The Liberal Party held on to some of its its safest territory in the province in Tuesday's election, as most of its Montreal-area MNAs kept their seats, including cabinet members Geoff Kelley, Raymond Bachand, Jean-Marc Fournier, Lawrence Bergman and Kathleen Weil.
But other parties have made key incursions in the region, among them in Laval-des-Rapides, where former provincial student movement leader Léo Bureau-Blouin defeated a Liberal cabinet minister. He promptly vowed the victorious Parti Québécois will take drastic action on the issue that sparked widespread student protests.
In an interview with CBC's French-language network, Bureau-Blouin said the PQ will revoke the tuition hike imposed by the Liberals that sparked the province's months of student unrest, and will repeal Bill 78 (also known as Law 12), the contentious legislation that restricts protest.
"It shows that when youth mobilize, we can do big things," Bureau-Blouin said of his victory.
Bureau-Blouin was a leader of the Quebec student protest movement until his term as president of the FECQ, the federation of Quebec college students, came to an end June 1. He became a PQ candidate in the Laval riding and stole it from Liberal junior finance minister Alain Paquet.
Québec Solidaire also saw a big gain, winning its second seat, a steal from the PQ in the central Montreal riding of Gouin.
Overall, the Liberals held all their seats on Montreal Island, keeping the 20 ridings that went red in 2008. Six of the remaining seats went to the PQ, and two to Québec Solidaire.
In Laval, the Liberals lost Laval-des-Rapides and failed to capture the new seat of Sainte-Rose.
In the entirety of the greater Montreal area, the Liberals suffered a net loss of three seats, but the PQ loss was higher. The péquistes fell from 28 ridings to 24.
Both parties gave up sizable chunks of their popular vote to the new Coalition Avenir Québec. The Liberal share of the vote dropped 10 points to 33 per cent, and the PQ dipped five points to 31 per cent. The CAQ captured 25 per cent of the popular vote in the metropolitan area, good for its six seats.
Liberal ministers enjoy wide margins
Kelley's share of the popular vote in his riding of Jacques-Cartier on the West Island was down six percentage points from his victory margin in the 2008 election, but was still well ahead of his nearest rival, the Coalition Avenir Québec's Paola Hawa. Kelley, the incumbent minister of native affairs, had 74 per cent to Hawa's 15 per cent.
Bergman, who had the biggest victory margin in the 2008 election, took 85 per cent to seven per cent for the CAQ's Sophie Leroux in D'Arcy-McGee, a riding that includes the Montreal Island municipalities of Hampstead and Côte-St-Luc. Bergman, the Liberals' caucus chair, will earn his sixth term in Quebec's national assembly.
Weil, the immigration minister, will keep her seat in Notre-Dame-de-Grâce, which covers the neighbourhood of the same name. She won with 62 per cent to 14 per cent for CAQ candidate Angely Pacis, who had written a pointed letter to her own party's leader in mid-campaign pleading for more statements of support for Quebec's anglophone and allophone populations.
Bachand didn't score quite the same lopsided victory. He took his seat of Outremont by 42 per cent to PQ candidate Roxanne Gendron's 23 per cent.
CAQ star candidate Duchesneau victorious
Québec Solidaire co-spokesperson Amir Khadir will be re-elected in his riding of Mercier, which covers much of Montreal's Plateau borough. Khadir was ahead by 47 per cent to 24 per cent for the PQ's Jean Poirier.
Québec Solidaire's other co-spokesperson, Françoise David, took her riding as well. She was leading by 13 points over the PQ's Nicolas Girard in her riding, Gouin.
The CAQ's star candidate Jacques Duchesneau will also be elected in his riding, Saint-Jérôme, on the city's north shore. In his victory remarks, Duchesneau thanked his volunteers and staff for putting together a winning effort in fewer days than his rivals had, since his candidacy was only announced on the fourth day of the campaign.
"We'll have to work to improve services for citizens, and to make Saint-Jérôme a real regional capital," Duchesneau said in his speech.