," she said.
Marois said she hopes the incoming government will continue with the PQ's plan to electrify transport and fight for the promotion of the French language and Quebec culture.
"We have the responsibility to defend our language as the only Francophone nation in North America," she said.
Marois refused to say whether discussions about Quebec sovereignty and the possibility of a referendum were partly to blame for losing power to the Liberals in the election on Monday, April 7.
She did, however, say she believes the movement is still alive and well.
"Many citizens will continue to fight to be a country one day. I don't know when, I don't know how," said Marois.
Marois will remain at the helm of the PQ until June 7, however she said she will not have any involvement in the leadership race.
Marois meets Couillard
Marois met with her successor earlier in the day to discuss the transition of governments.
"Welcome, Mr. Couillard, to what will be your new offices," said Marois at the Executive Council headquarters in Quebec City.
The private discussion lasted only a few minutes, with Couillard telling reporters the conversation had been "cordial."
A statement released by Marois's office said that — as is tradition — Premier-designate Couillard has accepted the nomination of three staff members: Marc-André Beaulieu, Stéphane Dolbec and Patrick Lahaie.
In the April 7 elections, the Liberals took 70 seats in the 125 seat National Assembly, the Parti Québécois 30, the Coalition Avenir Québec 22 and Québec Solidaire three.
The Liberals entered this election campaign as the official opposition, but battled back from a public backlash and integrity questions that saw the province elect its first Parti Québécois minority government in the fall of 2012.
Couillard will form his cabinet in the coming days before unveiling it next week.